Plug that Power Leak!

Time has a way of moving on with or without us. Whether we spend this week making a difference or not – next week will be here istock power outletin exactly 7 days. Consider for a minute how you are approaching the time you have each week to do the work you currently do. Are you positive, excited and focused? Or are you coasting through the week eagerly waiting for the weekend when you can “have some time for yourself?” If the answer is the latter, then you may have a serious power leak this Monday morning that needs to be plugged!

First of all, why are you spending 5 days focusing on living for the weekend in the first place? Many people approach Monday each week like it’s an “out of body” experience. It’s almost as if we live in our happy worlds from Friday night to Sunday night engaging in activities that please us and have meaning – then we exit this world on Monday morning and check-in to some misery that we need to survive for 5 days until we can get back to happiness. If this is how you find yourself feeling this Monday morning then the question is not “how to get through” the week – the question is “how to more find joy and purpose” in your life every day. Remember – there are a lot more days between Monday and Friday than there are Saturdays and Sundays. If you don’t change your perspective you will spend about 71% of the entire year pining for about two days a week which only represent 29%. That’s just crazy. Not only is it crazy, it’s a total waste of all that you have to offer in the time that makes up your precious life.

Secondly, what does this limited view of life actually do to bring quality to your efforts during the week? Not much is the answer. If you are robotic and going through the motions of your work during the week then you are probably not very engaged. If this is true, then there are probably other signs of this energy drain such as:

• Procrastination
• Boredom
• Anger and Irritation
• Depression
• Poor Time Management
• Avoidance

These are not things that can be solved with great time management or efficiency tips. So what can you do? The answer is not “quit your job” this afternoon. The answer is “find your job” this morning before you waste another minute. Here are some questions to get you re-engaged:

1. What did it feel like the day you found out that you aced your interview and got this job?
2. Why did that make you so happy?
3. When you wanted this job, what was it that you hoped to bring to it?
4. Has the job really changed that much or have you?

Just taking a step back to re-evaluate takes us out of “coasting” mode and challenges us to identify for ourselves how we have become disconnected from the work that we do. It also forces us to reconsider the common idea that hating our jobs is normal. Who the heck started that rumor anyway? Remember that there are a lot of beliefs and attitudes in popular culture that don’t have to define you – – unless you want them to. Remember, you have the power to make your life reflect the best you have to offer.

So where could this internal examination take you? Perhaps just taking a moment to ask and answer these questions will begin to lead you back to finding some of the joy that you have lost. Here are some additional questions to consider and ways to take yourself to a new level of engagement in your work:

What can you do in your current job to re-connect with the work that brings you joy? This may not even mean a job change but instead a re-allocation of your time in your current job. Does it mean more client engagement? Does it mean less client engagement and more research and policy work? Are you actually using your best gifts? If not, how can you start?

Is the joy you want at the next level in your career progression? Maybe you have outgrown your current job. It’s possible that your dissatisfaction is coming from a need for more challenge. Perhaps what you really long for is an opportunity to have a bigger impact in your organization or your industry. This insight may mean that it’s time to explore promotion opportunities. It may also mean that it’s time to look outside of your current job, company or industry for an opportunity to advance.

Remember that study after study has shown that positive engagement in work has less to do with money and more to do with having many of our emotional need met in our work. Feeling joy at bringing your best gifts and skills to help others is extremely important. Feeling rewarded or recognized for the important contribution that you make is just as important as a steady paycheck. While physical survival (i.e., paying the bills) will always be a big part of why we work, remember that there are many ways to make a living. You have the power to choose whether you make this living doing fulfilling work that you love or suffering through work that you hate.

At the end of the day, the mortgage company really doesn’t care where or how your money was generated ……but you sure as heck should!

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