The Myth of the Ideal Work Environment
The ideal work environment doesn't exist. It's a myth. The best we can do is create a place where we can focus, collaborate, and get the support and accountability we need to succeed.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
When I wrote my original post about the ideal work environment, my goal was to describe what it looked and sounded like. I wanted my colleagues to talk about the radio stations they'd listened to, whether their desks would face a window or a wall, and maybe even how they would set up their work area.
But, when I received the survey responses, the answers I got answered a different question entirely.
I wanted to know what their ideal work environment looked, smelled and sounded like, and they told me what they needed on deeper level. Their responses blew me away!
You can read their responses from 2012 here, but what I heard was that the environment itself, the sounds, smells, furniture arrangements and the things I thought about in the first place are somewhat meaningless if you don't have one key ingredient.
The Missing Ingredient
Since starting my own business, I've learned the value of this one ingredient. In early 2014, I decided to focus on collaboration instead of competition. I realized I couldn't build the business I wanted to build or create the culture I wanted if I thought only about myself and my goals.
What I've realized is that the most valuable ingredient in the ideal work environment is also the one most often overlooked. It's also the ingredient most entrepreneurs, especially the ones who fail, tend to ignore.
We forget to factor in this ingredient because we're stubborn. If we weren't, we wouldn't start businesses; we wouldn't strike out on our own with the determination to do things our way.
However, this stubbornness often manifests itself in a bad habit of isolationism. We believe and say to ourselves,
I'm going to do this no matter what it takes! I must succeed and I will see my dreams become a reality.
And rightly so! This drive and resolve helps us in many ways, but, it's also taking a toll on people with great ideas and greater passion. The problem we're creating as entrepreneurs working for ourselves is the same problem preventing people from finding their ideal work environment while working for someone else.
What we're failing to realize is that the ideal work environment isn't a place you can go. It's something you create.
Instead of thinking about the bigger desk or fancier office, instead of trying to chase the next sale or contract, we should be focusing on creating the environment that will most help us succeed.
Creating Your Ideal Work Environment
The ideal work environment is one where you're surrounded with people who inspire and support you but also keep you accountable. The ideal work environment is where you can share your goals and are challenged (and encouraged) to make them a reality.
The ideal work environment facilitates growth and encourages partnership. In it, you'll find a focus on relationships and equality. You'll discover the ability to share ideas and collaborate without feeling like you're unable to make a change for a better future. The ideal work environment holds a commitment to excellence and provides a support structure to go after it every day.
What We Can't Control
Wherever you find yourself, whether you're stuck in cubicle nation or your home office, you may not be able to control things like the radio, the temperature, or whether you've got a window view. But, the good news is, those things don't matter as much as the things we can control
What You Can Control
You have full control over who you surround yourself with. The things my corporate colleagues wanted then are the things we can achieve and create today. What you can control is the people you allow into your inner circle.
We can choose to surround ourselves with people who are positive and encouraging.
We can ask the advice from people who will push us forward and keep us accountable to our goals.
We can build a network of trusted advisers we can count on and who will give us honest and valuable feedback.
What You Can Do About It
You may not currently have a network of like-minded people who you can share your goals and ideas with. You might not have someone you can go to for advice or a group of people you go to with the challenges you're facing in your business.
If that's you, it's not too late to start. Begin building your support team now. Make a connection with someone who can help you get to where you're going.
Send me an email and I'll help you as much as I can, or, submit your application to join my next private mastermind group and I'll match you with wonderful people who want to build a business around their life instead of the other way around.
Over to you: How would you describe your ideal work environment?