There a lot of people, who for whatever reason, will at some stage find themselves unhappy at work! Indeed, a recent study which was conducted the global performance-management consultant firm, Gallup, found that 1/8th of employees across 142 countries were engaged at work. That's a considerable amount of people who are seemingly not engaged at work as well as what they should be. This article will explore ways of getting back into the groove at work, reinvigorating yourself and finding the things about your job that you once loved, yet now seem to be causing you grief.
There are many people out there who are stuck in a rut, and if you are one of the people out there which have seemingly lost their way, then you'll find this article to be of great benefit to you. Others will knowingly hate their jobs, but have grown accustomed to the lifestyle that the pay provides and will be extremely reluctant to give that up. For those ones, read on and you'll find out why passion is so much more important than money and material things. If you're looking to rekindle your passionate relationship with work. Here's where you start.
1. Getting To The Root Of The Problem:-
If you're feeling depressed and having trouble getting out of bed in a morning to get to work - you might want to start by admitting that there's a problem. There's nothing wrong with feeling that way, you might find yourself just not as passionate as you used to be. We all have bad periods at work, but when the bad periods outweigh the good periods you might need to consider that you have a problem. It's nothing to be upset about, or ashamed or even embarrassed by it - you can still take action in reinvigorating the passion that you once held, because when you can regain that passion you'll find that life will balance itself out for you and you will find renewed energy in your everyday life.
The thing is you need to take proactive action. Rather than sitting down and penning a novel of all your woes, you will need to sit down and consider the things that have occurred which may have changed your outlook on work. That's the thing, to change it, you must understand and acknowledge where the discontent is coming from whether that be things at work, or whether that be within yourself. When you understand the things that you need to change, you can begin to change them, whether that be changes within yourself or the workplace environment and you'll be able to get over this difficult part of your life where you don't seem to be passionate and that you're stuck in a rut.
Once you've identified the issues - you'll need to pick them apart. A mind/mood diary works really well, if you're detailing your thoughts and feelings at the end of each day then you're going to arrive at a point where you can establish recurring patterns and routines. These recurring patterns could be as a result of work processes that are occurring or even as a result of self-sabotage which is spiraling out of control. A mood/thought diary will help you identify these issues and allow you to work towards solving them. If you are on a self-sabotage, what you'll quickly discover is that your thoughts and behavior’s will become increasingly draining and will result in your lack of energy and lack luster appearance at work. The problem may also be about a particular anger that you are harboring towards your job where you will find detailing the events of work in a diary will help in keeping your stress levels in check and under control.
People will often sabotage themselves out of fear of success. This is the part where people will continually find excuses not to change, through their fear of accepting new challenges. The ultimate fear lies in the idea of changing, people are often happy in their comfort zones and they may continually miss out on numerous opportunities because they seem are in a lack luster stage of their life, and they struggling to keep it together. The question that you need to ask yourself is this, and this is the perfect question for people who feel trapped in their comfort zones, have you missed out on a potentially exciting opportunity because you felt too comfortable in your current position? Maybe it was because you thought you wouldn't make it and you were afraid of failure. Whatever the reason, there are bound to be places of regrets in your life because you were too afraid to take the plunge. If you find that the issue is actually within yourself and regards your own capabilities - then you need to work them out to achieve self-awareness and get the kick start that you need in order to feel passionate about work once more.
2. Find New Meaning:-
People change over time, and one of the reasons which you may not be so interested in your work anymore is that what took you there many years ago, no longer exists. It's certainly not an unusual occurrence as priorities in life change as our experience grows, and we gain a better understanding of the world and the world around us. It may not even be you that has changed necessarily, but the priorities of the workplace may have shifted to remain current and relevant, and you've been taken for the ride. Just because your business's priorities have changed, doesn't mean that you can't find new meaning within those priorities and focus on something which you enjoy and love. For example, a teacher may start their career with the intent of teaching children and having them learn, yet after a number of years they may decide that they're no longer happy working within the classroom and want to work behind the scenes in the actual Education Department, creating the programs for teachers by which they teach by, or to create and develop new policies which will oversee the overhaul of the education system.
