A proven formula for
the self-employed, employees and leaders

by Doris Helge, Ph.D. © 2012


In Part One of this article series, you discovered surprising, diverse advantages of happiness while you’re working. Now you know that your level of professional satisfaction dramatically affects your income, health and relationship success. We explored how important it is that your work focus and the tasks you do to earn money suit your personality, passions, life purpose and long-term goals. Traditional approaches to joy on the job won’t produce the long-term happiness you want. In this article, you’ll discover a proven formula for gaining happiness when you’re working, whether you’re self-employed, an employee or in an executive / leadership position.


Rose Carlson doesn’t just dread the sound of the alarm clock on Monday mornings. She winces at the thought of going to work every morning. Carlson dreams about the weekend from Monday morning to Friday afternoon. She doesn’t think her work is valued, her workload is unrealistic and she frequently works mandatory overtime. Carlson complains, “I have no professional support system, and most of my work is mundane or meaningless.” Her family worries about her because she has low energy, even on the weekends. Carlson is moody and she often snaps at the people she loves.

Do you think Carlson would be happier at work if she worked fewer hours and gained more support and appreciation? Would it make a difference if her position was at a higher level? Keep reading.

Richard Brodie was a Microsoft employee who received company-wide recognition for developing a stellar software program that most of us use every day. Many other employees said they were “as jealous as a green-eyed monster.” Brodie was quickly promoted to a management position. Was he ecstatic? Brodie, like Carlson, was unhappy, depressed and exhausted. In fact, he became so miserable that he quit his job and moved across the country. His true story provides evidence that happiness at work requires more than achievement, professional recognition or control over your work day.

Misery is an equal
opportunity employer.

Brodie later described his personal journey from misery to delight and eventually accepting a new Microsoft position he truly loved. In his book, “Getting Past Okay,” he explained, “I didn’t know what I needed to be happy during my work hours. I also didn’t know how to ask for help.”


Defining your legitimate needs will be one of your major tools for gaining happiness when you’re working.

Needs and desires
are often different.

Desires, such as, “I want to make a million dollars this year,” are not essential. In fact, our desires often create our unhappiness. Identifying what you truly require to achieve happiness while you’re working produces dramatically different results. Until you know just how important it is to do tasks that are meaningful to you, be surrounded by supportive people and work for a cause or organization you’re truly excited about, you’ll be distracted from your genuine goals. Gaining clarity is the first step toward your freedom and happiness. You’ll discover how to meet your needs instead of focusing on desires that don’t produce lasting joy.


If you want the sun to bless you with its healing golden rays, should you slumber soundly, waiting for the heat of day to penetrate your bedroom window? Another choice is to greet each new day with wonder, dancing toward every sunset with passion and joy. When you pursue a career that makes your heart sing, you perceive the world of work in its most beautiful light.

One of the greatest joys of being alive is realizing that you have very special talents and the world is hungry for your unique gifts. Like your physical muscles, your talents grow stronger with use. Enjoy a proven formula for claiming your fair share of passion, joy and harmony when you’re working.


• Make two columns on a piece of paper. List your “Needs” in the left-hand column. Describe your “Desires” in the right column. Continue to write until you can’t think of anything else to add to your list.

• Review the two lists. What do you truly require? What’s desirable but not essential? As you complete this exercise, notice that some of what you previously thought you “need” is alluring, but it’s not required for your happiness. Revising your list of needs and desires will bring you immense clarity. You’ll avoid unnecessary frustration and you won’t be distracted from your true goals.

• Once you’ve finalized your list of “Needs,” circle every requirement that isn’t being met.

• Now list your strengths and talents. Please don’t be modest. Ask your friends and colleagues to add to your list. Spend some time with this. You’ll want to use this list to recharge your courage and confidence any time self-doubt tries to creep into your thoughts.

• Have fun thinking about the most enjoyable ways to make your unique contributions to a world that’s starved for your special abilities. Enjoy the power of playful “possibility thinking.” To make sure you think big, add some pretty wild ideas to your list before you decide what’s realistic.

• Identify the legacy you want to leave behind when you depart from a particular work task or position. This will also help you focus and you’ll feel purposeful.

• People who are happy when they’re working nurture themselves, so make notes about how you’ll cultivate an excellent personal and professional support system. Listen to your heart, your vibrant core self. This part of you consistently k-n-o-w-s you deserve support, assistance and reinforcement.

• Discover win-win ways to communicate your unmet needs to everyone whose support you need. (The next article will help you do this.)

• Be strategic about getting your needs met when you’re working. Continue to take thoughtful, specific steps toward personal fulfillment. I promise this will be one of your most fun, valuable life journeys.

In the next article in the “Secrets of Happiness While You’re Working” series, you’ll discover how to meet your needs, no matter how you earn a living.


As you travel your journey to joyful work, ask for help when you feel stuck. It’s a sign of high self-esteem because you’re saying to yourself, “I deserve a better life!” If you’re ready to work with an intuitive coach who will help you quickly overcome hidden roadblocks to your happiness and success, sign up for a complimentary consultation now at

© 2012. Excerpted with permission from the #1 Bestselling book, “Joy on the Job” by Doris Helge, Ph.D. With over 25 years of experience, award-winning, Certified Master Coach Dr. Doris, has a proven track record of helping people like you enjoy meaningful work and relationships, including powerful professional partnerships. Enjoy life-changing videos at Download your free ebooks and see client testimonials at You may reprint this article as long as it remains intact and proper attribution is given.


You Deserve Happiness at Work! Use proven strategies that have worked for thousands of employees around the world.

Click here to learn more about the award winning book “Joy on the Job” by Doris Helge Ph.D.

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