Putting the S.O.U.L. Back in Your Work

Only 43% of you think you will be rewarded or promoted in your job. And only 36% think creativity and innovation are rewarded. Those are some bleak statistics. So how do you stay inspired and empowered in your job?

"It's the S.O.U.L," says Sariane Leigh. Leigh is a management and program analyst for the Gear Up Program for the Education Department's Office of Secondary Education. She was also a finalist for the Next Generation of Government Training Summit's Lightening Speaker Contest. (You can still register for the July 25 and 26th training summit now.)

Sariane told me, that she and her fellow colleagues entered the federal workplace very mission focused and driven but somewhere along the way they lost their S.O.U.L.

"What I've noticed is that a lot of the new people that are coming into the federal workplace are very passionate and energetic. We came into the federal government with so much fever. We really believed in what we were doing, this energy came from something deeper than making money or padding our resumes. But once we got into it and we learned about he bureaucratic process, the red tape, all of the sudden you slowly start to feel the soul demise a little bit," said Leigh. 

The best way to keep passion alive is with S.O.U.L.

  • Solution Driven
  • Optimism
  • Understanding
  • Listening

S: Solution Driven: "It helps you stay motivated to remember the end goal. Feds want to know they are working to solve a problem for someone. Defining and outlining the problem at the beginning and also thinking about potential solutions allows you to come at the end goal from many different perspectives."

O: Optimism: Is really one of the most important components to a successful career. It starts with your attitude. But it is more than just thinking positively. It is about looking at the little things and know you are making a difference. Make sure you have at least one person in your office who you can go to with positive/creative things that you want to do to change your workplace. There will always be a silver lining in the cloud and you have to hold on to that."

U: Understanding: This is probably the most challenging tenant for most people because we are all coming from so many different perspectives, race, color, age, sexual orientation, class, life experience, all these things make it very easy for us to stay in our comfort zones. But understanding is what makes America great. We have so much diversity here, geographically we are so diverse but there is always this underlying connection that resonates within us."

L: Listening: If you read Sheryl Sandberg's recent book Lean In, she says listening is as much a privilege as it is to speak. I want people to think of listening as an opportunity and to see the power of the ability to just be quiet."

You can hear stories like this at GovLoop's Next Generation of Government Leadership Conference. You can find out more about the event hereAnd register here.

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