Have you lost that lovin’ feeling for your job? How do you know if it is just a phase, whether it is your job or role, or instead maybe the industry that you are in? If you are not as jazzed about your work lately, one of the things you want to consider first is — how bad is it? Is it just a passing phase and hopefully something you can address, or do you need to change positions or your long-term career direction? Think objectively before you make a big decision or change. Many people I work with when they come to me realize they do not need to make as dramatic of a change as they thought in order to find passion again for their work.
There are many ways you can remain passionate about your work, and you need to realize up front that it is an ongoing process you need to continue throughout your career. Even if you are in a job that is a fit for you, you can still tire of some of the day-to-day tasks.
I have been coaching for 11 years now and I love what I do, but the passion for my career ebbs and flows over time. There are years where I realize I need to step it up in order to remain fulfilled. Sometimes, even if we are skilled at something, we can get bored with it. You need to continue to challenge yourself in your career in order to keep it rewarding for you.
Take a few minutes to first answer these questions to take stock of what is missing in your career now, then below are some tips to help you find that loving feeling again. What do you enjoy most about the work you do now? What do you enjoy the least? What is missing from your current position in terms of passion or fulfillment?
Next, based on the answers to those questions, you can assess where you need to make changes. Here are some of the ways you can stay passionate about your position:
- Keep challenging yourself. Whether it is learning new software, developing a soft skill, or stretching yourself outside your comfort zone by taking on a project you normally would not, you need to continuously feel challenged at work. Everyone needs to feel challenged in his or her careers. Even those of us who are not the primary breadwinner and are looking more for a job we can leave at work when we get home still crave some element of challenge.
- Tap into the original passion. Remind yourself every day of why you got into your line of work in the first place. What was that original passion or feeling? Make sure you perform those tasks every day that tap into the original passion. Get out to meet your customers again — take them to lunch, if you have lost that sense of the impact you are having at work. Find ways to touch the passion on a regular basis.
- Hang around people in your industry who enjoy their work. Their energy and excitement is contagious. They will remind you of new, cutting-edge trends in the industry you want to stay on top of. And being around them will help you feel passionate again as well. Energy is infectious. It is the same as spending time with a positive, upbeat person — you feel better afterwards.
- Understand and honor your values. Values are your guideposts to fulfillment, personally and professionally. They usually operate subconsciously and drive our decision-making. To experience greater fulfillment and be more passionate about your career, bring your values to the forefront and take consistent action steps to honor them at work every day. This will ensure you stay connected to the passion.
Here are a couple of ways to identify your values: Think of a peak personal experience in your life and write about it for five minutes. What was cool or important to you about this experience? What did you enjoy about it so much? Notice the keywords you wrote down and themes in your answers. These are clues to some of your values.
When you think about your current job and how it does or does not honor your values, it will give you enormous clarity about why you may not be feeling passionate about your work — and clues to what you can do about it. Values are one of the first things I help my career-coaching clients identify in order to understand what would be fulfilling to them.
Keep in mind that is it possible to maintain a sense of passion in your work throughout your career. But it is a process that requires active management and mindfulness on your part. You want to stay ahead of it on a regular basis.