“Fall in Love” February: Fall In Love With Your Work!

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We’re continuing with February as “Fall in Love” month!

Week III- Fall in love with your work

“If you’re not having fun, you’re not either doing the right thing, or doing the thing right!”

I heard this quote a long time ago, and I think of it often, especially when I’m exceedingly cranky during my workday. It’s rarely a question of doing the right thing because basically I love my work. If tomorrow I won the lottery, I’d do exactly what I’m doing-being a speaker, coach, trainer and writer. So I have to look at the 2nd scenario, doing the thing “right.” It may be an attitude of impatience because things aren’t happening fast enough for my taste, or technological challenges, because my heel marks, albeit lighter than the years before, still remain ingrained. Or perhaps, I’m going the “Loan Ranger Route” doing too much in isolation.

So let’s look at both scenarios and see what you can do to fall back in love with your work.

Scenario 1- Not doing the right thing

It happens. Sometimes work that used to speak to you no longer does, or you have never found work or a career that you’re passionate about. What to do?

1) Start a career exploration- It may look like asking people who know you what you provide for them? What do they go to you for? Our answers are often in our communities. Ask yourself when you feel most alive and in the zone and start taking notes to see the parallel passions and skill sets that may be totally translatable to another field.

I met a woman at a bridal shower who went from being a research scientist to designing beautiful wedding cakes. As we started talking about the process of doing both, we both started laughing at how nuclear science prepped her for the cake design business; formulas, experimentation, ratio of ingredients/components, etc. No wonder it came so easy to her. Most of the time, a big portion of your skill set and talents are totally translatable to some seemingly disparate career. We not only have recurring passions and desires but themes that we need to express in our lives. There’s rarely just one career that can help you do that.

Working with a coach is a great way to “listen between the words” to identify what those themes are. Lastly, when you’re in a transition work at embracing what your current work does provide you with and look at filling other needs outside your work. In this way, you will be in a stronger position and have more fortitude to look for another position or profession.

Scenario- 2- You are not doing the thing right

You like or even love what you do but there’s lots of fine-tuning you can do to fall back in love with your work. I’ve come to realize that my crankiness is a wonderful, albeit not pleasant gift. A “gift” that most days I’d rather return to customer service but I keep in my possession because it teaches me so much.

There are things I need to do every day so that I fall in love with my work. Here are the common complaints I deal with in my own work, but also with others, especially solo-preneurs:

Contact with people- If you’re a people person, make sure to spend at least part of your day with people! That may mean business lunches, plans after work, fun social activities. Your actual work will probably need to be people-centric for you to be happy.

Create a Team- Isolation is the soul crusher of the solo-preneur. Have a team. Whoever it is, maybe it’s your website designer, fellow referral angels, a virtual assistant, a few core networking groups. It’s a must. Ask for help and support on a regular basis.

Create a beginning, middle, and end to your day- This is a must! You’ve got to find ways to disengage with your work, and develop other areas of your life. Your work is not supposed to provide everything. One colleague of mine takes 30 minutes at the end of her work day to complete her work. She reviews the day, ties up loose ends and prepares all the documentation she needed (plus cleaned up her desk) before leaving for the day. She also had her top three tasks for the day set up, so when she came in, she hit the ground running. This strategy alone fueled her focus and dissipated her distraction factor. By creating a clear end to her day, she could shift into her non-work mode. It became so apparent that on nights when she neglected to do that, her husband would tease her and say, “Where’s my wife, you kidnapped her!” and they would laugh.

Fire Yourself Regularly!- Debbie Bifulco, one of my favorite people, a terrific trainer, talks about “firing yourself” regularly. If it’s not a good use of your time, or the learning curve to get there doesn’t benefit the bottom line of what you are moving towards, get someone else to do it. I laugh when people tell me about these ready-made plug and play websites. They go on to say that I can “just put together in no time flat” which for other tech loving, design savvy enthusiasts is a no-brainer, but for me, it’s a total brain-drainer!

Watch out for your DNA for Distraction-Watch out for distractions (email, net surfing) they can lead to extending your workday and sitting with that lingering feeling that you didn’t accomplish what you needed to. I have a colleague that on her signature stamp, states that she only answers e-mail twice a day, and to contact her via phone if you need to reach her between those times, only if it’s urgent.

Stay connected with why you’re doing what you’re doing-This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind. If we are not connected with why we are doing what we are doing, life becomes a giant “things to do list” with no end in sight. Whether it’s returning to your purpose, mission statement, what your work provides for both you and your family, it doesn’t matter. You just need to stay connected with where the juice is for you. If I make a call with the hopes that “someone will hire me to speak,” I’m sunk. If I make a call from the goal of learning about the goals and needs of my clients and groups and how I can help them further those goals and actually support them in having fun while doing it, that’s an entirely different conversation.

Want to move from Soul Crushing to Soul Enhancing practices for the Solo-Preneour (or even if you have a staff position)? Tune in on March 8th!

Feel free to offer some suggestions that support you in falling in love with your work! Or pass on to someone else who just may benefit from this.