As in marriage or any long-term relationship, one of the most important ways to keep the excitement in your career is to constantly seek out new ways to sustain a high-energy vibe. This can be done in a variety of ways, from working with highly creative and collaborative people, to working in unique locations, to contributing to projects that capitalize on your strengths and best capabilities. But how do you re-energize your career when you don’t’ have highly collaborative people to work with or new locations or interesting projects? Simply put, when times are tough or boring, how do you find the sense of excitement you need in your career?
I – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Most people find satisfaction in doing the things they love and doing them well. Sometimes we revel in pulling off big projects that are right up our alley, in a high-class way. But, every so often, the challenge is gone when we do the things that we know we can do well and have done well many times before. This is why one of the key ways to re-energize your career involves doing the untested and new, or reviving an interest you once had in the past but never acted on. Engaging in activities that are outside of your comfort zone, whether in or out of the office, can sometimes have the effect of breathing new life into how you view yourself and your career.
A former colleague, who was an analytical whiz and spent lots of time holed up in his office creating financial models, found that he needed something to break up the monotony of his day. So, one day he answered a call for volunteers to serve on the company’s Foundation board, whose main role was to meet with nonprofits and review their requests for funding. This volunteer work couldn’t have contrasted more with the work he did most of the day, but for him it was the perfect opportunity to do something that forced his mind to work in a different way. The experiences he had in helping charitable organizations were a perfect complement to the solitary modeling exercises he went through in a typical day. The mix of the two opened his mind to creative, new ways to approach his job, and over time he reported how much more energized he felt. Why? Because he stepped out of his comfort zone and was willing to try something new.
II – Establish a Change of Scenery
Sometimes the simplest changes can create the biggest impact. A new source of energy in one’s job can be found in a new mentor that encourages you to stretch yourself, or a new work buddy that you like to work with on projects. The key is to recreate the excitement and passion you might have had in the early days of your career, with the aid of something or someone who can help make the mundane or done-many-times fun again.
Often the simplest new twists or change in process or environment can make the biggest difference in how you approach and feel about your job and career. Consider trying to accomplish routine tasks and projects in a record time or with a more polished outcome. Or, look for a new career network or group to join. Making connections with new people in your field can expose you to career tracks and the latest thinking in a particular area, and will position you for learning opportunities that will be valuable to your career growth.
III – Spend Time With an Energizer
Simply put, spending time with high-energy people can turn you into one. Find the person in the office that has the reputation for being the most intense or successful go-getter, and hang out with that person. Find reasons to be around them, to ask them questions, or work with them on projects. Their energy will rub off on you and at the very least will get you thinking about ways to recharge your career or how to approach your job in new and creative ways.
Energizers are inquisitive and some even instinctively know how to keep the excitement and challenge coming at work, sometimes creating it out of nothing. These are the people you want to hang out with at work, bounce ideas off of, and be mentored by. Usually these sorts of people know they have a type of magnetism that draws people to them, and they’ll be happy to help and encourage you. Other times you’ll just have to find new ways to be where they are. But rest assured, like the other ways that will help you to re-energize your career, spending time with these energizers will give you lots of creative ideas and opportunities to re-ignite your career fire.
by Melanie Haniph