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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:

How To Instantly Find 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!

Start here:

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!

Don’t wait for the world to change your mood; choose to change it yourself.  (tweet that)

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? 

Guinea Pig

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 Anne Omland is a career development expert and mentor. She uses her years of experience as a VP for a Fortune 500 company to share all she knows from the “other side” of the table. Her mission is to help ambitious women create corporate careers that are sustainable, mindful and purposeful. Seen as a career stylist, she can help you customize your career to fit your lifestyle perfectly. Click here to inquire about working with Anne. 
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Leave a Comment

  • Alison August 5, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Thanks again for your donation to our ride, Anne! I love the article, and definitely appreciate the Pearl shout-out.

    • Anne Omland August 5, 2014, 7:44 pm

      I think we can all agree, Pearl’s the real star here. x

  • your Father August 5, 2014, 5:44 pm

    Hey, where do you come up with this stuff? It’s (not its) fresh, funny, informative and worthwhile. Not cheesy, but attitudinal in the right way! Love, you Annethon, keep it up!

    • Anne Omland August 5, 2014, 7:45 pm

      Thanks Dad! I’m just happy I can still impress you after all these years…

    • Theressa August 6, 2014, 12:59 am

      Awww, this is so sweet Anne’s Dad! I need to get my Dad on board 😀

  • Marie Overfors August 5, 2014, 7:05 pm

    What helps me feel more engaged: To remember that I’m doing my work because I’m passionate about helping people (especially women) feel great about themselves–physically, mentally, spiritually. And knowing that I love to coax out smiles and laughter.

    Great post!

    • Anne Omland August 5, 2014, 7:44 pm

      This is awesome! Reminding yourself of what you’re doing and the difference you’re making…yep, that should do it! Thanks for sharing, Marie!

  • Mike Goncalves August 5, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Another excellent post Anne, thanks! Two great suggestions for feeling more engaged at work. I personally enjoy championing someone else and absolutely believe that positivity breeds more positivity. I don’t think that’s cheesy at all, I think it’s quite true. As far as the guinea pig goes, while it’s not for me, it certainly is a cute little thing. :) Cheers!

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 6:01 pm

      Ha! I’m with you Mike.

      And I agree- even as an entrepreneur, when I’m feeling disconnected to my work and I stop to support someone else, I feel instantly more energized in my own work. Thanks for your support!

  • Christine August 5, 2014, 8:46 pm

    This was the perfect message that I needed to hear today – thank you Anne!

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 6:02 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that Christine! x

  • Theressa August 6, 2014, 1:24 am

    Spot on Anne! I’m a HUGE advocate for taking up a cause!
    Recently I went through a bit of a transition – well, a huge transition actually. As a web designer I’ve always wondered how my work could be more…meaningful – you know, the life changing kind.

    And I finally found it by sheer chance. A few months back I decided that I was going to start playing big and came up with a crazy mission to transform the lives of one million bootstrapping entrepreneurs through my work. The question really was, how? You see, I’d been talking (ok, I was just thinking) about this DIY Web Design program for 3 years! I never did anything about it. But once I committed to this mission I was more inspired than ever!

    I kid you not, in less than a week, I had drawn up the outline for the program, created a membership site and found 8 beta testers for this new program. And on the 2nd week of my mission I released the first module – inspired action!

    We’re 2 months down the track now and we have a gorgeous tribe of newcomers to the program – change makers who will eventually go off and transform the lives of others – I like to think of it as ‘the butterfly effect’ – a small action that has the potential to change the world!

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 6:05 pm

      That is so awesome, Theressa! I love your mission and I love the momentum that came from declaring it. It’s amazing the results that came from that. Anyone else inspired just reading that??

      I’d love to spread the word for your cause because I think it’s such a great one.

      Thanks for being here!

  • Llyane @FrenchOnSkype August 6, 2014, 1:43 am

    The mood, yes, we can change it, but we are social animals, so we’ll play the music that sings in our immediate world, OR we can choose to find the environment that we want to have around. Sure we can change the world around us to a certain extent, but it’s best to find the people that sing the same song as us 😉

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 5:57 pm

      That’s beautifully stated, Llyane. You’re right. Those around us really make a big difference. Thanks for being here!

  • Cat LeBlanc August 6, 2014, 2:05 am

    I have to say I struggled with feeling engaged at work for years. In the end the world of work wasn’t for me and I moved into business but I think there is a lot that can be done for women that are more career-oriented than I was. Great tips! Also, I love guinea pigs! I had 2 called Leonard und Friedrich. They were German guinea pigs :-)

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 5:51 pm

      Thanks, Cat! The corporate world isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure.

      OMG your guinea pigs’ names. I’m dying!

  • Jennifer August 6, 2014, 2:18 am

    Great tips! I stay engaged at work by making a difference. I’ve never worked at a place just to collect the paycheck at the end of the week because it makes the job boring. I take it upon myself to make a difference in each scenario. It sometimes makes me a bit too aggressive but I like knowing things changed for the better because I cared to make a change.

    Cool dad!

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 5:49 pm

      Thanks Jennifer! You have THE perfect mindset- I admire it.

      And yeah, I like him 😉

  • Beth August 6, 2014, 3:25 am

    When I feel like work is getting stagnant, I usually take the opportunity to learn a new skill. The last time this happened I ended up getting a graduate certificate in eLearning and then using the new skills to make tutorials for our software products. That kept me motivated for a long time.

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 5:48 pm

      That’s awesome! That has to help you feel like you have some control. Thanks Beth!

  • Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin August 6, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Great post Anne! Love it! Some fantastic advice for all of us.

    (and your dad’s post is beyond awesome).

    • Anne Omland August 6, 2014, 5:46 pm

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I appreciate your support.

      It’s true…it is awesome. Especially since he filled in ‘your father’ for the name.

  • Sabrina Bolin August 7, 2014, 12:33 am

    Yep, I have to agree – when the energy gets stuck, GIVING almost always makes a difference in the way I feel about what I do! That’s why I offer scholarships for free sessions every once in awhile – I get to connnect with my Tribe more deeply while providing something super valuable to them at the same time!

    Thanks for this reminder, Anne :).

    • Anne Omland August 12, 2014, 5:52 pm

      That’s a great idea, Sabrina. Thanks for your support!

  • april August 9, 2014, 3:49 am

    love love love this: “Don’t wait for the world to change your mood; choose to change it yourself.” (tweeted!) and i also adore the comment from your dad (and his user name). thanks, anne!

    • Anne Omland August 12, 2014, 5:51 pm

      Haha! Thanks April!

  • Camesha August 10, 2014, 5:14 am

    These are all great tips for getting back into the swing of things at work. I’ve definitely been in that work funk before. Not fun.

    The GP is super cute. My son has tried to convince me to get one. :)

    • Anne Omland August 12, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Thanks Camesha!

  • April August 10, 2014, 8:25 pm

    Great post as always Anne! I agree with every single tip you gave, and they came at just the right time. I find myself feeling a tad bored, and you reminded me just how to get out of the funk! Thank you!! (and the guinea pig is adorable!!) :)

    • Anne Omland August 12, 2014, 5:49 pm

      Thanks so much, April! I’m happy to hear it helped. x

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