For the past several days, my daughter has insisted on reading the book “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,” and if you know anything about 3 years olds, one time is not enough.
After the 5th or 6th read, I started seeing the book through the lens of my work, and through the lens of conflict.
If you don’t know the book, here is a brief summary.
A father, his 3 children, and their dog decide to go on a bear hunt because it is a beautiful day and they are not scared. All along the way they encounter various environmental challenges--long grass, a river, mud, a dark forest, a snowstorm, etc, and with each challenge the refrain is “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We’ve got to go through it.”
I think I could recite the entire book by heart at this point :)
So, what does this have to do with you and your work situation?
Your happiness at work is the bear, and it is your job to go hunting for it. It may not be beautiful, and you may be scared, but that doesn’t matter. All along the way you will encounter various challenges--criticism, rejection, humiliation, the cold shoulder, anger, yelling, etc.
With each challenge you cannot go over it, or under it, so your only two options are to turn around and go back, or go through it.
In the book, the family never turns their back on the quest to find a bear. They keep at it, despite all the obstacles, and eventually they succeed in finding the bear (only to run away--but that’s not the point.)
The fact of the matter is that it isn’t just your work happiness that is it stake. It’s your ability to provide the very best to your community, clients, or patients. It’s your sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-respect. It’s your other relationships, that are struggling because of all the stress and anxiety you are carrying with you.
I know all about it.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t choose to go through it. I turned around, went back, and hid under the covers.
Please don’t do the same. If you truly love your job, just not the people you work with, it’s time to nip this in the bud, and get back to doing what you enjoy.
What is your hunt going to look like?