When you arrived at work this morning, were you excited?

Did you wake up motivated and restless because you couldn’t wait to start your day? Do you love what you do? What about the people you work with — do they make your day better?

For those of you lucky enough to say YES to most of those questions, you understand what it feels like to work somewhere that matters with people that matter to you. For you, work is not merely a job, but rather a passion with purpose. You know what it feels like to be challenged, and to do fulfilling work. There is no 9-to-5 in your life. It’s doing whatever it takes to do great work, and helping your team succeed.

If you truly dislike your job, can you still do great work?

I would say no. Let me explain.

Recently, I had a heart-to-heart chat with a good friend about the company he works for. He really just wanted to vent about his situation. Being in a government town, unfortunately, these complaints are all too common. We went to school together, and I truly respect his intelligence, compassion for people and one day, when the time is right, we may build something together. I know what he is capable of. He has potential. Most people do. But for now, he’s a lion stuck in a cage and his boss is the circus trainer with a whip.

The point I’m getting at is – if you’re unhappy about your situation at work, it will negatively impact your ability to perform effectively. I would even go further and say that you can never really achieve your true potential when that misalignment exits. Even the most talented individuals will struggle in situations where they experience misalignment at work.

The purpose of a team is not goal attainment but goal alignment

Misaligned companies, like cars out of alignment, can develop serious problems if not corrected quickly. They are hard to steer and don’t respond well to changes in direction. Organizations that succeed are aligned with their people and headed in the same direction at the same time. Alignment lets you not only focus on what matters to you, but also, what matters to your organization. A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains.

What did Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Einstein (among many others) have in common? They had relentless focus. They believed in what they were doing and worked tremendously hard to perform better. Every. Single. Day.

Don’t be a trapped in a cage

If you’re misaligned with your organization, maybe consider looking for better opportunities elsewhere. It’s never an easy decision, but life is way too short to not be doing the best possible work you can do.

Don’t be trapped in a cage. Some people, unfortunately, live their whole lives in cages with bars built from the choices others made. We spend more time on a daily basis with the people we work with than our own families. Find a job you love, with work that fulfills you, and do it with people that want the same for themselves.

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

Kahlil Gibran