Your commute is over. You plop down at your desk and fire up the computer.
How’s it feel?
Seriously, which thought tends to kick off your day:
“Here we go – back at the ol’ grindstone.”
“Here we go – this should be a great day!”
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those obnoxious motivational people. You know who I’m talking about – If you cut off his arm he talks about how pretty the red blood is!
What I am is a guy who observes people.
I see many with a “spark in their eye” month after month. For others, the spark fades and what is left behind is a dull sense of resolution. They walk around with a “it is what it is…” look.
So what makes the difference? Why does anyone choose to glaze over and let the spark slip out of his or her working life?
Based on my experience, there are three key consistent contributors to “spark-less” eyes. It happens when you:
- Stop Caring
- Stop Trying
- Stop Dreaming
Let’s examine each and see if one is after your sparkle:
- Stop Caring: These people literally stop giving a damn. There could be many contributors: tired of feeling unappreciated; too many perceived injustices at the hands of others; no sense of purpose; don’t respect his/her boss; unable to see how his/her effort impact the greater good. Whatever the source, they decide to take their heart out of the game.
- Stop Trying: These people put it on cruise control. They do just enough to stay out of trouble and not an ounce more. Again, there could be many contributing factors: fear of failure, risk adverse, cynicism creeps in to their attitude, or the classic – “why should I work hard when no one else is?” Regardless of the source, the effort isn’t there. They log time, not accomplishments.
- Stop Dreaming: For me, this is the saddest reason. These people forget their dreams and visions. They lost sight of the golden ring they pursued in the early days of their career. Work is now just “going through the motions.” There is not a target that beckons or a desired future state that pulls and tugs.
So, what do you think?
Did any of these three “spark-killers” resonate with you? Are you guilty of slipping out of the driver seat and into the back seat when it comes to your career?
Don’t let another year go by without being passionate about your career. Make the change necessary to get the sparkle back and keep it.
Do the Work:
- Commit to getting the sparkle back. Make a contract with yourself to not work without high satisfaction.
- Determine the amount of change needed to get where you want to be. Pick one of these three levels:
- More of the Same – you enjoy what you do, but need a different situation or circumstance within which to do it.
- Rudder Kick – you are generally satisfied, but could benefit from a little variation or change. Finding something to bolt-on to your role or a different environment could work fine.
- Re-Invent – you need a fresh start and a notable change – you are ready for something very new and different.
- Identify the amount of time you have to change. This sets your clock and sense of urgency:
- No Rush – you can be quite reflective – you have 2 to 3 years to get where you want to be.
- Not Happy, but Okay – you would like to see something sooner, not later – but there is no crisis. You have 1 to 2 years to get there.
- Critical – you waited too long and feel like you are sinking – you need something very soon.
- Integrate your answer to #2 and #3 – identify the amount of change needed and the time frame you have to do it. Create the sense of urgency and perspective.
- Build a plan – tap into your resolve and write down what you need to do to get where you want to be.
- Find a friend or coach to support you (and kick you in the ass). Work the plan.
You spend more time at work than you do at home. There is no excuse for not loving it – get where you need to be and start to sparkle again!