Whether you love your job or loathe it, there is always the potential to feel more energized and less stressed.
If you want to feel more juice on the job, one option is changing what you experience (what happens at work). But that’s only one side of the coin. And if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on a lot of the potential for positive change.
The other side of the coin is changing how you relate to what you experience – something you have infinitely more control over.
I have developed a program called “More Juice in Your Job” that integrates both those approaches to changing things for the better. It builds on my fifteen years helping people feel more energized and alive at work and draws deeply from neuroscience and psychology research.
[Check out my More Juice coaching group, starting Tuesday, February 2nd.]
Here are a few ways you can take steps to feel more juice in your job.
Do an energy audit
It all starts with taking a detailed look at your work situation and getting clarity about what’s working for you and what’s not.
Begin with a “personal energy audit.” Ask yourself, “What about my work energizes me? What drains me?” Your goal is to get a detailed view you can start taking action on.
The resulting “energy gain” list gives you defined areas to build on. How can you bring more of each of what energizes you into the picture?
The “energy drain” list gives you specific aspects of your work that you can explore how to reduce or even eliminate.
A decade and a half of experience with this has taught me that jobs frequently have much more malleability than most people realize, especially when you sculpt them with changes over time.
Explore grounding practices
Many people go through their days like a Catherine Wheel firework – spinning around with sparks flying off in all directions.
Developing a grounding practice (like meditation) can give you a more solid foundation to stand on. It can also be a tool you can reach for on the fly when you feel your day getting stressful or irritating.
Meditation has been proven to have many benefits, including decreased stress, reduced anxiety, and greater ability to focus.
Cultivate present-moment presence
Most people spend very little time in the here-and-now. They put a lot of energy into dwelling on things in the post or worrying about things in the future.
Cultivating a present-moment presence through a practice like mindfulness pays off in multiple ways. First, it reduces the stress of ruminating on the past and worrying about the future.
Second, it makes you more aware of what is actually happening, both internally and around you. That in turn can cut the puppet strings of unaware reactivity, letting you guide your actions and reactions more consciously.
Extensive research has shown that a mindfulness practice reduces stress, turns down the volume on anxiety, and improves both your focus and working memory.
Manage your stories
The world you experience isn’t the world as it actually is. It’s simply the world as you perceive it. Two people can have the exact same thing happen and have their experience of it be vastly different. The difference is the story they each tell about it.
We all see the world through our own unique lens. That lens consists of the stories we tell about things. Stories about what’s good, what’s bad. About what should be and what shouldn’t. What we like and don’t like. Stories about what that comment from our boss meant. Or how important it was that you were five minutes late to that meeting this morning. And on and on.
What you see and experience is more a reflection of your stories than a picture of how the world really is. Don’t believe me? Think about how you saw the world in junior high compared to how you see it now. Pretty different, right? It’s not the world that has changed. It’s your lens.
The good news is that, because your stories aren’t cast in stone (even if they might sometimes feel like they are), you can change them. And when you change your story, you change your experience.
Manage your focus
What you focus on impacts what you experience and how you feel. On top of that, because of the way the brain is constantly rewiring itself, your focus lays down the neural track for what you’re likely to experience and feel in the future.
Consciously directing your focus in a positive direction (e.g., through a gratitude practice or a habitual asking, “What’s good here?”) both changes your experience of the here-and-now and builds a framework for a more positive experience in the future.
Take a heart view
Bringing your heart to work isn’t advice you’re likely to get in many career books, but I’m convinced it has a huge impact on feeling more juice in your job.
Research shows that self-compassion leads to reduced stress, greater happiness, increased productivity, and greater resilience (bouncing back from adversity).
Cultivating compassion for others has been shown to make you happier and less stressed. Practices like loving-kindness meditation have been shown to increase a wide range of positive emotions like love, joy, and gratitude. These in turn have an impact on how people see themselves, how they interact with others, even on their physical health.
Wilder still, your physical heart can actually influence your brain. Research from the HeartMath Institute has shown that focusing on your heart while experiencing feelings like love and compassion has an impact on your brain, sending it messages to chill out and relax (that’s the scientific description, I believe).
Go beyond yourself
Getting outside your own personal bubble of self-preoccupation and focusing on something beyond yourself is a great way to feel more energized and inspired.
For example, you can look for opportunities to make a difference. Maybe that is through your work, but it might be as simple as helping a colleague, or even just offering a warm smile. Studies show that doing good is good for you. It makes you happier, reduces stress, and has a positive impact on your health.
In summary, feeling more juice in your job isn’t just a matter of changing your situation. It’s about improving both what you experience and how you relate to what you experience. The more inner resources you can cultivate, the bigger the potential to feel energized and alive, and less stressed, wherever you go.
[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide