Do you feel like you have lost passion for your work? Or perhaps you started off enthusiastic and excited when you first got into this line of work and now, you are just not feeling as much anymore. What happened there? One of the biggest drains that can kill your passion more than anything else is lack of appreciation. Perhaps you don’t feel valued enough by your co-workers, your boss or your clients and customers. Or, maybe what you do is extremely valuable, only that you interpret other people’s behavior as not valuing you enough.
When I ask my clients about what do they love to do, almost always I get the answer – I like to help people. This statement may be vague, since you will be helping people no matter what you do for living, otherwise they wouldn’t be willing to pay you. You may not always know it, but you are definitely helping someone in your job even if you are helping someone other than the one you want to help. The point is, making a contribution is an essential part of your work – that is what’s giving you purpose in life. If you don’t feel like you are contributing or bringing value to anyone (even if you really do) your job will feel meaningless and you will eventually stop enjoying it.
Sometimes, however, you really do bring value and contribution but you don’t feel like you do. Perhaps it’s due to other people’s feedback or lack of it that makes you feel that way. Perhaps your boss or manager only talks to you when something is wrong and leaves you alone when things are going great. Perhaps you judge yourself and your value based on other people’s behavior such as low engagement or lack of participation that may indicate they are not interested.
Now, the real question is, how do you keep your passion alive, how do you bring the fire, excitement and enthusiasm back to your job, your business or your practice?
The first step is to realize that many of the assumptions you are making about other people not valuing you or not being interested in what you are doing are entirely in your head. If they don’t seem to notice you or respond to you, this has more to do with them and what they are currently going through rather than your message or whatever it is you are reaching out to them about. In fact, they are not the ones devaluing your work or your contribution – you are. Understand that it is natural to lose interest in your own work, contribution or passion when you are not getting enough feedback about how much value your work brings to others. Problem is, when you lose passion and interest, other people get less value from what you do. And it is not because your work becomes less important, it is because your heart is no longer in it as much as it used to be. And then you get into that vicious circle – diminished value causes loss of interest, which in turn lessens the value, and so on.
Now, what about the time when other people such as your boss, your co-workers or your clients are angry with you or complain about you. Most of the time this is not an indication that your work is not valuable. On the contrary, they are complaining because they know what you are capable of and they are frustrated because you are not doing it for them the way they originally hoped you would. Sometimes simply shifting your focus to their needs from your own performance or feeling inadequate can make a huge difference. In other, extreme cases, it is possible that you are simply doing your amazing work for the wrong people who will never appreciate you no matter how hard you try. And even then, just because they were angry or complained, doesn’t mean they didn’t get any value from you.