We all have times in our careers when we are driven by excitement and passion, and we all have times when work becomes a little more mundane. What is it that makes the difference?
All of us can admit to feeling the ebb and flow of this spectrum. When we took our first steps out of college campuses and into our first gigs, our new careers were (somewhat frightening) combinations of lack of experience and fearless desire to change the world. A few years into it though, and maybe the world isn’t much better yet for all the experience we’ve put in. Or maybe the day-in and day-out is getting under our skin a bit. Certain projects bring back the twinge of excitement we felt at first. Others may not. This is fine so long as they balance each other out.
However, if the “other” types of projects are winning the battle and leaving you feeling a little burnt out, we have a question for you. This question has helped me during these times.
Do you believe in what you do?
This isn’t the type of question you ask yourself when you have 30 seconds or so to think about it. It’s a gloves-off type of question between you and your heart. Between you and your young self who dreamed the dreams that resulted in where you are today.
If you answered yes, take the time to list the reasons why. There’s something about recalling the positive things that can multiply the goodness. Write them down somewhere, or better yet, put it on a post it note by your desk to remind you the next time a project comes along that might leave you otherwise wondering. Don’t you feel refreshed?
If you answered no, list the reasons why not. What has happened since you first dreamed about this career that has derailed your trajectory a bit? Do they involve your current responsibilities? Your hours? Or is it your attitude? Are there ways to change these specific things? Consider why you went into this field in the first place. How can you make those dreams become a reality in your current job? Most of the time, it’s possible to work with your employees or employer to tweak your situation enough to make the difference.
But there’s one more thing. It’s that word believe. When a person truly believes in something, he or she is so convinced of its truth or worth that it changes how he or she lives. Believing drives a person to bigger and better things. Believing is also a choice. Just because something is true doesn’t force a person to believe in it. Your work could be making a difference, or have the capability to, but if you don’t believe that, it will suck the excitement out of your day and the joy out of your work.
Now, granted, not every job is going to give you the ability to change the world. Actually, not many jobs do. However, your work does give you the opportunity to made a difference in your own world, and in the lives of those in your community. Believing in what you do is your choice, and it starts with your perspective. It starts from the inside, remembering that you’re doing what you’re made to do. It isn’t measured by your output, but by the amount of heart you put into what you produce. So no matter if you work in-house, out of your own house, or at huge firm – your opportunity is the same. And it starts with believing.
So, do you believe in what you do?