Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else. James Barrie
It is a new year and with that comes a renewed sense of energy and excitement for what is to come, right? Wrong. Forbes reported that nearly 20% of professionals feel overwhelmed this time of year resulting in short term productivity gains coupled with plummeting job satisfaction.
If you are feeling the pressure mounting and your satisfaction dipping, there are things you can do this month to change how you feel about your work life and maybe even fall back in love with your job.
1. Focus on What Is Working
This doesn’t mean the obstacles cease to exist. If you can spend the first five minutes of work on any project or meeting looking at what is working, you will have enhanced clarity and ideas about overcoming the challenges you are facing. Ask questions of yourself and others along the lines of: What is working? When have I (you, we) faced something similar with success? How does it feel knowing I (you/we) have experienced success in the past? Focusing on what is working versus what isn’t is one of the fastest ways to fall back in love and it even works outside the office.
2. Nice Matters
Water cooler talk never contributes to enhanced relationships. In fact, the more you can rise above office politics and gossip the more in love you will be with your work life. It sounds simple but “personality conflict” is the number one reason people site for quitting their job. It does not mean you are best friends with everyone at work but it does mean that you never contribute to the formation of divisive camps. When approached or tempted to participate, statements such as, I hear your frustration. What can I do to help you move in a different direction? Have you talked to XX about your concerns? Thank you for your hard work. If you can make this shift in a genuine way that feels good, you will be amazed at the results and the time you regain through the course of your day.
3. Appreciation Changes Everything
Do you have five minutes a day to write down what you appreciate about your job? Take five minutes a day out of your busy schedule for one week, and write as much as you can with this prompt: Today I appreciate the following things about my job … If you can do this practice at the beginning or end of your day you will get the best results but it works any time. Your focus will naturally shift to those things that you appreciate and work will get easier every time you add to the list. It is productive to spend time this way and you will see results and maybe even fall in love with aspects of your work.
4. Network with People that Inspire You
Research shows that individuals who have a mentor at work are more committed to their organization and more satisfied with their job. Do you have a mentor? If not, is there someone you would consider asking to mentor you? What are you waiting for? Fall in love with your job again by finding yourself an inspiring mentor!
5. Solidify Your Vision
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to fall in love with your career. Ask yourself: Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Why do I want to do it? Am I doing it currently? How can I align more completely with what I want to do? This is a powerful exercise and some people learn through this process that they love their career but their current work environment is not the right fit. When you ask important questions, sometimes you have to be ready for a break up in order to truly fall in love again. Of course, you may be exactly where you want to be and after writing your personal vision, you will fall head over heels right where you are now.
6. Detach from the Outcome
This seems counterintuitive in today’s fast paced work environment that is all about results. This is about setting the bar high and then working in an inspired way toward your goal without attachment to the outcome. Why? Because when you attach to the outcome, there is room for fear or missing the target and deadlines and failure. When you detach from the outcome, you will find your inspired action takes you where you were headed much more quickly and often turns heads and gets you noticed. The energy you generate when you detach from certain outcomes will help you deliver in ways that will far exceed your goal.
7. Give Back
You are busy. This time of year is busy. Giving back can be easy and rewarding and is one way to fall back in love with your job today. This practice can take many forms at the office. Is your company affiliated with an organization that is meaningful to you? How can you engage? Is there someone at work that needs a little support or attention that you would feel good providing? Is there an organization next door or down that road that you could support or thank for the work they do? This is not about organizing others or changing the world by yourself, although it may lead you down that path. This is about ways to get out of your own head by connecting with others doing meaningful work.
One of the most important ways to enhance our passion for something is to celebrate everyday moments. Of course, this goes beyond our office walls but often we forget to honor small wins at work. This is not about the cliché office “cake party” but more about writing a personal note to a colleague or doing something special for yourself to acknowledge accomplishment. Try doing something as soon as possible and before you know it, it will be a part of your daily routine.
If all you do today is affirm that everything is unfolding at work exactly as it should, you may eventually find that there is no place you would rather be, and work does not really feel like work anymore, but rather like a passion worth pursuing.