Does this sound familiar?
You don’t really care that you just signed a new client. The thought of going to work each day is a drain. The “chase” isn’t lighting you up at the moment. You’d rather be anywhere than at work.
If our jobs are like a TV show, this would be season 3…slow, a bit boring, waiting for something good to happen. We all go through these phases in our jobs; it’s natural. Instead of sinking deeper into a slump, you can do something about it.
I’ve been there, in my past job and as a business owner and I’ll be the first to say it: it sucks. If you’re a make-things-happen type it’s especially frustrating as you’re sitting there waiting for things to change. No thanks!
I decided to try out this experiment, first using myself as a guinea pig and then I had a few clients try it as well. It worked so I’m sharing it with you!
Here’s my quick fix for instantly finding engagement at work:
Take Up a Cause
What gets you riled up? What do you wish were different? What do you care about?
Taking up a cause, championing something you actually care about, can connect you almost instantly to your work. Don’t believe me? Try it!
When thinking of something that matters to you, start with your day to day life. What’s frustrating? This may be the way your department meetings are run, the conference call provider you use, or the summer work hours policy (or lack thereof). For this idea to work, the cause doesn’t have to be life-changing, it just has to improve things.
If you can’t think of something close to home, consider backing a charity. What charity or cause are you interested in?
Charitable giving is a priority for many companies but if yours already has it’s charities assigned, go it alone.
Find something you actually care about and make it your “thing.” Do your research, talk to people, set up meetings.
This article, How Giving Makes Us Happy discusses a study that shows “that donors feel happiest if they give to a charity via a friend, relative or social connection rather than simply making an anonymous donation to a worthy cause.”
A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit disengaged with my work and I decided to donate to a race my friend was racing in that raised money for cancer research (she has a guinea pig, read on for more on that). Check it out here, they’re doing it again next year!
It had nothing to do with my work and the only person that knew I was donating were the 2 of us; it worked and I instantly felt energized.
Get involved with a cause however you can. Working towards something you care about is an instant mood booster. It gives us purpose and direction when we’re feeling directionless.
Champion Someone Else
If you don’t have a cause that interests you or you just don’t have the time, you can still make a difference by finding someone to champion.
Maybe this is through a mentor relationship, or maybe it’s a co-worker or member of your staff who can use a little attention. The time and energy you expend on that person is a way of investing in them and showing them you care.
Whatever you choose, giving your expertise for the benefit of others can change how you feel about yourself and your work.
If you don’t have time to help someone out, you may choose to shine the spotlight on someone who’s been working hard or who can use some cheerleading. This works every time.
I had a client test it out. She decided to let her boss know how hard her team’s assistant was working. She gave her a simple review in an email. The result: Her boss was impressed with her noticing and supporting her staff (bonus points!), her assistant was surprised and thrilled, and she felt great about giving unsolicited positive feedback.
I believe when we express positivity, we can call more positivity into our lives. Sounds cheesy but try it and tell me it doesn’t work!
It’s your job to find engagement in your day to day life and giving of yourself in even the smallest ways can be all it takes.
Now it’s your turn. What have you done to “get back into things” at work? What’s helped you feel more engaged? Let me know in the comments below!
Can’t think of anything? Riddle me this:
Speaking of guinea pigs, what’s the general consensus on them? I just learned my friend Alison (the one who raced for charity) has a guinea pig named Pearl. I’ll be honest, I wanted to hate her (the GP, not the friend) because she’s a sick little rodent but I couldn’t…she’s so cute AND her name’s Pearl. What do you think?
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