“I’m just not happy at work.”

A friend shared this sentiment with me recently. She’s talented and committed. She contributes. She’s valued by her team, boss, and company.

Yet, for her, in her job, happiness is elusive.

Does happiness matter? The business costs of employee unhappiness are significant. Gallup’s recent “State of the Global Workplace” report estimates that actively disengaged US employees cost their companies $450-550 billion each year. In Germany, the cost is €112-138 billion. In the UK, the cost is £52-70 billion.

Does happiness matter, personally? Absolutely. Employees who are happy, who have positive well-being, are 31% more productive, are 10 times more engaged, are three times more creative, and are three times more satisfied with their jobs.

How can you boost your personal well-being and happiness? How can you find your unique “voice”?

Start with getting clearer about who you are, about what makes you tick.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Who are you? You are more than your skills, your accomplishments, and your roles. What is your life purpose? What is your reason for being, in life and work? Draft a purpose statement and refine it. As an example, my purpose statement is to inspire and encourage others – life leaders and participants – to clarify their personal values and to serve with authenticity.
  • What do you stand for? What values and principles define what is “right” for you in this world? What principles do you aspire to demonstrate daily? Work through a proven process to map out your values, their definitions, and the specific valued behaviors that are required of you to consistently live your values.
  • What inspires you? What causes a big smile on your face and makes your heart swell with satisfaction and maybe even pride? Identify activities that move your purpose forward, that align with your values. Those may be of a teaching or coaching nature – or maybe a service nature, in your community. Be specific. If volunteering at your local YMCA’s Mommy and Me swim classes inspire you, note down those classes.

With a clearer understanding of you – your purpose, values, and inspirations – you can seek and find your niche, avenues that enable you to engage in those activities and leverage those strengths frequently.

Your niche may be in your current company with new projects that leverage your values and inspirations. And, your niche may be well served in avenues outside your current role, volunteering at non-profits, soup kitchens, or community gardens, for example.

Once you clarify your voice, take the next step – find your niche, where you can act upon your purpose, values, and inspirations regularly.

It’ll do you GOOD.

What do you think? What avenues have you discovered that inspire you? How do you serve your family and community while being your full, delightful, unique self?  Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

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The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.

S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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Reader Interactions


  1. I enjoyed the questions here – as I believe they can narrow our thoughts down. Not simply answering them in our minds, but actually writing them down. Also, there is an element of embracing what you love.

    • That’s amazingly important, Skip. We can convince (delude) ourselves about much in this life! When we share & reflect with those we trust, we can see ourselves as others see us –



  2. Great questions, Chris! Finding my voice has definitely been an essential first step in finding my niche. I’ve also discovered that living on purpose requires on-going reflection and inquiry. While my values remain unchanged, my priorities and how I choose to share my gifts in the world have indeed changed as I continue to refine my own thoughts.

    • Thanks for your insights, Sharon! Love your point that living on purpose isn’t ever really “done.” It takes ongoing learning, reflection, refinement, and inquiry.

      You’re one of the most “on purpose” beings I know. Best to you!



      S. Chris Edmonds  MacBook Air & iMac

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