Temporary professional slumps happen … to everyone … from the CEO to the newest hires fresh out of college. You get bored or dissatisfied with your job and lose momentum. Your passion fades along with your enthusiasm, new ideas and energy.
Assuming there are no real problems at work causing your lack of enthusiasm, you can get yourself back on track. (Here are tips to diagnose a bigger misfit between you and your job.)
When considering how to do this, it’s important to remember that passion comes from within. “Passion does not exist in the job, it exists in us,” suggests Tina Su for thinksimplenow.com. The right mindset makes it possible to reignite your passion for a job you once enjoyed.
How can you regain your momentum and enthusiasm for work?
- Think back to when you started your job. What did you like about your job then? Try to focus on this. What is different about your job today? Or have you changed? Be conscious of your expectations and whether they’re reasonable.
- Try focusing on the good things that are happening and being grateful. Think about customers or clients you enjoy working with, co-workers who keep you sane or specific tasks that challenge you. Stop focusing on the negative. When we replay negative events in our minds, our brains give them priority. We remember them better because we’ve thought extensively about them. Turn that around and give your attention (and replay time) to positive events and people. (Read more about positive thinking.)
- Change up your routine and learn something new. Step away from your comfort zone. Explore. Be curious. Additional training, coaching or mentoring can help. Grabbing a book on a work topic can be a big motivator, giving you new ideas and fresh ways to look at things. Refill your tank at professional training. While you’re reading or listening, jot down new approaches or ideas to try later. If your job hasn’t changed in five years and you’re just bored, talk with your boss about adding new responsibilities or projects. Maybe you can help mentor a new hire or work on a cross-departmental team.
- Give structure to your day and celebrate accomplishments (if you don’t already). Achieving makes us feel more satisfied. If you can create a list of things you want to accomplish and check them off, you’ll feel better about how you spent your time at work. Quality work is also something you can be proud of. (If you want your work to be even stronger, this might be a time when reading or training can come in handy too.)
- Give yourself a break. If you’re a type A personality, recognize your inner perfectionist, suggests Christine Louise Hohlbaum for psychologytoday.com. “If you give 115% every day, you will use up more of yourself than you have. Allow for 80% every once in a while. Use the other 20% you saved for self-renewal.” Or if it’s time for an actual break—plan a little vacation. This will give you something to look forward to and remind you why you’re working. Also, leave work behind when your day is done. Fill your personal time with things you enjoy.
Remember your old enthusiasm for work? Find it back. Take a closer look at what you once loved. Step out of your comfort zone by learning and trying new things. And remember to take time away from work to recharge.