Nina Spencer is a speaker, coach and author of Getting Passion Out of Your Profession.
Do you love your job? If you won the lottery, would you stay?
Most people declare they’d leave and find something different. Some say they’d never work again – but they’d probably get bored of being idle and want to return. Even Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey work.
Despite the fantasy, there are plenty of reasons why people stay in safe jobs and don’t pursue their real professional “bliss.” If you’re feeling listless (especially in February), and used to demonstrate more professional passion, embrace my variation on that old Stephen Stills song, “If you can’t be in the job you’d love, love the one you’re in!”
Some think the only way to rekindle passion for their profession is to quit. You don’t have to quit to regain passion, but you do have to decide to be passionate. It often takes a bolt of lightening—a light bulb moment—to make us change our ways about anything.
It’s human nature to respond more quickly to pain, than pleasure. That’s why we give the horse a “kick,” along with commanding “giddy up!” Most need “spurs” to go. It helps if we experience an Epiphany—a.k.a. a Significant Emotional Event. Interestingly, this expression’s acronym is S.E.E. It takes a “seeing” to decide, “I’m going to put more passion into my workdays!” That “seeing” may come as a layoff, downsizing, illness, loss of a loved one, or something as big as 9/11.
When it’s tough sustaining your professional passion, use these strategies to muster resilience:
PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK
How do you feel about Mondays? Fridays? Sundays? Noticing your attitude toward the rhythm of your week reveals plenty about feelings you harbour towards your job. Positive self-talk fortifies hopefulness and productivity.
DECLARE PROFESSIONAL SELF-WORTH
Do you realize your terrific workplace contributions? These questions help:
- What abilities come easily to me?
- What skills do I demonstrate better than most?
- How have I grown this past year?
- What’s the most important lesson I learned last year?
- How am I applying that learning now?
- What difficult tasks have I accomplished?
- When it comes to workplace performance, about what am I proudest?
- About what would I like to receive compliments?
DEMONSTRATE SENSE OF HUMOR
Humor is good for health and spirit. Stanford University professor, Dr. William Fry, determined that three to five minutes of laughter doubles your heart rate—equal to three minutes on a rowing machine. What would you rather do? Find something to laugh about daily.
How do you perceive control? Who do you control? Who don’t you control? Think of control like the weather…you go outside, you get what’s there! It’s up to you to modify your perspective, so that you can cope.
PICK YOUR PURPOSE
It’s easier to stay inspired when you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take the “why” test. Ask yourself, five times, “Why do I do this job?” For each answer, ask, “And why is that important?” By the time you get to the fifth “why,” you’ll be close to the real purpose for doing your work.
Energy is the groundwork for enthusiasm, and the only thing more contagious than enthusiasm is the lack of it! Fortify your physical, emotional, and mental health. Eat right. Sleep right. Exercise. Get fresh air. Grab some sun. Have some fun. Laugh.
You may be in the right job, yet still experience funks. Cut yourself some slack. Persevere. Keep faith. Think, “Just for today…” List things you love about your work — and review when down.
Expand, your network of enthusiastic, energized people to help sustain your passion. Answering these questions helps:
- With whom do I enthusiastically talk shop at work? Outside?
- How can I diversify my network?
- With whom do I share victories?
- Who helps me improve?
- Who deserves my gratitude?
- Who can I help?
Protecting passion for your profession is challenging. Valentine’s Day may offer a momentary distraction, but for the long haul, remember this: Life is change, and work is change, but passion for your profession, is optional; and you get to choose.