It’s not all that common to combine thoughts of “love” and “work”… unless, of course, you’re involved with someone you work with… and while that might be more common, and interesting… that’s not where I’m headed with this!
I’m not a big believer in “passion” when it comes to figuring out how to fix or change your career. But, I do believe there should be “love”… a subtle, but important, difference.
How so? Yes, they’re both strong feelings. However, “passion” is a temporary state, a moment of “feel good”. Whereas, “love” is a more deep-rooted way of living. “Passion” is a moment of excitement, “love” is a consistent feeling that brings warmth and enjoyment.
You see… in your working life, there’s going to be some humdrum. You can’t avoid it… in any career. There will be days where you’re just getting stuff done and nothing much happens. These can be frustrating, and they’re never going to be fun or exciting.
But, when you love and believe in what you do and why you’re doing it… getting through the “un-fun” days become exponentially easier.
Loving what you do is important for your health, wealth and happiness!
So… here’s the thing… when you love what you do, your productivity increases and your performance is naturally boosted. You’re more likely to feel optimistic. You’re more motivated, you make fewer mistakes and your learning capacity increases.
And, if all of those things are enough to sell you on this… studies show when you’re happy at work, you’ll earn more. Haha… now I’ve got your attention, haven’t I?
What I hear time and again from clients is despite being fed up, frustrated and not loving what they do, they’re stuck about making a change because… what if it doesn’t work out and they end up… unhappy!
I get it… I’ve been there myself… it’s one of the biggest mid-career conundrums.
If you’re stuck pondering this, I have a question for you… what would 20-something you have to say about this? Do you remember them… the one with all the dreams and aspirations? How would they feel about you being stuck hating what you’re doing… but doing nothing about it? Are they impressed? Or disappointed?
So, here’s some things to consider to move your career towards a place your younger self will be proud of…
6 practical ways to help you love your career
1. INCREASE YOUR SATISFACTION
Take the time to reflect on when you feel happy or fulfilled at work. Even if, on balance, you don’t love your current career, there will still moments when you feel satisfied. Identify what these are and aim to build more of these moments into your days and weeks. Think about what you enjoy working on and challenge yourself to grow and improve in these areas.
2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
This might seem obvious but often when you don’t love your work, it impacts all other areas of your life – your relationships, your social life and your self care routine. So make sure you build in ample opportunities to prioritise your mental and physical well-being. Exercise, eat well, meditate, catch up with friends, spend time in nature. Making confident decisions about your future becomes easier when you feel good about yourself.
3. FOCUS ON YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
When you’re not loving what you do there’s a tendency to head in one of two directions – over work (and overwhelm!) or foot-off-the-gas (cruise control). Neither is ideal. A quick way to negatively impact your professional reputation is to either spin out of control or look like you’ve checked out. Stay organised, remain connected, focus on your strengths and find opportunities for continuous improvement.
4. REMAIN CURIOUS & THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
When a significant career change feels just too risky sometimes the easiest step to make first is to change what you’re doing within your current organisation. Seek out opportunities to showcase your talents and increase your professional profile. Keep up to date with current trends and developments and volunteer to get involved in new projects or research. You never know when one of these opportunities will lead to exactly the right next step for you.
5. FOSTER YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
This is so important I probably should have put it at number 1! Undertake an audit of who you spend your time with at work. Do these people enhance your work day? Or do they drag you into a spiral of negativity? Watch your language and restrain yourself from constant whinging. And aim to surround yourself with others who are positive, supportive and who encourage your growth and success. If you can’t find these people in your direct vicinity seek them out in other parts of the business.
6. GET BACK TO YOUR “WHY?”
Simon Sinek refers to it as Starting with Why and there’s plenty of other research that supports “purpose” as the essential element at the heart of loving what you do. Reacquaint yourself with what gets you out of bed in the morning? What sends you into work and keeps you motivated even when what you’re doing feels like a grind? This alone can often provide a unique and refreshed perspective on why there might be more to love about the career you have now than you realise.
It’s worth remembering that successful enduring love doesn’t flourish unattended – it requires intention, commitment, and consistent action. Not sure where to get started with learning to love the career you have while you design the career you want? Get in touch, I’d love to help you work it out.