Professional athletes, musicians, and actors are the icons of people who love what they do and get paid to do it. Though the glamour of stardom belies the hard work each of these professionals endures, they are the envy of many who long to ‘live’ their passion through their vocation.
But what if you don’t love what you do? Well, before you give notice and ‘take a hike’, try taking stock first. Read and answer the following five questions and you’ll soon be finding new ways to build more of what you love, back into your life:
1/ What attracted you to the role you’re in now? Chances are it was something beyond just the pay. Was it the chance to make a difference, build a new business, or be part of a team? As Daniel Pink points out in his book Drive, what motivates most people is the chance to contribute, master a skill, or have autonomy. Whatever attracted you at first, there’s a good chance that opportunity is still there. Reflect on what initially drew you to that job then ask yourself:
“What can I do to build more (fill in blank) in my current situation?”
Many organizations are experiencing more change than ever – there might be a special project that appeals to you. Look for a new challenge within your existing organization.
2/ What is one thing you love about your work now? Every job has its tasks, those things we’d rather not have to do. For me that is paperwork like doing my expenses. But what are the pieces you do love to do? I remember feeling disillusioned one time as a manager in a call center that was growing fast. It seemed like I spent my whole day talking with grouchy customers. At times I was thinking ‘I didn’t sign up for this’. But as I thought about what I did love, helping people, I realized that every time an employee came to me, I had an opportunity to coach and develop them in some way and I loved that.
What about you? Perhaps it’s creative problem solving, contributing to the team, or teaching others. Look for where these opportunities exist now and take advantage. By the way – this is not ‘fooling’ yourself into liking your job, it’s appreciating the aspects of the job that are there and you do like.
3/ What’s one thing you could do to add more value? As Dan Baker says in his book ‘What Happy People know’ many people think that more money will make them happy, but in reality, making a difference is more fulfilling. Look for ways you can add more value such as: improving a process, reducing costs, or generating ideas for a new service. You’ll feel better about your contribution, be seen as contributing more value, and more likely to have other opportunities offered to you. As the late Jim Rohn said, ‘instead of wishing your job was better, wish you were better’ – and find a way to add more value.
4/ What is one thing that is most important to you in life? In the hustle bustle of daily life, it’s easy to lose sight of those things that are most important to us. You may love spending time with your family but you’ve been working long hours. Maybe you love being in nature but find yourself behind closed doors scrutinizing budgets, or you used to play music but you’ve let that slide.
As Scott Bristol PhD. says, ‘when we practice our core values (the things most important to us) we experience life as more meaningful, significant, and rewarding.’ For example, let’s say fitness is important to you but you’re too tired to exercise at the end of the day. Exercise in the morning before work or book an appointment in Outlook and go for a walk at lunch. Set aside 1 night a week to pick up that guitar and start playing.
Reflect on something that you love – then slowly build that back into your routine.
5/ What would you like to be doing, or doing more of, 5 years from now? Sometimes our vision of what is possible is limited by our current situation. For example you may be in a role that has no career advancement opportunities in the next year. Think 5 or 10 years out to envision more possibilities. Think about it; in 5 years you could complete a University Degree or earn your Masters. In 10 years you could learn a new language, or build expertise in an area you might never have imagined. Use provocative questions to help you break free from limiting thoughts, like; “If money were no object I’d…”, or “If I could do anything I wanted…”
My older brother has been a musician, managed a book store, and even been a police officer. At age 57 he decided to become a University Professor and started taking courses at night to complete his qualifications. In no time at all, he’ll be using his amazing listening, research, and teaching skills and getting paid to do what he loves.
Once you imagine your ‘ideal future’, ask yourself, what do I need to do to get there?
No doubt there is something you can do in your existing role, to help build the knowledge, skills and attitudes you need to move toward that desired state.
Remember, the more you do what you love, the more you’ll love what you do. Look for ways to build more of your values into your life.
And if you’re feeling stuck, we can help. Give us a call. We’ll listen and explore new possibilities with you. It’s what we do, and we love what we do.
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