Who Stole My Mojo?
I Feel So Blah!
Have you lost your passion at work? According to the Gallup Poll, only about 29% of US workers are engaged in their work. What happened, and whose fault is this? We graduate from college full of vim and vigor, ready to conquer the world.
My background is in executive recruiting, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with thousands of deeply dissatisfied candidates. Almost all can articulate what they don’t want, some can clarify what they do want, and fewer still can show me how they plan to get there.
I set goals in my own career. I achieved them, but I still felt unfulfilled. What gives? I was “good at work”, but that didn’t make me feel good. I tried to numb myself on the weekends, by having “fun”, but that just made me feel empty and hungover. Keep in mind, I worked for a world-class organization with excellent leadership.
If you are feeling trapped and are going through the motions, clock watching and generally unmotivated, I wrote this for you. By the end of this article you will learn how to harness your passion and set out in new directions, or better yet, work on the six inches between your ears. You might walk into your boss’ office and announce your resignation. You may take your company public. You may leave your abusive boyfriend. You may stay where you are and become the CEO! This is an interactive article. Do the work. It will be worth it. I promise.
Oh the Possibilities
Go back to college for a minute. Remember those huge dreams and ambitions. Now open your mind. I don’t want you to compare yourself to your peer group. Think about people better than you. What do they accomplish? Got it? Accept the fact that it is possible for a person to move from your situation to this new level of accomplishment. Now accept that it is possible for you to acquire the necessary skills and disciplines to take this new step.
You, my friend, are the walking dead, worm bait. With all due respect to Thomas Jefferson, we aren’t entitled to life. Every day, above ground is a gift. I am 42. If I live to be 80, that means I have less than 2000 Saturdays left. Death isn’t the worst thing, it’s what we all have in common. Taking life and relationships for granted will be your biggest regret at the end. What do you want to accomplish before you die with your limited time? Will you have lived a full honorable life, or will you look back with shame and regret?
The Blame Game
List all the reasons that you don’t feel successful. Here are some of my favorites: company politics, underutilized skills, boss, staff, HR, economy, clients, weather, job market, big government, lawyers, millennials, welfare, the price of oil, bad luck, inner office sexcapades. Yada Yada Yada.
Now read each reason on your list and write down why are you are responsible for that category of your life. I can see your protesting face as I’m writing this. If you want to take control of your life, you must take this very important step. If you don’t take responsibility for your life, who will? Pick up your pen and start writing. I’ll be here when you get back.
My Sarcastic Smirk
“If you know the why, you can live any how.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Now don’t you feel better? Mind-blowing--I know. Since you are warmed up, I’m going to make you feel even more uncomfortable. If you would have asked me during those dark days, “Jeremy, why do you go to work?”, I would have told you, “to make money” with a sarcastic smirk on my face.
Tough love time, if you hope to ignite your passion, you’re going to have to think! Most people are completely disconnected from their own motivation. Don’t tell me what you love to do. I’m not interested in what. I want to know why you do it, and please don’t bore me with vague ideals.
I’m asking you to think about your life, painful memories from your childhood, scars from adulthood, fears, vulnerabilities. This isn’t happy stuff people. What gets you out of bed? What are you running from? Who are you running towards? Think about it until it brings you to tears. When you cry, you’ll know why you get up and go to work. Now take a visual representation of this very powerful feeling and post it where you will see it every day.
Excuses are like...
“I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.” - Benjamin Disraeli
You always have a choice. I used to give a long list of excuses mortgage, private school tuition, non-compete agreements. The truth is, all excuses are equal. If you want it bad enough, make the decision, and it will be yours.
“Things don’t just happen. Things happen just.” - Anonymous
Most people step in it right here. They identify what achievement they want, they know why they want it and they focus on changing their external circumstances to make that happen. All of those excuses you wrote down earlier will stay with you. The only constant is you. If change is to occur, it must start with you. What is the one easy thing that you could do every day that would move you in a meaningful way directly toward your goal?
Now don’t get all Stuart Smiley on me. Jim Rohn said, “Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.” I’m not suggesting that you turn into a totally self-disciplined person. If that were the case, I’m not sure success would be in the cards for me. I’m suggesting that if you take on one very important discipline, it will change your life forever.