A retail sales consultant, may love their time selling products to help people, may love the interactions with clients, but they may find that their interests may subtly and gradually shift to store merchandising all the store in the region, or training staff to instil them with their own passion. In both cases the original passion remains, but the focus of that passion has now shifted; in these two examples they may cease to doing the actual teaching or selling to imparting knowledge and experience on others for the betterment of a greater number of people or for the idea that they can 'change the system'. As such, the work remains in the same field but the work has absorbed and contextualized new meanings as people approach the work from a different role.
This can be referred to as finding new love. Have a think about the things with which you value most right now, and in what ways can you apply and channel your skill set into making a difference somewhere. If for example, through your years of teaching in the classroom, do you now feel that there's a problem with the system as a whole which you feel is your duty to correct to make the entire industry feel more comfortable and find themselves in a better position? If you're a little confused by the above suggestion, then maybe you should experiment with work in different areas and write a list of which things keep you excited and motivated, and consider how to apply them in other areas of your work.
3. Think Long-Term:-
No job is perfect. Well, perfect in the sense that we love every single thing about it. There are bound to be things in our work life which we both love and which we despise with glee. There are times when the parts we don't like become the priority in a workplace, and this may only be for a short time, but we find that it is incredibly draining and that we dread this particular time. Consider tax time for a lot of businesses, or the end of financial year where a lot of decisions need to be made for the upcoming year. Maybe you dislike paperwork or the housekeeping ideals, or maybe you're continually being involved in the concept of 'fire-fighting' where there's a myriad of problems cropping up that need to be dealt with and put out. If there's constant firefighting involved in the workplace then we can quickly become drained and sometimes even experience a burn out. Some people in the workplace can handle situations better than others and burn outs are individual to each person.
The problem isn't always easy, but it can be fixed by a realignment. Realign the purpose and role in your job in such a way that you do not become involved in such firefighting measures, especially if these issues are not a direct result or consequence from your workload. By realigning your vision towards the long term goals of yourself and the business, you may find yourself able to invigorate the passion that you once had. By viewing it through a different kind of light - the mindless tasks which you may be subjected to will have the potential to take on new meaning, and they may go a long way in sorting out the issues that you have at work. These are but stepping stones towards your true goals and will help you re-evaluate what you want to achieve and realign yourself with what you love doing. Once you can do this, the 'suffering' that you endure at work will become much more bearable and you won't feel as trapped and helpless. It's amazing what a simple realignment can do for your happiness, and the results will not only help in the workplace, but also in your general happiness levels as well.
In the above situation in regards to 'firefighting' if it’s not feasible to escape it due to your role, then you might be in a position to delegate that work to other people in your team. This may work twofold, one help develop their passion, and two help give a new skillset, who knows they even be able to do a better job or to do it far more effectively than what you can! Of course this will be far easier if you're in a management position, as if you're not then you may have no reasoning, or no authority to authorize a delegate.
If it's your own business - you could consider hiring part timers, or even seasonal contract employees which will help you manage the affairs that you're struggling with. This approach will continue to allow you to involve yourself in the things that you love whilst giving other people experience and skill sets which they may not have had access to beforehand. Keep in mind though - that sometimes in certain situations you may find that you will have to cross-check their work. At the end of the day, they may not be entirely familiar with the things that you need done, or the work itself, and as a result they may be prone to more mistakes and errors. Just keep in mind that for the most part, these might be errors of innocence and should be given some leeway.
For others with no authority to instigate the delegation of work, then you need to rely on teamwork. Have a conversation with your supervisor, work out the skill sets of the employees and try and cater the workloads to each person. If this is not feasible or possible, have the work done on a rotational basis which may also relieve the stress levels within the workplace. This approach gives the team the best foot forward as the team caters to everyone's individual strengths. This is dependent on the team structure and the dynamics and trust level of each member of the team, but research indicates that the team will contribute the most by allowing each member of the team to focus on their strengths.
