It’s kind of a gray day outside today. It’s gotten colder. They’re saying it will freeze and possibly snow this weekend. And I’m already over it. I’m tired. I’m grumpy. It’s been a long haul through this whole coronavirus situation. We don’t go out much. We haven’t eaten in any restaurants. We don’t shop much beyond the basics. The one thing we’ve done pretty consistently is to go for walks, but as it’s getting colder, I’ve noticed less motivation for even that.
Frankly, it was hard to get out of bed this morning. It was hard to get motivated for work. As I got myself up and going, and pushed through the resistance, I thought that you might be experiencing some of the same feelings. So, in this blog, I’ll share what got me going today – in case this might help you, too.
What got me out of bed and ready to work today were Purpose and People.
Let’s start with Purpose. My focus, my core business, what I’m all about – is helping people have better lives at work. We have 168 hours in every week, and most of us spend 50-60 or even more of those on work. But, for the majority of people, those hours at work are not fulfilling. They’re not inspiring. A study a few years ago by Gallup found that 68% of Americans are disengaged at work. 58% of people would trust a stranger more than they trust their boss or 53% of people are unhappy at work, that seems like such a shame. I literally picture the people sitting around the table – you know, back in the days when people went to conference rooms. Of the 10 people around any given conference table, seven of those are disengaged in their work. Six are listening to their boss, full of doubt about what they’re hearing. Five of them are unhappy.
Whether you’re the boss in this picture or one of the other people at the table, this is no way to live your life every day. When I picture all of those people – and maybe you’re one of them – who are unhappy, going through the motions, disconnected, I get motivated. Because I know it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to have work that inspires you. It is possible to work for a boss who appreciates you and to have a team you enjoy.
That’s what happened for one of my clients. Let’s call her Denise. She had been working for a toxic boss who didn’t give her opportunities. New and interesting assignments always went to someone else – despite Denise’s hard work and track record of results. Her boss also kept her in the background, not allowing her much contact with people outside of their department. As a creative and engaging person, Denise found this really frustrating. She reached out to me for help, and we built a game plan that helped her land a different role in her company. She now works for a boss who supports and encourages her. She’s leading projects she’s excited about. She’s now on purpose, doing work she enjoys and getting recognized for it.
If your work isn’t fulfilling, or you’re not connected to a broader purpose, that’s a great place to start finding your energy.
The other part of the equation is People. Especially if you’re still working remotely, you may find yourself missing the human connection that can be such a source of energy for many of us. Again, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to build a network of people you can turn to, even from a distance, to share ideas and download about your day.
One of my friends told me he created a Slack channel called “coffee” where anyone can post when they want to take a break and chat with one another. That way, even remotely, they can retain the informal connections that used to be a highlight of working in an office. The best part about this kind of informal gathering is that it can be an opportunity to connect with people you might not talk to otherwise in your workday.
Those weak ties are important inside any organization. They contribute to creativity and problem-solving. People who see a different part of the organization have a different perspective. They see different opportunities and challenges. Tapping into that can be a source of ideas for you. It can also be helpful to have these types of connections when you’re trying to move a project along. If you have friends scattered throughout the organization, you’ll have people you can turn to. People are more likely to support the work of those they know, like and trust. That means building relationships before you need them. If you don’t yet have an informal network, and ways to tap into that in your company, I encourage you to create them. Then, when you’re having a blah day, you’ll have someone you can chat with. Who knows? Listening to what someone else is working on might be just the inspiration you need.
If your energy for work isn’t where you want it to be right now, or you’re not where you want to be in your career right now, let’s talk. We can clarify your purpose and identify ways to build your network so you can take your career – and your motivation – to the next level.