In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s important to take a moment and think on things you’re thankful for – and to perform an honest self-evaluation on what you value, in both your personal and professional life. This check-up should include assessing how fulfilled you are in your career.
Maybe you’re not the high-flying astronaut that you always dreamed you would be, but to be clear, I’m not talking about a dream job here. I’m talking about your current job and career path and if you have a proper level of appreciation and satisfaction. It can be tempting to compare your path to others or to some chart you outlined in your teens, but don’t. This is about you, now.
So, how can you tell if you’re actually fulfilled in your job? Start by asking yourself 4 simple questions:
This is an often overlooked question, but it will lead to a telling answer. To be fulfilled in your role, you must have a certain level of ambition — it’s the drive that gets you up in the morning and the push for that last part of the workday, when even the most dedicated team members start to slump. Are you dragging your feet, or do you feel a challenge to push yourself toward new successes?
In addition to performance, a desire to succeed includes a desire to improve your existing work. Do you want to refine your skills, work more efficiently and make a bigger impact in your job?
If you are constantly pushing yourself to do more and reach higher, be thankful. You have a job that is challenging and motivating you.
Let’s get real for a second — a job is about money, but to be truly fulfilled, you need something more than a paycheck or free lunches. It could be the personal challenges, successes or friendly team members, but most likely it will be a combination of things. Identify the benefits of your position. If you’re at a place where you can’t see anything outside of money as your only motivator at work, it may be time to look for another position.
Surrounding yourself with the right people in life is important, and the same goes for the workplace. If you hang with a crowd that favors negativity, it can be hard to break out of a cycle of cynicism and cliques, and that consequently hurts your level of fulfillment. Even if the role you’re currently performing isn’t ideal, make an effort to maintain a positive spirit in your role. I promise — it alone will help boost your attitude at work and will directly affect those around you.
Lastly, a satisfying career doesn’t come without a few risks — often more than a few. Are you excited to try new things or take calculated risks? Or are you so scared to fail that you don’t push any boundaries? If you can show your fellow team members that you’ve got the gumption for bold moves, you’ll earn respect, foster a spirit of motivation and feel empowered.
Take time to consider your career and where you’re headed. If you’ve asked yourself these questions and are struggling to find fulfillment in your role, focus on finding a new position. Life is too short to spin your wheels in a dead end job.
Being thankful for a career doesn’t mean keeping a glass-half-full mentality and calling it a day, no — being truly grateful for your position means figuring out areas where you can improve, identifying your passions and unlocking a drive to take on new challenges.
This article originally appeared on SmallBizDaily.com.