Your relationship with your job is just like any other relationship: It can hit a rough patch, or you might get a case of the blahs. My executive coaching clients often confide that they really don't enjoy parts of their jobs anymore. But because some aspects still work for them — and the pain of staying put is less than the pain of looking for something new — they soldier on.
If this sounds familiar, how does each day feel? When you're not as passionate about your work, it can be much more difficult to tap into your creativity and strengths. If you let this situation continue for too long, it could affect your performance and ultimately your career advancement.
But you don't have to break up with your current job to love your career again. In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm sharing three questions to help you rekindle your excitement.
What Initially Attracted You?
Think back to when you first started your job. What attracted you to this role? What did you enjoy most about it back then? Maybe it was the opportunity to work with a great team or a great boss. Or perhaps it was the chance to use certain skills, build something new or round out your experience. Your reasons don't have to be "exciting." They just have to be meaningful to you. Perhaps your job won your heart simply because it gave you financial stability and security.
Of those initial characteristics that made you fall in love with this job, which ones still remain? Take five minutes to jot them down — to help you remember and appreciate them. If something you used to love about your job has changed, you can still use the insights from this exercise to increase your job satisfaction. For example, if the boss you accepted this job to work with has since moved on to another role, brainstorm other ways to get the support your old boss used to give, such as finding a new mentor.
What Would You Love More Of?
Complete this sentence:
If I had more _________, I'd love my job again.
Get specific about your answer to this question, and notice what’s at the heart of it. For example, if you answered challenge (as many people do), what kind of challenge do you need? Have you been doing the same kind of work for so long that its routine nature no longer engages you? If so, getting the challenge you need may be more about helping you build new skills or applying your skills to different types of business issues.
What Would You Want Less Of?
Here's one more sentence for you to complete:
If I could stop (or get rid of) _________, I'd love my job more.
Think about the things you've been tolerating at work that you'd love to just resolve once and for all. Perhaps day-to-day you are so involved in managing details that you don’t have time to get to the strategic work you love. Identify at least one thing that you would want less of, and one step you can take this week to make it happen. For example, if you’ve been tolerating performance issues on your team, review the strategies from my article "Why Your Underperformer Isn't Changing."
For some people, when they answer this question, it may surface lifestyle issues such as long work hours or a crazy schedule that encroaches on their personal time. If that’s true for you, these articles have helpful strategies: "How to Stop Working All the Time" and "4 Ways to Keep Your Busy Life From Taking Over."
If you'd like some outside perspective or support as you try to rekindle that passion for your job, consider booking one of our Leadership Breakthrough SessionsSM. These half- or full-day customized sessions are designed to help you get clarity about what matters to you, and arm you with practical strategies.