There is a lot to celebrate this month. June is dedicated to Gay PRIDE. It’s also Black Music Month. When it comes to taking pride in your work, the LGBTQIA+ and Black Music communities can teach us invaluable lessons in the power of feeling justifiably worthwhile.

To borrow from Merriam Webster, “pride,” in part, is defined as “reasonable self-respect.” Taking pride in your work does not require a special occasion. But I can’t think of a better reason to blast one of my favorite anthems. You know the one. Courtesy of legendary artist, Aretha Franklin, this song defines empowerment and requires no help from ol’ Merriam Webster. Talk about R-E-S-P-E-C-T . Sing it loud. Sing it PROUD! You just can’t help but feel good, right?

Believe it or not, you can invoke the same feeling from taking pride in your work. If you don’t believe me, take it from Aretha. There is always a productive way to channel bad feelings. I know what you’re thinking, and you don’t have to be a gospel prodigy to embrace this philosophy.

You may not always realize it, but you have the power to transform the mundane or undesirable components of your role. In fact, you can do it all by yourself. Put simply, you only have to reframe how you view these aspects of your job. In fact, perspective is what PRIDE is all about. Specifically, Gay Pride is celebrated in opposition to shame and social stigma.

Everyone deserves to feel a sense of pride and belonging. That’s true of any environment, including work. If your job somehow makes you feel inferior or prevents you from being your authentic self, know that I believe the work you are contributing is worthwhile. And let’s work together to figure out what’s preventing you from sharing my perspective.

3 Steps to R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Taking pride in your work is not always easy. It requires motivation. So, what is it that you want from your job? It’s time to understand what exactly is bothering you. Ask yourself a few things. Does your work culture align with your personal values? Is the thought of starting a new career appealing to you? Or perhaps, it’s not your circumstances that need changed. Maybe you simply need a new perspective.

Ask yourself: “Is the work I’m doing today a steppingstone along my journey?” Chances are, it’s paving the way to your dreams. If so, then be sure to pay your due respect! Even if it’s not where you’d like to be right now, is it leading you in the right direction? If the answer is yes, that’s something to take pride in! In case you find yourself off course, it’s never too late to change your career path. You are the captain of your ship.

1. “What you want?” -Aretha Franklin

By identifying what motivates you at work, you can more easily understand where you might find satisfaction. Maybe you feel devalued because you believe you deserve a higher salary or recognition for the work you contribute. By knowing what’s keeping you from being proud of the work you do, you discover a better path forward.

Perhaps there’s a social stigma associated with the work you do. Get in touch with what is keeping you from feeling good about it. Criticism comes in many forms. External factors are not the only influences. Sometimes our struggles are internal. So, be honest with yourself. Is it a lack of self-respect, or is it more than that?

2. “The old sayin’ is if there’s a will, girl, there’s got to be a way now.” -Otis Redding

Sometimes songs get stuck in our heads, even the ones we don’t like. Let’s face it, not everyone is as smooth as Otis Redding. The good news is, with a concerted effort, you can change your tune.  To convert negative feedback loops into positive ones, all you need is desire and determination. The first step toward taking pride in your work is believing your efforts are justifiably worthwhile. Then, simply commit to changing your thought patterns. Trust me, where there’s will, there’s a way!

3. “A change gonna come.” -Sam Cooke

If you want to make changes, perseverance is key. No change comes easy. On the rare occasion it does, it’s not likely to stick.  Behavioral adjustments take time and practice. With investments in both, you can form new habits. So, exercise your mind. Just like any muscle, strength building doesn’t happen overnight. So, have patience with your circumstances and yourself. You are nourishing a new mindset.

No matter how big or small, celebrate your progress. Take note of each-and-every personal and professional development along the way. Then, take some advice from “the great souled one,” Mahatma Gandhi, and “Be the change you wish to see.”

If you feel undervalued, explore the reasons behind that. Are you underpaid or is your work going unnoticed? Do some research. That way, you can adequately inform your perspective. Who knows, you may learn you are actually well compensated in your role. Realizing your negative thoughts are unjustified can provide you with immediate relief. On the other hand, if your concerns are valid, knowledge you garner can give you the motivation you need to pursue a new direction. Whether in your current role or in pursuit of a new one, equip yourself to feel good about all progress. Planning and problem solving can help prevent getting trapped in feelings of unworthiness.

Unfortunately, not all problems are that straight forward. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we get stuck. When that happens, it’s hard to feel hopeful or proud. However, by reframing how you think about your experiences, you can change how you feel about them. Taking pride in your work means knowing that you and your efforts are worthy. So, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even the voice within.