Feel more juice in your job – here’s how!
Let’s say you’ve lost a little bit o’ love for your current work. Maybe what once felt vibrant and energizing has grown stale, or maybe you’re on the wrong path altogether, .
Far too often when people’s careers start to get a little uninspired, they do one of two things. They either go into “grit your teeth and suck it up” mode (after all, work IS a four-letter word, right?), or they do a swan-dive out of the frying pan into the fire by making a knee-jerk job change, hoping they can leave that boredom, frustration, and lack of inspiration behind.
But what if you could take steps to add juice to your job, right now, right where you are? Today I’m kicking off a series of posts aimed at helping you do just that.
Below you’ll find several ideas for how to feel more energized in your work. We’ll take a deeper dive into several of them upcoming posts, so stay tuned.
How do you juice up your job? I’m glad you asked! Read on, oh intrepid job juicer…
(I have included links to the posts I wrote expanding each of the ideas below. You might also be interested in the complementary series, How to make your work more meaningful.)
Take the cumulative view
As you begin, remember the goal isn’t to make one broadly sweeping change that will make everything better. The goal is to juice up your job cumulatively, benefiting from the sum total effect of a bucketload of smaller changes.
Do an energy audit
First things first – hit the eject button on any broad-brush thinking and get a detailed picture of what is actually happening. No dissatisfaction happens at the broad-brush level. It’s the net effect of a bunch of smaller things, some negative, some positive.
Before you do anything else, take a look at your job and say, “What gives me energy here? What do I enjoy?” and “What drains my energy here? What do I dislike?” The more detailed your understanding of what’s actually happening, the more potential you have to make choices and changes that will energize your work.
[A good place to start is the post Energize your career with the Gain-to-Drain Ratio.]
Identify your energizers
This one will take some self-exploration, but it’s worth it! What are the underlying themes that tend to be present when you’re on fire? Put another way, why do you love what you love? When you feel most in your groove, what is it about what you’re doing that feels so energizing?
As you identify your energizers (for example, exploration and discovery is one of my big energizers), put them all in one place to create a tool that helps you recognize opportunities to bring more of what energizes you into the picture.
[Learn how to identify your energizers at Do you know what your energizers are?]
Change what you do
OK, time to get proactive. The first option is changing what you do. Is there anything that energizes you that you could do more of? Is there anything that drains you that you could do less of?
You’re not going to turn a toad into a unicorn here, but if you can even improve things by 10%, that’s…well, 10% – which is infinitely better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Or a toad, for that matter.
[More on how to approach this at How to energize your work by changing what you do]
Change how you do it
The next area of possibility is changing how you do things to align more closely with what feels energizing and natural for you. Even if the actual content of your work doesn’t change in the slightest, you might still be able to change how you approach it.
The classic example is turning a boring, repetitive task into a game, perhaps seeing how much faster you can get it done from one time to the next, or looking for ways to make it more efficient. Or if you realize you need more time with people than your job affords you, you could instigate “parallel play” time, maybe creating a regular time with a group of co-workers to go to a nearby coffee shop and work, each on your individual projects.
Make it an ongoing habit to constantly explore the question, “how can I approach this so I enjoy it more?”
[Read more on adding juice to your job by changing how you do it.]
Change why you do it
We human critters are wired to want to make a difference. And when it comes to juicing up your job, that’s good news. Spend some time exploring, “Why am I doing this? Who benefits? How?”
You might not discover quite unbeknownst to you that you’re saving the planet, but focusing on the benefits and positive impact of the work you do can help you get out of feeling like an isolated cog and help you see more meaning in your efforts.
[Read more about how a make-a-difference mindset energizes your job.]
Change your perspective
When things are feeling flat or downright unpleasant, it’s easy for what you don’t like to capture all your attention. And that’s nothing but a downward death spiral if you want to feel energized.
In this option, you don’t have to change a thing externally. All you need to do is pull that attention out of the gaping maw of negativity and direct it at the positive. Make it a regular habit to ask, “What’s good here? What am I enjoying?”
The more you consciously focus your attention on what’s good, the more good you experience, the more good you notice, and the less time you spend focusing on the unpleasant.
[Explore how to energize your work by changing your focus.]
Change your story
This one is huge. HUGE, I tell you!
Well, actually, it happens in about six inches of real estate, right between your ears. So perhaps it’s not that big. 😉 But what it lacks in physical size, it more than makes up for in impact.
Seriously, this is probably the most important gift you can give yourself. Learn to recognize your negative, limiting stories about what you’re experiencing, what the future holds, what someone’s actions mean, etc., and consciously shape them into more positive, enhancing stories.
Why is this so powerful? Because the life you see isn’t real. It’s all made up! You experience the world through the lens of your stories – your expectations and assumptions, the meanings you assign things, etc. Changing your story can turn an identical situation into a completely different experience.
Find a vision
Another way to open up space and not feel so compressed and constricted is to put your current situation into a bigger picture context.
To expand your perspective, spend time exploring a big picture vision. In the next ten years, what do you want to accomplish in your career? What difference would you like to make? What inspires you?
Then put your current position in the context of that vision. How can you see it as a step in that direction, rather than a stuck and stale dead end? What steps can you start taking right now towards bringing that vision to life?
[Read more about the benefits of having a vision.]
[Learn how to discover your vision.]
Energize your life
So far everything I have talked about has been work-related but, as I describe in the Wild About Work ecosystem, how you feel at work isn’t just about how you feel at work.
If you want to have as much space as possible to feel energized at work, energize your life as well. Take care of the basics – a healthy diet, exercise, etc. Make a concerted effort to do more of what energizes you in your non-work hours. Consume inspiring and uplifting media, rather than the standard toxic news fare.
You don’t leave the rest of life at the door when you show up for work. You are the same person on the job as you are when you go home. And that means the more energized you feel in life overall, the more energized you have the potential to feel at work.
Stay tuned for a deeper dive into these ideas in the days to come. And as you read the posts, approach them with this question in mind: “What one thing can I do this week to start juicing up my job?” Then do it. Then do it again.
Make juicing up your job an ongoing habit, whether you feel frustrated and stuck or engaged and inspired. The more you do, the more it shapes both your present and the future you live into.
[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