7 ways to feel more juice in your job

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.]

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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

Energized & Open: Twin Keys to Unleashing Your Full Potential

For much of the last fifteen years, I have seen the work I do in terms of one single continuum – from drained to energized. My goal has been to help people move up the continuum from feeling drained in their work towards being energized by it.

But more and more I have come to see another continuum as an equally important piece of the puzzle – one running from constricted to open.

Here’s how I picture the two of them together:

Constricted to Open and Drained to Energized

Want the super-nutshell version of how to use this framework? Here it is:

Make choices and take actions that move you toward feeling more energized and more open. Spend as much time as you can in the upper right of this graph.

Couldn’t be simpler, right? Right. Except it’s not a one-and-done approach. It’s something you do every single day.

(And if that feels overwhelming, consider that you are already making choices and taking actions that are sending you in one direction or the other on each of these continuums – this is just about doing it consciously.)

Life in perpetual motion

Your work life is in perpetual motion along both of these continuums.

Sometimes you feel more energized, sometimes more drained. Sometimes you feel more open, other times more constricted. And it happens on multiple time scales.

At a small time scale, you might feel more energized one moment when working on something particularly fun. Another moment you might feel more drained after a donut-induced sugar crash.

One moment you might feel more open as you brainstorm and explore possibilities for achieving a vision that inspires you. Another moment might find you feeling more constricted when that irritating co-worker gets your goat yet again.

On a broader scale, you can feel more energized when you feel like you are doing work you love. Or more drained when you feel like nothing about the work you do makes any real difference.

Similarly, you might feel more constricted if you habitually stress about things, or focus on what’s wrong. And cultivating practices like meditation and mindfulness can help you live more consistently on the open end of the continuum.

Putting it to work

This framework offers you a simple yet effective way to start exploring and making changes, both long-term and in the here-and-now.

Thinking of your life along these two continuums allows you to do a simple check-in, followed by a look at action you can take. You can ask:

  • Where am I on each of those continuums?
  • What would allow me to move in the direction of more energized?
  • What would help me move towards more open?”

You can do that in the big picture, shaping the trajectory of your career towards work that energizes you and cultivating practices (like meditation or mindfulness) that help you feel less constricted and more open.

You can also do it on a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment basis. Make a habit of checking in with yourself on a daily basis and asking where you are on each of those continuums. Follow that up by asking how you could move more towards energized and/or open.

How it improves your career (and your life)

This simple way of looking at things offers a framework that can change your career and your life for the better in multiple ways. It can:

Improve your quality of life

When you are more energized and more open, life feels better. Simple as that.

Energize your success

When you feel more energized, you have more to put into whatever you do. And when you align what you do with what naturally energizes you, it creates an energy loop where what you do gives you energy that you can in turn put back into what you do.

Create space for your success

The less constricted and more open you are, the more space there is for your success to unfold.

Imagine letting go of a constricting factor like habitual worry. What impact would that have? What might that worry be keeping you from? What new opportunities might you be open to in the space that creates? How might you be able to perform better?

Help you have a greater impact on the world

Moving towards the energized and open ends of the continuums increases your ability to have an impact on the world. This runs the full range from the impact you have moment to moment on the people around you to a greater ability to breathe life into your goals and visions.

If you want to make the most of what life has to offer, tap into what energizes you and give that energy space to flow. You’ll enjoy life more. You’ll achieve more. And you’ll have a greater impact on the world around you.

[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

4 steps to feel more energized and alive at work

fireworks happy new year 2016

Happy New Year!

To start the year off, I want to share a simple four-step approach to feeling more energized and alive at work in the year to come.

Step One

On a scale of 1 – 10, rate how energized and alive you feel at work.

Step Two

Ask yourself, “What could I do to increase that rating?”

Don’t just think about the big leap changes (like how to increase the rating from a 4 to a 9). One of the ways people keep themselves stuck is thinking solely in terms of home run solutions.

The cumulative impact of small positive changes over time can make a surprisingly big difference. So ask yourself as well, “How could I bump this rating up a point?”

Think of the changes you can make in these three time scales:

What can I do right now?

Are there any easy, immediately implementable changes you can make right now? For example, if you feel disjointed because you are always pulled hither and thither at work, could you block out a regular time for a meeting with yourself? A time to reflect, focus, and plan?

What can I do in the medium term?

What positive changes can you set in motion that would take some time to work towards? An example of this might be aiming to take on a new role in your job that would require you to learn new skills.

What can I do in the long term?

Here’s where the home run thinking comes in. Look at your career in the big picture. Where do you want it to go? Are you on the right track? If not, what does the right track look like? Explore what your long-term vision is for your career. Then start looking at the immediate, medium-term, and long-term steps you can take to get you there.
The very fact that you are consciously moving towards an objective that inspires you can be energizing.

Step Three

Ask yourself, “What could I change about myself that would bump that rating up?”

When we think about “career passion,” we tend to think in external terms. The work we do. The goals we’re inspired by.

But the internal picture is a vital component as well. For example, you can have the best job in the world, but if you are so habitually stressed that you can barely see straight, the degree to which you can feel energized by your work is limited.

Some examples of “self changes” include:

• Developing a meditation practice.
• Exploring mindfulness.
• Eating a healthier and more energizing diet.
• Staying well hydrated (this is one of the easiest and least acknowledged ways to feel better that I know of).
• Questioning and changing your negative stories. Is there another interpretation of an experience that might be equally true, more positive, and have less of a negative impact on how you feel?
• Something as simple as pausing a few times throughout your day to focus on your breath for 60 seconds.

In my own life, my big area of focus right now is on what I eat. The better I eat, the more energy I have in my day, the more focused I feel, and the more I enjoy my work. It has a huge impact both on how energized I feel and how well my brain works.

The more you can cultivate a solid internal foundation, the more inner stability you have. The more inner stability you have, the bigger the emotional buffer you have for when things go sideways, and the more ability you have to fully engage and enjoy what’s going right.

Step Four

Focus on one thing per month.

Pick one external change and one internal change, and focus on each of those for one month. When February comes, do that again. Same with March. And Apr…well, you get the idea.

Make the beginning of each month the opportunity for a “New Month’s Resolution.” Not only does this make it more bite-sized and manageable (while still being big enough to have an impact), it builds in regular check points to help bring your focus back to positive change if you have wandered.

So there you have it. Four steps to make the most out of 2016. Good luck!

[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