Have you met this person?
- They are supposed to be hard at work, but they are somewhere else – reading their facebook or aimlessly scrolling through Instagram.
- Their project was due a week ago, and they have only begun to draft it.
- They said they would email that important client days ago, but it hasn’t happened and you think you might lose the client.
- They didn’t resolve a customer’s concerns when a support call came in.
- You sometimes wonder if you are paying them more than they are worth in the business.
- Everyone else on the team seems to be working well together but this person is a lone wolf who sometimes turns into an information silo.
- In order to look them in the eye, you have to use a mirror.
Yes, that’s right – it’s YOU!
So what happened?
You remember when you first started, and you were super gung-ho for this job. You were going to change the world, make your life significantly better, learn a new skill. You were going to be the best you could be, and somewhere along the way, it started to slip. There are lots of reasons why it happened. Perhaps it was something your boss (or a customer) said that knocked you down a peg. Maybe it was something that happened in life outside of work that you weren’t expecting. Maybe it was something totally different. Regardless, you’ve lost the joie for the work and need to get back on track.
What can you do? If you feel like you need to re-orient yourself, do some situational assessment :
- Think big picture and reconnect with why you started down this road. If you are struggling with a certain project – what is that project supposed to accomplish? Why are you working on it? If you are struggling with your job in general – what is the goal of the job? What did you expect to be doing in this position?
- Decide if it’s still feasible. Is this still the right job/project to accomplish that goal? Be honest. Are you still connected with that ‘why’?
- If it is the right road to take to get to the goal, AND you are still interested in pursuing it, break it down into big chunks. What major pieces need to happen in order to accomplish the goal? Don’t worry about the million details, just figure out big picture needs.
- Do you have the resources necessary to get there? Maybe you need to learn to do something specific in order to get those big pieces accomplished, or maybe you need to reach out and recruit some others to help out. Identify as many ways as possible that you could get those resources. Be creative. It’s often easier to leverage our strengths than to try to resolve our weaknesses.
- Get vulnerable. Talk to your boss, a co-worker, your significant other. Let them know what you are going through. Find out if they would be willing to be your accountabillibuddy. If nothing else, letting people in releases some of the pressure, not to mention builds significantly more meaningful relationships.
- Set yourself up for success – don’t require perfection and make sure you are being realistic.
Get moving! Instead of planning out every contingency, focus on starting the process. Things will change along the way, the best of plans will get derailed, and you will have to adjust, but starting is key.
If you are totally disenchanted, it might be time to ask yourself some harder questions:
- Are you living in the past? Take a look at who you are today. Are you going through the motions based on desires that are no longer true?
- Was this job a dream to start, but you’ve lost your identity or sense of self somewhere between then and now? Do you feel adrift?
- What are you passionate about? What do you feel like you ‘should’ be doing? What parts of this job are feeding you and which are draining you?
- What do you believe about yourself and the situation that keeps you here?
- What would have to happen in order for you to feel happy and passionate about this role?
- Why are you at this place/job/stage?
These questions are probably not easy to answer, but that is exactly why they are worth asking. Just like above, reach out and be vulnerable. Whether it is a life coach, your boss, your spouse, or your best friend – you don’t need to do it alone, and you will see results far faster if you don’t try to.
– Peter Drucker’s “Managing Oneself” (online PDF) – a great read for getting into the headspace of these questions and working towards becoming your best self.