These 9 Things Are Draining Your Passion at Work (Here’s How to Counter Them)

Lost that lovin' feeling at work? Reignite your passion by countering these 9 insidious inspiration drains.

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Michal Bednarek/ Shutterstock
Michal Bednarek/ Shutterstock

Remember when you didn’t even have to try to feel inspired at work? Inspirationwas everywhere. Everything was exciting, interesting, challenging. Personal growth was around every corner.

What happened?

You’re not alone in feeling The Great Drain–70 percent of us have lost that lovin’ feeling. But waiting around for inspiration is folly, especially if you’re hoping for it from your boss. 55 percent of employees cite the ability to inspire as the single most important leadership attribute they want from their boss, but only 11 percent say their current manager is inspiring.


But here’s the good news as I detail it in my book Find the Fire: Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again. While inspiration seems mysterious and elusive, it can be codified and coaxed. You can create the conditions where inspiration occurs.

Since inspiration was everywhere when you started your job, what if you could tap into what was naturally triggering it at that time?

Ask, “How did I lose my inspiration in the first place?”

The answer? These 9 fierce forces:

1. Fear.

Let’s focus on fear of failure–the antithesis of inspiration. Half of all adults admit fear of failure is the biggest roadblock to not achieving/revisiting their goals.

Power tip: Since fear engages our mind in the wrong conversation – reframe it. Remember there are only 3 ways to fail: when you quit, don’t improve, or never try.

2. Settling & Boredom.

We…get…stuck. We stop learning, growing, taking risks, experiencing. But openness to new experiences is the single factor that most correlates with facilitating feelings of inspiration.

Power tip: Get clear on the rules of risk-taking in your job. What constitutes a good risk? A bad one? Who needs to approve the risk? What happens in the case of failure? Define the rules of engagement in risk-taking to defuse your inhibitions.

3. Inundation.

When we’re overwhelmed and exhausted it inhibits our ability to attract inspiration. Period.

Power Tip: have a To Do list and a To Don’t list. Research is clear on the power of writing down your goals. This also applies to writing down goals of what not to do.

4. Loss of Control.

Inspiration has no chance when you’ve lost a sense of ownership and control or have been completely disempowered.

Power Tip: Get off others agenda and on to your own. I don’t mean be insubordinate. Step back, figure out what you want, set a path and concrete goals that matter. Recognize when you’ve been sucked into someone else’s script.

5. Dwindling Self-Belief.

When our inner-strength dwindles it’s very hard to feel inspired by anything. Beyond that, self-confidence has been shown to be the number one determinant of whether or not a leader will be successful.

Power Tip: Mind the inner monologue. Our internal dialogue can either help or hurt us. Recognize when it’s happening and halt it. In that moment, consider yourself as if you were an outsider and change the tone like you would for a friend who needs support.

6. Disconnectedness.

When we become disconnected from those in our work life (by not feeling camaraderie or by struggling with a problematic coworker, for example) we deny ourselves the absorption of energy emitted from meaningful exchanges with others. Inspiration needs that energy.

Power Tip: Spread positive gossip. When the wisps of goodwill reach the protagonist, it has a powerful, connective impact. The alternative stinks.

7. Dearth of Creating.

When we create we become inspired, and when we’re inspired, we create. Stop creating meaningful output and unique contributions in your work and this virtuous circle evaporates.

Power Tip: Don’t talk about building it, build it. This Facebook mantra is a great reminder that you own sparking your creativity by doing versus deliberating.

8. Insignificance.

When we no longer feel like our contributions matter much to anything that’s important to us, inspiration is doomed.

Power Tip: Lead what only you can lead. Know what your superpowers are and use them to make things worth happening happen.

9. Lack of Evocation.

It’s hard to have inspiration evoked within you when you’re working in a soul-sucking environment that makes it impossible to be inspired by anything.

Power Tip: The source of such an issue is often the boss. Learn how to give your boss feedback in a way they can receive it. Make sure they’re open to it first. Focus on making them aware of the impact of their behavior, not what it says about them as a person. Be respectful, private, and specific. Focus on helping them improve, not what you would do if you were boss.

You can reignite your passion at work. It takes knowing how you lost it in the first place, and then some intentionality to regain it.

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