How To Know If Your Needs Are Being Met At Work (& What To Do If The Answer's "No!")

Have you ever stopped to think about what your needs are at work?

So often we treat our job as something we're obliged to do, we owe our time & energy to, & that has demands of us in return for our salary.

But your career isn't a one-way relationship.

Not only do you have physical, mental & emotional needs that - when met - enable you to perform at your best, but your career is something you're choosing to do with your life - so it has to be giving back to you too.

The fundamentals of self-care aren't bubble baths, shopping sprees & Netflix binges, but making sure your primary needs are met.

This might be things like checking the door is locked before you go to bed (safety needs), buying more milk before you run out (physical needs), & spending quality time with your family or close friends on a regular basis (relationship needs).

So how does this relate to work?

If you're constantly worrying about your performance to the point that every time your boss asks to speak with you, you think you're about to get fired... that's creating a constant sense of fear - losing your job might leave you unable to provide for yourself or your family. You need to feel safe & secure at work.

If your workload is so much that you're skipping meals, working through lunch or late into the night, you're losing out on valuable sleep that helps physical & mental processing & recovery, & keeps your body (including your immune system) functioning healthily... which you need in order to not only keep going at work, but to enjoy a full & healthy life outside of work. Your physical need is to have the opportunity to fuel your body.

If you find the constant topic of conversation at work is complaints about the boss, you get frustrated with your colleagues not pulling their weight, or even feel like you struggle to make friends with your colleagues... it can cause you to feel disconnected, mistrusting & drained. A sense of community & belonging is something we all need, especially in an environment where we spend so much time.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory based on the concept that some needs are more fundamental than others, but they all need to be fulfilled in order for us to reach 'self-actualisation' (true fulfilment).

Our needs are impacted throughout our lives in all of the various environments & situations we experience, so it's crucial that we're aware of our own needs, where we're lacking, & are empowered to take action to ensure they're met.

You will never feel truly fulfilled if any of your needs are not being met - so quit skipping over them, ignoring what your feelings are telling you or pretending everything will be fine if you can just get a new job & leave whatever's frustrating you behind... instead, learn to recognise your needs & ask for them to be met.

So how can you do this at work, if any of the above apply to you?

Here's my advice:

  • Separate the situation & the other people involved from what you're feeling. Instead of "you/this makes me feel like...", try "I feel..." - when you isolate the emotion, it's easier to see what need it's pointing to

  • Prioritise yourself & set boundaries to make sure you're meeting your own needs (no more skipping meals or forgetting to food shop)

  • Speak to your manager & tell them what you need - this could be as simple as letting them know something you feel nervous about, asking them for opportunities or simply requesting more regular or structured catch ups, & feedback you can use to improve (or bank as evidence that you are, in fact, doing just fine)

  • Take control of your thoughts & behaviour - if everyone around you is non-stop gossip, take yourself out of the conversation, neutralise or de-rail the discussion onto something more light-hearted, or raise the issue (if it's bringing you down, it's probably not making them feel great either)

Remember that you are the most important thing in your world - it literally wouldn't exist without you!

Recognising your needs & learning how to ensure they're getting met is a fast-track to success & satisfaction, to building a life you really love (as well as a career that loves you back).

Ready to fast-track that discovery of what you need (that you're not getting) at work, as well as the knowledge & practice of how to ask for it so you can create the progression, work-life balance & career satisfaction you're craving?

My 12-week 1:1 coaching programme (designed specifically for people-pleasers lacking in confidence but bursting with ambition) could be the perfect solution to help you get there faster - read the full details & apply here

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