We all start our careers with optimism, zeal and energy; feeling genuinely excited about our future. However for many of us, it gets harder and harder to hold on to that initial feeling of enthusiasm and over time the passion fizzles out. It might be a result of stress, increasing workload or the work environment itself, but as time goes by it becomes easy to forget the things that matter to us, and what got us into doing what we do in the first place.
So how do you keep feeling inspired and infuse passion back into your career?
One way to rediscover your passion is remembering what got you into doing what you are doing now in the first place. Think about which aspects of your job you truly enjoy; perhaps it’s meeting new people, closing business deals, travelling to other countries or having the freedom to exercise your creativity.
Once you’ve identified what really matters to you, take pride in what you love doing and pursue it relentlessly. If your current job does not allow you to do that, it might be time to find an organisation or environment that does so that you can thrive and make a career out of the things you love to do.
People who constantly seek to impact others through their work often retain a high level of passion in what they do. Athletes and other sports professionals aim for nothing less than the world title or record to do their country proud. Journalists risk their lives constantly to report what the world needs to know. Teachers go to great lengths to motivate and inspire their students, sometimes giving more of themselves than the job actually requires.
Striving to make a difference and viewing their work as a personal contribution to something greater is how people manage to do the same thing over and over again and still be as passionate about their work as they have been since day one. They look to effect a positive and significant change either in themselves, in others, for the company they work for or for the world at large. If you want more meaning in your job, you might want to explore how you can transform your passion into passion for others; how you can impact your environment or the people around you.
Many people feel stuck in their careers because they are not learning anything new. When you are constantly on a quest for more knowledge to improve yourself, it expands your horizons greatly and keeps you from feeling stagnant and bored. One of the ways to keep the motivational flame burning is to constantly fuel it with ideas, information and news relevant to your work.
There's always something more to learn, or something that you can strive to do much better than your peers or your competitors. Identify the areas in which others are doing better than you, and make it your mission to outperform them. Do regular research, read voraciously, ask probing questions, jot down every idea that comes your way, benchmark the successful people whom you admire and network selectively. Incorporate continuous learning as an integral part of your job, and develop an insatiable curiosity and appetite for anything and anyone that is relevant to your line of work.
There is something stimulating about talking to others in the same industry/job who are passionate about their work and hearing about their experiences first-hand. You may be surprised at the amount of positive energy you can get from being with people who share the same dreams, hobbies or passion as you do; the excitement they exude when they talk about their work can be highly inspiring and extremely contagious. In the process of networking with these people, not only will their upbeat attitude rub-off on you, you will also be exposed to more possibilities through sharing, collaborating and participating in similar industry events and activities.
You should also surround yourself with what we call the 'newly passionate', people who are new to the job and brimming with fresh confidence and pride in their work. Their relentless pursuit of success and learning will serve as a strong reminder of how ardent you used to be when you first got into the job, and may help inject a fresh perspective into your work. You can also continue to maintain a high level of energy and passion not only through learning from them, but also by teaching, coaching, mentoring and sharing with them what you know.
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