We spend most of our lives at work. At WORK. Work makes it sound like a pretty rough way to spend the majority of your waking hours. However, what if work engaged our minds, our imaginations, and could help fulfill our need for human interaction? It is possible.
When we think of going to work, frequently we only think of all of the tasks that need to be done in a firmly dictated time frame, and frequently a firmly dictated organizational structure. What do you do when it feels like there are limitations placed on your innovation, and your desire to do more with your life? There are several options, all of which require serious self reflection, a bit of trial and error, and a willingness to try.
1. Identify what makes you want to get up in the morning- Now, I have asked this question of many of my clients, and the first response is the alarm clock. Yes, the alarm clock makes you get out of bed in the morning, but what makes you excited to face the day? Is it the opportunity to become an expert in your field? Is it overcoming challenges? Is it a side project that is complementary to you work project that allows you to use your expertise to explore how to make the world a better place? There are many opportunities in the world to explore, and you don’t have to give up your current job to explore them. What makes you ready for the day?
2. Identify what is making you feel stuck- Many of us have felt like we were stuck at some point in our lives. We could be stuck in a job that we don’t like. We could be stuck in a team that doesn’t engage our minds or our needs for resources. We can also be stuck in our own minds. We can be stuck in a place where we only view the world through a lens of pessimism. The world is a very difficult place when we feel that there is nothing we can do to make it a better place, or that whatever we do will result in being beaten down. If you notice your thought patterns going in that direction in regards to your work, take a moment to think about why. Is it because of a high number of bad experiences? Can I try to look through the lens of optimism and focus on the positive? The human mind has a tendency to remember more negative experiences that positive. If we are intentional about focusing on the positive experiences will we have a better experience at work? Take the time to write down or remember all of the things that went right during the day. I’m not saying that things are not difficult at work. Sometimes we just need to take a step back to see if it is all bad, or if there are more positive experiences than we think. We can get caught in the circular thoughts of how bad something is, why not try seeing if we can create a thought pattern about how good things are. Once we have made that effort, we can get a clearer picture of what we need to do to be satisfied with work and life.
3. Create opportunities for growth- Take the time to examine what makes you get up in the morning, as well as what is making you feel stuck. What can you do to work with that new found knowledge and create opportunities to grow in your field and as a leader? Look for opportunities to start new projects at work that are maybe a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Look for opportunities for learning. So many professional organizations, schools, and community organizations offer free seminars or low cost seminars for you to start learning about a new project. Examine what you can do to create social opportunities in the workplace. Can you start an innovation club or something where you can discuss ideas that spark your passion and imagination?
4. Evaluate where you want to be- Where do you want to be 10 years from now? Are you in a place that will help you meet that goal? What changes can you create to make that goal attainable. Many times if you look at where you want to be in 10 years, you have to engage with a passion for what you do. What is your passion and what do you need to do to make your dreams come true. Be intentional and specific with what you need in order to accomplish your goals. Are you in a place that will help you grow? Will you be satisfied with your work when you reach your 10 year goal? Don’t be afraid to reach.
As Richard Branson said, “The best advice I could give anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.” Will you be intentional about creating passion for what you do in life?