5. Take A Vacation:-
We mentioned burning out earlier. One way to spark the passion back into work, is by walking away from it. You have to remember that the body is not built to sustain high levels of stress for extended periods of time, and despite how much you enjoy and adore work, no-one is immune to the effects of stress that threaten the physiological and psychological aspects off a person. It drains energy levels and resources from the body, and if you've noticed, when you have high amounts of stress - you'll be more prone to sickness because your immune system will be lowered because of it. Subsequently, you may also be prone to mental breakdowns. None of which is a fun state to be in. Being sick and stressed takes away energy levels, by taking away energy levels you'll find that because you're often in poor health, then your usual levels of patience and tolerance are weakened and this will lead to a gradual loss of interest in work.
As such, you'll need to rest up every now and then. The quickest way to get over being sick is to stop, and actually recharge the human batteries so that when you've finished resting, you're up and ready to attack the day with far more renewed energy than otherwise. You'll need to be actually taking your mind off work for an extended period of time, which means that you should not have any contact with work. Period. When you go on holidays, actually relax. By all means if you find a rugged trip up the Himalayas with a Sherpa to be a non-stressful exercise, then by all means do it. But if you don't normally lead such an active lifestyle then we strongly advise that you simply hole yourself up on a deserted beach somewhere, curl up under an umbrella and relax. Sleep the week or two away with sunshine, cocktails and exploring. If you're the type of person who finds traveling to be stressful, then you need to ensure that you're going to be spending your trip as stress free as possible and take every step and precaution to ensure that will happen.
6. Challenge Yourself:-
Challenging yourself is an important way to stay alive. We've just finished speaking about relaxing and making sure you have periods of rest, but what about the other end of the spectrum. When you're stressed you'll lose your passion for work, when it becomes too much of a repeated routine, you'll also lose your passion for it as you can no longer find it interesting. Thus, in the end, the key is to find a balance between work and play. Several psychologists, including MihalyCsikszentmihalyi, suggest that the ideal state of mind is best achieved when doing a task that is neither too easy, nor too difficult. Being in this state of mind can be referred to as being in the flow - and it is where you can be in the position to be able to completely focus, and actually enjoy the task which was assigned to you. The flow or being in the zone, is that state of mind where time just seems to fly, where you look at the clock and shock yourself with how long has actually passed. That's the thing, if you're not able to achieve getting in to the zone then you need to consider getting the passion back into you and your workplace.
If you're not being challenged then you're going to find yourself being bored. There's not very many people who will actively enjoy doing the same repeated task monotonously every single day. It doesn't challenge, it doesn't stimulate and it’s just about going through the emotions. Eventually, over time your work will lose meaning. Try breaking up the work and changing up your routines, just for a little bit of difference, or experiment with the work and try and find different ways in which to do your job. By doing this you can consider how you're going to improve your work situation by exploring different areas of your job, by approaching something with a new mind you can hopefully reinvigorate the passion that started you on this path to begin with. Above all else, do not let fear hold you back from embarking on new and exciting challenges,, the sense of satisfaction that you'll get from their completion will go a long way to helping you achieve happiness both in work, and in life.
7. Draw Strength From The Community:-
Draw strength from others. Team work is the best thing that can make a workplace seem fun and exciting, and it can turn otherwise dull and dreary work into something exciting and delightful. The thing, once you start buckling under unhappiness or pressure at work, most people will turn aside and ignore their co-workers. This is the worst possible thing that you can do. What you should do, within reason, is to reach out to your coworkers and help improve team morale. What's not feasible is discussing work at work, so make sure to keep the topics, light and grounded, and don't shut yourself out.
The simple act of asking Elle what she did on the weekend, or asking her for one of her delightful stories will help keep the work place fun and on track in keeping your passion. Friendships and friendly relations at work provide better productivity, and provide for a far better atmosphere within the workplace. This is why networking within the workplace is an important and essential task. Not only can it help reinvigorate your passion by surrounding yourself with other people who are passionate about what they do, allowing you to feed off their energy, but it will also create opportunities and open doors. There are few things that will reenergize you more than having a buddy that you an vent to. However, it should be noted that there is productive venting and then there is toxic venting and you need to be well aware of the differences and consequences of the two. Especially if it's a stressful period at work, then a work buddy who is going through something similar will be useful in letting off some steam.
