“Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”

We are often given this advice or offer it to people close to us. We soon realize that is not always the case and quitting is never an option. The truth is you are right, quitting is not the answer. Jobs are like relationships, you need to re-ignite the spark now and again.

Remember how exciting it was when you first fell in love? Your heart did somersaults every time you met the one you loved. The two of you sat up talking all night. And you always seemed to have so much energy. The thrill of falling in love is wonderful. Soon enough, of course, reality set in, and you had to start working to make the relationship succeed.

Your job is similar; just like in the early throes of dating, you found every interaction exciting. Even the Monday morning staff meeting! Your beloved could do no wrong. But then, something happens. After a few years, you start to wake up every morning wondering “Really? Is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?” So, how do you find the passion that can fuel you through your souring love affair?

Fulfillment at work is often a matter of perspective, not place. The key is to channel your perspective towards your current passion. Connect your work to a larger personal goal. This will help to avoid procrastination and laziness. Linking your personal goals to your work tasks will motivate you to overcome work obstacles because the reasons are beyond a salary. It is an effective way to bring meaning to your job once again.

Research shows that the more we employ our natural talents, the more likely we are to be happier at work and more engaged. Query your co-workers or a manager if there is particular task that meets your talent or strength.  For example, if you derive energy from presenting your ideas in public, seek out those opportunities at work, even if they are outside the scope of your current role. If you are an introverted type that prefers detail-oriented, self-directed projects, ask to see if that kind of work is available to take on (or provide assistance on). Utilizing your strength/ talent will provide you with excitement that your current job description lacks.

Jobs often become boring when you get used to your roles and there is nothing new to learn. The secret to finding fulfillment is growth. Take time to reflect on your past jobs and think about your future.  Draw up a ‘Career Journey Map’ which is a perfect way to uncover insights and trends. You will then find it easy to determine the direction of your career.

Drawing up a Career Journey Map

Grab a large piece of paper and draw a horizontal line at the center. Write “My first job” on the left side of the line and “my current job” at the right side of it. Now write down what happened on each of the ‘highs’ and ‘lows.’ Focus more on the event that precipitated those positive or negative emotions, rather than on the job you had.

Draw a curve that captures the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ throughout your working life (the line at the center being ‘neutral’). Don’t over think it. Don’t write anything yet, just draw the curve. Be intentional with the curve. Its shape needs to capture your worst and best feelings. Reflect on your findings. Find a partner to discuss your journey and help you uncover more insights (and to challenge yours). This exercise will help you reveal what you love and what you do not love. That is the foundation to start exploring what is next.

Based on Research from various career experts…


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