Is Joy Missing from Your Work?

“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

Is Joy Missing from Your Work?

By Andrea Novakowski

As a solopreneur, I find it easy to isolate myself, and so I try to remember to incorporate regular activities that make sure this doesn’t happen.

In the early years of my coaching business, back in the late ‘90s, I belonged to a women’s networking group in nearby Wellesley, MA. Most of the participants were small business owners like me. Even though we weren’t all morning people, we’d consistently show up bright and early for our monthly meetings. While there was always the possibility of getting business from each other, the bigger reason for our group was to learn from each other and share ideas. I especially thrived on the human, in-person connection, which feeds one of my core values.

If, like me, connection is one of your values and you’re a small business owner, you may feel out of sorts when you sit at your desk all day, plowing through your work, and not spending much time with other people. That’s one of the reasons people like to work at coffee shops and shared work spaces: to build a sense of community and connection.

What Are Your Values?
Knowing what your values are can help you customize your work and your work environment to help you meet your own needs so that you enjoy your work and life more.

To help my clients identify their values, I use a tool called the “Top Ten Panel.” It’s one step in the assessment: The Results Accelerator.

Using the “Top Ten Panel,” I work with my clients to identify their values based on the life they’ve lived. Next, we figure out what actions they can take that will honor those values. When my clients put those actions into practice, they end up feeling more engaged, satisfied, energized, and positive about their work and their life.

Example: How the tool worked for me.

First, I created a list of the top ten peak experiences I’ve had in my life. Next, I thought about why each item was important to me and recorded the value or need that it fulfilled. Here’s what that looks like:



Traveling in Europe with my son Freedom, connection, adventure, one-on-one interaction
Starting my coaching business Learning, making a difference, connection
Being on the bow of my parents’ sailboat Connection to something bigger, peace, family


Then, for each experience and value, I thought of a new activity that would give me the same feeling I’d had during the original Top Ten event.


Exploring new ideas/concepts with coaching clients
Working with clients, learning from them, and understanding the value of our work together
Beginning each day writing in my gratitude journal


Going forward…when I honor my values on a regular basis, I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do.

Build actions into your work that bring you joy.

When you know your values, you can design your day in a way that makes you feel more fully alive. The more your work is about who you are and being your natural self, the happier and more productive you will be.


Do you find yourself feeling sad or unfulfilled at work or in your life? Take five minutes to identify a top ten event in your life, the values it represented, and a new activity that will give you that same feeling. Then take that action and live your values!

Not sure you have identified the right values? Struggling to come up with activities that fit within your current work environment? Let’s work together and I’ll help you find joy in your work.

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