Your work is yours. You signed up for it for better or worse and you agreed to be there right now. So let’s make the best of it. Instead of letting it eat all of your energy dragging you through the muddy dreariness of meeting their expectations in their words and their descriptions, let’s re-frame your role to see how you can find meaning and motivation.
Everyone knows the feeling of leaving the office at 5:30 pm feeling absolutely whipped, like you ran all day long with a jockey on your back telling you the finish line was so close, and yet it never seemed to get there until you shut down, shut off and just left. You also know the feeling of flying at work, when interactions were actually life-giving. You smiled at strangers, laughed in the middle of the day, talked to yourself (nicely!) even your liver felt like it was smiling. When the day was done, you were energized and surprised that it was already quitting time.
What is the difference? We don’t always see eye to eye with our job’s requirements. Whether it is an office or parenting, the day can go either way. Bath time and reading time sometimes just cannot finish soon enough (like baby diarrhea leaking out of diaper onto my shirt at a restaurant while out with friends, my toddler screaming out the window to the neighbors during nap time, shoe-less daughter upon our arrival to preschool 3 days in a row, or the 2 am call from police about a son’s arrest*…those times are HARD, and don’t feel life affirming). The days blur into a string of checking off boxes, tucking into bed, folding towels, “just getting through it” until I can sit on my couch and watch Sheriff Longmire on Netflix really change the world!
“Just getting through it” is exhausting. When I constantly have to pull and push at my emotions and motivations, like saltwater taffy making, into acceptable expected behaviors, I am tired. I binge on pizza, chips, TV, vodka, sleep, my novel, whatever. I numb out. But I don’t want to numb out and tough my way through it any more. I want to be present and motivated and energized by my career. Do I need to quit my job? Do I need to go back to school to get a counseling degree? Nope.
I am going to peel back the onion on my favorite activities, do the personality tests, talk to someone close who knows what I look like when I am happy and excited and satisfied with my day. So tell me, What thrills you? I happen to take the quiz on Marcus Buckingham’s Standout 2.0 book. There are so many to choose from. Find your strengths and motivations- those make you tick! They energize you!
Maybe your strengths/energizers are:
- Solving a problem
- Teaching a skill
- Creating something new
- Caring for someone’s needs
- Giving your time or resources
- Intuitively seeing solutions
- Connecting with a team or person to solve issues
- Motivating others to action
- Leading the team to the battlefield
Whatever it is, FIND IT.
Breakthrough #15: Apply your strengths/energizers to your responsibilities in a more abstract way. This is less concrete than a job description. These strengths/energizers are your life blood, the oxygen for your heart’s passion.
For example: Dee loves pleasing people, gets a total tickle out of getting something exactly right for them. So she asks lots of questions, and offers lots of options and is very generous with her time to re-do and update. That is how she thinks of her days and how she defines her work. It doesn’t matter what the vehicle is (she happens to be a graphic artist and has to fight computer technology and constantly updating software as well as an overbearing supervisor). But she focuses on the actions she takes to get her energy flow. She focuses on the pleasure she will see in people’s faces when she gets the job just right. That is the energy she brings to her role.
It is a re-frame. More soon. Take care–
*all true, from just 2 little offspring, a well of stories I will tell in another book.