It's a component that is essential for lawyers and law firms, by networking you will develop and gain opportunities to use and develop your talents and skillsets, by helping other projects, or even have other people help your own projects. The options are endless and limited only by the amount of time that you spend developing your relationships. Just remember though, you're at work. Networking will help establish a positive work culture, so long as the people that you're networking with have a positive attitude on life and can offer unique and insightful opinions and perspectives on things. By networking with someone who’s established within the workplace, you'll be able to tap onto their own networks as well!
8. Be A Mentor:-
Sometimes all it takes in reinvigorating the passion into your self is to try and pass on what made you passionate to other people in the workplace. By becoming a trainer, or a mentor to someone else, it might remind you of the things that you have forgotten since you first started. Those things though, might return to you once you start mentoring someone at work -- their enthusiasm might be infectious and result in you remembering what it was that made you passionate in the first place. When there's a young person in your office, or work space, looking intently with such keen interest in learning something new, hoping to pick up on some of the skills that you've learned you might find yourself inspired by that feeling. Especially since you'll be going back to basics and ‘re-learning' the ropes with them. If this sounds up your alley, then by all means speak to your boss about teaching the ropes to new comers in the work place.
9. Be Mentored:-
Conversely, if you're not prone to helping others in such a way, you might find the idea of being mentored to be more your thing. Not only can this be used as a way to network to ones seniors at work, but you can also gain and expand your own skill set by taking on their own, and learning about how they do things. When seeking to be mentored, make sure that you have someone who inspires you, and who you look up to and whom is generally considered to be a positive person in the workplace. They can certainly help you in reestablishing the passion that you once had back into the workplace. Mentors should be someone that has gone through a lot, had ups and downs in their careers and can be an extremely valuable asset to have.
They may have the unique gift of opening up your eyes to see things in new ways, or to gently guide you in a new direction, or they may be blunt with affection and tell you how it is. Whatever approach they take, however you take it, it is a valuable experience for all. They're not that difficult to set up either, recurring informal meetings with a mentor to just check in, or a simple and quick email every now and then to check in if the physical presence is unavailable. They will need to be someone who you both respect, and trust before you take them on as your mentor, as there will be times when you may need to vent about the workplace and you need to be able to have the assurance that they will have your back.
10. Remind Yourself What You Really Love:-
Work is often about deadlines, and about dealing with priority issues that continually crop up. With distractions like these it's often easy to forget why we fell in love with the workplace to begin with. What we need to do is to remind ourselves, and remember, to stop and breathe. Focus on the little things in our workplace and our lives which attract us, invigorate us and help us with producing the energy that we need to function. Distractions deplete that energy, it brings us down, it depresses us in a way because it clouds our vision into only seeing things like the priorities that need urgent fixing, and as such we need to take time to admire and appreciate the things that we love in our workplace. It'll make a nice change from all the negativity that you're feeling and will certainly help in recharging the batteries. By using the mood/though diary at the end of the day, at the end of each entry, try and write down one thing which you loved about today. Finish the entry as a sandwich with something sweet on top. That way you'll have a visual and worded reminder of the things that you love when everything else seems so dark.
By writing down at least one good thing a day in the diary, over time you'll be be to pick up the diary one day, read all the good comments and ignore the bad ones, because the bad ones will generally pass over time when the rough period is over and you'll be in a position not to take anything for granted, you might be able to focus on the good things such as the level of creativity within your work place, the development of your skill sets and craft as well as the idea of reshaping your mind, ideas and ways of thinking.
It's important to take time to reflect at the end of each day. With the commute to and from work increasing with every passing year, it makes sense to use this time to think, or to catch up on stuff that's non work related and that you find enjoyable. A few minutes each day reflecting on the good things that you have done, the clients that you have helped, or the progress that you have made in a project can go a long way in returning the passion that you had for your work. By keeping track of your emotions during work, you'll inevitably be able to reflect back on them, consider them, and consider how important that they were to you, and quite quickly, you'll realize and remember the areas of work that react strongly with you and help you realign your passions with work. By reminding yourself of the good days and the good things that happened on those days, you'll be in a far better position to find yourself passionate about work once more.