We’ve all had off days when we just aren’t in the mood to do anything or have a hard time getting motivated and productivity comes to a screeching halt. It happens to the best of us and typically isn’t cause for alarm if you allow yourself to take a moment to reset and refocus. However, if those feelings start to become the norm, you may be slipping into a state of apathy, and it can be a miserable place to be.
From evolving interests to environmental circumstances, there are many reasons people lose their passion for work. But that doesn’t mean you have to simply accept and succumb to apathy. It is possible to break free from the grip of indifference and get back to a place where you feel motivated to achieve.
You have to decide to change
First and foremost, you have to make the conscious decision to make a change—and you have to be prepared to follow through. This often requires a great deal of mental fortitude, and until you’re truly ready to commit, you’ll never find a way out of your rut. So, whether you enlist the help of an accountability partner or post your goals on your office wall, it’s important to find a way to keep your plan of attack top of mind.
Look back at your career path
Walk backward down your career path and ask yourself a few key questions along the way: At which point were you most happy? What were you doing at that time that was most fulfilling? And, at what point did it end? Few careers follow a straight line from point A to point B. There are many opportunities to venture off into new territory or to take a turn down a path you never could have imagined when you were starting out. And although that variety and unpredictability often leads to some wonderful places, it’s also easy to get lost—and that’s when apathy can set in.
During one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 30 radio addresses, known as fireside chats, he said, “For to reach a port, we must sail—sail, not tie at anchor—sail, not drift.” If you’ve lost your passion for work, it’s important to look back at the times you were happiest in your career and start plotting a path to find your way back. Whether it’s simply looking for ways to incorporate things you’re passionate about into your current role or seeking out an entirely new job, don’t let yourself simply accept the status quo.
Shake things up
Humans are inquisitive creatures—it’s in our nature to constantly seek out information to satisfy our curious minds and learn more about the topics and trends that impact our lives. In the workplace, when opportunities to learn and develop stall, it’s easy to become restless and apathetic about our jobs. That’s why it’s important to shake things up once in a while. It could mean volunteering to lead a complicated new project, getting more involved in various workplace committees, or asking for projects outside your job description.
Shaking things up may also mean learning new skills, altogether. Are you an accountant who always thought you might enjoy graphic design? Or a marketing manager with a knack for writing code? In today’s digitally connected world, it’s easier than ever to indulge our curiosities and not only learn more about the things that interest us, but also engage with them.
Willpower is nothing like riding a bike—if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it. So, once you’ve identified your path to feeling passionate about your career, you can’t stop working toward it. The moment you achieve one goal is the perfect time to set the next to ensure you keep moving and don’t fall back into old habits.
How has apathy been a destructive force in your career? What have you done to combat it? Let us know in the comments section below.
Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.