It started out as a tiny flicker of unease. The occasional feeling that something wasn’t quite right. It was gone as quickly as it arrived and so I shook it off, buried it deep and kept moving forward.
Over time, that initial dissatisfaction grew into a sense of pure dread.
I struggled to get up and go to work each day. Felt relieved as the week rolled on and complete anxiety on a Sunday night. I was dreading Monday’s and living for the weekend.
And then I realised — I no longer enjoyed my work and needed to find something more meaningful.
This discovery arrived by the time I’d hit rock bottom. In the depths of burn-out and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.
Since then, I’ve seen many clients and friends experience a similar ‘career crisis’. And noticed it often coincides with a major life obstacle — the loss of a job, relationship or loved one, a health scare or some other challenge. It triggers them to take extreme action — such as quitting their job without a plan or walking away from a successful business before figuring out what to do next.
With Valentine’s Day this month (and about all things love), I started thinking about these individuals who no longer love their work.
This led me to ask. What steps can you take when you’re first starting to ‘fall out of love’ with your work, to avoid ending up in this situation?
Read on to discover how to address those initial feelings of dissatisfaction, so you don’t end up in a ‘crisis situation’ or waiting until you have no choice but to make an extreme change.
You’ll learn 5 actionable steps to improve your job satisfaction and start ‘falling in love’ with your work again!
1 — TRUST THOSE ‘GUT FEELINGS’
The first step is to pay attention to those feelings and acknowledge early on if something’s not quite right.
Trust your gut. Known as our ‘second brain’, our enteric nervous system is made up of hundreds of millions of nerve cells and scientists have found it has a direct link to our brains. Our bodies are a wealth of information and shouldn’t be ignored!
A simple way to tap into this source is to tune into your body and notice your energy. Do you feel expansive or contracted? Liberated or constricted? Excitement or dread?
Don’t ignore those feelings of uneasiness about work. Start by noticing and acknowledging them.
2 — GET TO THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE
The next step is to understand the cause. Consider what’s working and not working in your job or business.
Are there specific tasks in your role that drain you? Certain clients you dread working with? Or particular projects or work in your business that you keep putting off?
First, you want to compile a list of everything that’s working. Focus your attention here and keep doing more of what’s working.
Then, make a note of anything that’s not. How can you make changes or eliminate it all together? Do you need to say no to specific clients or the work you don’t want to do? Whatever it is, write it down.
Understanding the reasons behind your dissatisfaction helps you build awareness of what you want and will inform your decisions moving ahead.
3 — ARE YOU OPERATING IN YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS?
As high performers in our professional roles or businesses, we often struggle to let go. And starting out as a business owner, we’re often required to do everything on our own. The only problem is, often we end up doing work that’s draining, unenjoyable and outside our area of expertise.
If this is you, it’s important to consider whether you’re operating in your zone of genius. This is the intersection between your purpose, strengths and passions. Work that gives you fulfillment and meaning — that’s aligned to what you’re good at and love to do!
To start, get clear on your zone of genius. Think about your unique skills and what drives you. What tasks, activities and connections energise (not drain) you?
Next, you want to remove anything outside your genius zone. Automate it, delegate it or delete it.
- What activities can you automate to free up more of your time? Think about book-keeping, your client onboarding process or creating email templates to respond to common customer enquiries.
- Which tasks can you delegate or outsource? If administration or technical work isn’t your area of expertise, pass these tasks onto a specialist!
- Finally, what shouldn’t be completed by you — or anyone else? Eliminate it altogether!
4 — SPEND TIME ON THE THINGS YOU LOVE OUTSIDE WORK
Not enjoying your job like you used to? Stop putting pressure on yourself to get all of your joy and satisfaction in life from your work!
Sure, we spend a large portion of our week at work. But if it’s not making you happy, start by focusing your time on the things that are!
What do you love to do outside your business or job? Do you like to cook and host dinner parties but never have the time? Or, do you enjoy a game of tennis or reading a book — but always prioritise work?
Make time for the things that light you up. It removes the pressure and improves your happiness and wellbeing. Who knows? You might even start seeing your work in a different light!
Finally, pay attention to what excites you. It could spark some new ideas on how to find more enjoyment in your work. Consider different ways of working, skills you want to develop or areas of interest you’re keen to explore.
5 — TAKE ACTION
Finally, start exploring what you do want as it relates to your work.
I’ve shared many insights and ideas on how to clarify your career direction or figure out what you want. It always begins by understanding who you are and what’s important to you — knowing your values and purpose.
However, if you simply want to experience more enjoyment and satisfaction in your work, commit to taking consistent action. Start by dedicating just 20 minutes per day to discovering what lights you up.
If you’re a professional employee, use this time to test out new skills you want to develop in your role. Research a new career path or look into another business area in your current organisation that interests you.
As a business owner, explore new program ideas, services or different clients you want to target. This might result in you modifying your current offers, introducing new ones, making changes to the way you work or even pivoting your business completely.
The key is to pay attention to what energises you and keep taking action in that direction. Approach this step from a place of lightness, curiosity and non-attachment. From there, you’ll learn exactly what you need to tweak or change so you can start ‘falling in love’ with your work again!
These tips have helped my clients and I take control of our careers, address any challenges and only choose to do work we absolutely love. I hope they support you too! ♥️