Sigh. Monday. Work…again. Every now and then I think we all face this. Our passion for our work diminishes. Our excitement with our business seems to fade. What happened to that enthusiasm we used to feel? That little voice in our heads that used to say "Woo-hoo! I LOVE my business! Let's go kick some butt!" is now saying "Ugh. Again? Really? Do I have to?" We just feel kinda stuck, trapped, uncreative, run-down, uninspired. The honeymoon’s over. Why? Where does it go? And how do we get it back?
Whenever I experience this or when I have a friend, colleague, or client that is faced with it, a few thoughts come to mind. Here are a few ideas that might get you headed back in the right direction – with the excitement you want and need.
Changing the Game
What started out as an exciting new business has (predictably) fallen into a routine. Like anything shiny and new the "newness" wears off over time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t like your business any more. It doesn’t mean that you need to make huge career changes. Sometimes the key is to simply pull yourself out of a rut that you’re in.
So what's one way to start shifting our mindsets right away? A change in routine or a change in perspective can sometimes help. Do you take the same route to work every day? Is your schedule the same time every day? Have many elements of your life and/or your workday become routine? Maybe it's tome to shake things up a bit. Force yourself to change your routine - your schedule, your commute, your workout, the shows you watch or music you listen to, the books and magazines you read, the websites you browse, the layout of your office or home furniture. Do something different. What you need is a fresh, new perspective. You need to hear new voices. You need to see something different.
Jarring our routine might just kick your engine out of neutral. New ideas may pop into your head. New images can help us get reinvigorated as our minds now get to process something new. And you know what? You can start on that today!
Another thing you can try is to break away from your routine in a more pronounced way. Actually get away from the business for a while. Yes, it's sort of related to the point above, but bigger. You're actually leaving cold turkey for a while. No contact with the business for some period of time - even if it's just for a few days. Use some of that time to rest. Use some of that time to change your surroundings. Rent a beach house or a cabin in the woods or mountains. Get out into nature for walks. Take your camera and just shoot whatever strikes you. Clear your mind. It's not unheard of for exhaustion to drain your passion.
Every now and then we need to just step back in a more dramatic way. That can be done in conjunction with the things above if you want. Either way, it’s a very good practice to build some time for self-reflection into your schedule. We need to get a little distance from our day-to-day firefighting and reflect on things in a more mindful way.
This can be daily, weekly, monthly, whatever. Just consciously give yourself the space to think more carefully and more mindfully about some of the big questions – the direction your business has taken (and where it’s headed), how that fits into your life plan, your career path, and what you find inspiring. For some of us this might mean meditation or a form of spiritual practice. For others, it might include walks in nature. For some, journaling. For some of us, it's a combination of these. find whatever works for you.
Outside Help Can Help
Some of us are better at doing the things above than others. Some of us can just shut down and take time away from our businesses. Some of really suck at that. Some of us are pretty good at reflecting on our questions. Some, not so much. So, for some of us it might be helpful to find an outside party to help you explore new ideas.
A third-party can bring you the framework, the structure, or the plan you might need. They have tools that they can walk you through to help you understand yourself better, learn what motivates you. they know how to challenge you. They can also bring a new perspective, a fresh set of eyes, to your situation. They will hold you accountable for making your way through this. This person might be a mentor, a coach, a friend, or someone else with an objective viewpoint. Find someone who will push, pull, drag you into a new direction - or at a minimum pull you out of your old one.
Start at the Start
Another thing I have found to be helpful is to look back at where you started with your business. Rediscover what made you start (if you’re a founder) or join the business. Think about what excited you about it back then? Relook at your vision. Reread your mission. Reground yourself in what problems you are trying to solve and for whom. Ask yourself how much of this is still true. I’ve seen cases where someone simply re-grounds themselves in why they took the path they took and they find it reinvigorating.
Go back and reignite your big vision for the business. And make sure it’s tied to something you REALLY care about. (And usually our businesses are.) Reconnecting with that vision can be just what you need to get yourself up and going again.
You may just need a new project or a new goal to tackle. Your motivation early on may have been to get that business off the ground. And now that you are there the excitement of that has lost some steam. The goal has been reached. So maybe you need another one.
That new goal, that new challenge may be just the thing we need to reignite your passion. When we have a big goal to reach for it gives us purpose and meaning again. It inspires creativity about how we will go about reaching that new goal.
Has the Time Come To…You Know?
OK, there’s one more thing. And it’s big and dramatic. It’s something practically no one wants to discuss. So I will. One last possibility (and one I hesitate to even suggest it) is that perhaps the time has come to make that big change and you should go do something else. It happens. Few things last forever. I think if you’ve been in a rut about your business for an extended period of time your brain might be sending you a signal that you need to make a change.
Before you do, however, if your situation allows it, consider a more extended leave of absence or a sabbatical first. Allow yourself space to explore new things. Investigate new ideas. Rest your mind. I would suggest that you should live through this separation for while. Typically what happens is that your decision whether to leave the company or to recommit fully in it will become every clear.
Remember, that little voice in your head is normal. We all go through it. We all hear it sometimes. And you're not really fighting it, per se. Instead you should be listening to the. Try to figure out what that voice might be telling you. Learn from it.
So, in the end can you get your mojo back? Of course! You can find that passion again - and reignite it. Follow some of these ideas and get our passion and our excitement reignited!