It’s 6:00 pm. It’s autumn and it’s already getting a bit dusky as you trudge the final steps to your front door. You flick the switch and dump your jacket over the back of a nearby chair. Still, in your work clothes, you flop onto the couch and sigh. You’re exhausted at the prospect of feeding yourself.
Why do you feel so freakin’ drained? When did it become such a chore to go to a place you used to love? What happened to the magic, the passion? You swear it used to be there: you can remember in the early days and heading into the office or the hospital with a pep in your step, the get-up-and-go of someone who was passionate about what they did and who was excited to see the people they worked with. But now you get bummed when you think about the fact it’s only Tuesday and there’s still three more days to go before your weekend.
You think about your job and wonder, “what happened to the love?”
I’m sure you know this isn’t uncommon at all. But I’m not going to throw stats at you and tell you-you’re not alone. Because who cares about that, really, right? What you actually want to know is, “Can I fix it? Can I get that twinkle back in my eye?”
I’m here to tell you: yes, yes you can.
Here are three great ways to fall in love with your work again.
1. What made you fall in love in the first place? When it’s all feeling kind of lousy it’s time to ask yourself: why did you choose your job in the first place? Go back to the beginning… the very beginning. What made you make that call, or submit that resume or application, or do that interview? What drew you to it?
No matter what your answer is here—whether it’s something one might expect of a mental health professional, like that you truly love being able to make a difference in an individual’s life, or that the job made great use of one of your best strengths, or that you were going to get to work under the guidance of someone you’ve admired for ages—try to lean into those feelings again. Reconnect to the “why” that got you here. It’s pretty easy to get disconnected from the reason that we do things and lapse into going through the motions.
Sidebar here: if the answer to the question is, “the pay was really great,” or “I needed the money,” that’s actually ok… so long as making the big bucks is part of a broader plan. Why do you need to make that money? For example, a friend of mine worked for 10 years in a job she didn’t love, purely because it paid well. She did with that the intention of making as much moola as she could in a set time period to support a down-the-track goal of starting her own business.
So the point is, whatever you’re doing, do it with purpose and keep that reason top of mind.
2. Think back to your last great day at work. Journal about it. If you’re thinking you’re not the kind of gal who journals, hear me out. There is something about getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper (or into an electronic document) that stops them circulating in your mind like a bad song on repeat and gets them out of the way to make room for the other ideas and memories that aren’t near the surface.
Figuring out how to get the magic back starts with knowing where the magic came from.
An amazing way to get in touch with that is to think back to your last great day at work. Think it through, write it down, and spare no detail. What did that look like? How did your day begin? What did you eat? Who did you interact with? What did you wear? Where did you go? What did you work on? What results did you get?
Having done that, look for clues. Where does the joy come from? Are there things in this dream day that you’ve let fall by the wayside for some reason? Do you get extra life juice when you’re working on your passion project? Do feel happier when you grab coffee with your favorite colleague? Do you feel confident when you wear your power blazer?
3. Actually do those things that bring you joy. Part two of making the magic reappear is promising yourself that in the next week you’ll do some (or all, if you can!) of these things. You’ll make time for the passion project. You’ll invite that colleague you love for coffee on a weekly basis. You’ll buy a second power blazer you adore and put it into rotation. You play a role in the good stuff happening!
Like any good relationship, sometimes doing a little something to “rekindle the romance” is all you need to remember why you fell in love in the first place. (And sometimes upon closer examination you might find that you’ve grown apart… but that’s the subject of another blog post.) You don’t need me to tell you how much time you spend working and how important it is to keep the love alive, so take it into your own hands a do a little something special (or three little somethings special) for your relationship with your work.
Tell me… why did you fall in love with your work in the first place? What are the little things that keep the love alive? Seriously, tell me all about it! I’ll reply.