Intellectually we all understand that how we feel has an effect on us. We understand that most of the time that the feeling will pass. Not always but in most cases, the feeling is often fleeting. We are not talking here about the feelings that come from intense loss and grief or trauma, rather the multitude of emotions that come and go and that are the ebb and flow of our mood over the course of a day.
Interestingly, we think we tend towards using a limited vocabulary around how we feel and what our mood is, erring on the side of simplicity in naming and recognising our mood. We are very familiar with feeling sad or happy, angry, fear or joy. However, nuance is often missing. Just search for “A-Z of emotions” online and you may be surprised by the choice of words that can reflect the complexity of the emotions we experience. All the words are familiar but we bet they are not words you use readily to describe your mood.
I am fine, thanks…
A few of our favourites in the lexicon of emotions are nonchalant, hesitant, aggravated, appreciative or exuberant. When was the last time your mood was exuberant? In fact, we would wager a guess if we asked most of you how are you or how is your mood today, you would reply with the ubiquitous “fine”. It’s like our default setting to utter the word “fine” when asked that question. We are not going to explore here why we do that as that would be the subject of a blog in of itself. “Fine” is the word that is used to encapsulate everything when it comes to mood, and to mean nothing.
So are you fine?
Well, yes. You told us in the MOSAIC Mood Index that essentially you are all “fine”.
- 79% of you are happy or very happy in your job.
Happiness comes from the extrinsic motivation in the form of salary for 65% of you and the intrinsic motivation in doing meaningful, impactful work for 60% of you. The question we asked allowed you to select all the choices that applied to you. These two responses along with “quality of work” at 64% were the top three answers. What it says to us is that the pull of finding meaning in what you do is important. Flipping it around, salary can make you unhappy (24%) but not as unhappy as poor quality work (34%) and no work-life balance (47%).
- Almost all of you (94%) acknowledge that your job affects your mood at home and in your personal life.
You go further and recognise the personal impact you can have on your mood and happiness by investing in yourself and being more active, vocal or engaged in improving the conversation about the future of the profession. But and it’s a big but, the survey reveals that you aren’t doing what you need to or want to do to improve your mood.
What is stopping you?
Lack of time. Time pressure. You don’t prioritise it. You know what you need to. You know what you want to do. So the conundrum here is what do you do next? Are you willing to do it? Do you want to try? What does it even look like? If the last few months have taught us anything it is that we can change (when forced to), we can re-prioritise and adapt.
We don’t have to go back to the way it was. We can aim for a kinder, more thoughtful, respectful and meaningful way of being and doing. We are at inflection point not just around wellbeing but around diversity and privilege too. And if not now, then when? What more will it take?
Claire Debney and Emma Sharpe, The MOSAIC Collective
The MOSAIC Mood Index 2020 was launched to capture the mood of the legal profession. Supported by The Legal 500, the report surveyed 1,477 respondents from the legal sector around the world to gauge attitudes towards wellbeing and work. The executive summary report can be downloaded here and more information is available at themosaiccollective.co