“[Let’s] succeed because of [the] workplace environment, not in spite of it.” -Michelle Williams’ 2019 Emmy Speech

“The happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.” -Ray Dallo

Work environment–not just what we do, but where and how and under what conditions we do it–is one of the most essential pieces of a fulfilling and meaningful career.

And it’s often overlooked, or an afterthought, to say, title, or role.

When thinking about your career, here are 3 reasons why thinking about and intentionally creating your work environment is not only important, but crucial, to your success:

  1. Being in an ill-suited work environment is like being a rainforest tree in the desert. Maybe you will be able to survive, but you are definitely not going to thrive. There simply aren’t the right nutrients and conditions to allow for being a peak performer rainforest tree!  (Nor does anyone blame the rainforest tree, btw, which we tend to do to ourselves!)
  2. Our job in life is actually *not* to create success. It is to *create the conditions*, or the environment, to allow for success. The outcome of success is actually none of our business (and outside of our control)!
  3. How much are you able to influence and create your conditions for success? Another fun analogy (yay analogies!) is thinking about creating a meal. Our job is to imagine what might taste good, to research recipes, to take the action of shopping and selecting the best quality ingredients, to turn the oven to the right temperature, to prepare all the ingredients and do all the things that make them taste the best (marinating the fish, tenderizing the kale, etc.) But then, we mix all the ingredients together, and let go of results. We don’t make them cook themselves, or alchemize in a certain way in response to heat. Our success is determined by the quality of the ingredients, the quality of the recipes, maybe the quality of the knives or an oven that doesn’t heat evenly–in other words, the inputs. If you have crappy inputs–crappy ingredients, a crappy recipe, and crappy tools–with no ability to change them…say it with me: crappy outputs!

TL;DR: No conditions for success (or at least ability to influence them)–>no success.

If you want to go deeper…

Want to think more about how to creating a career you love? See these top 10 tips for underfulfilled overachievers.

If you’re struggling to assess your work environment, follow-up with this article on HAYWALTs.

If money is the thing holding you back from making a change, see why money and meaning are actually BFF.