By Mackie Shilstone
Many people, especially those who are in or approaching middle age, are beginning to question where they are going, insofar as their careers go. It may be burnout or it may be a lessening for the passion we once felt for our jobs and careers. Either way, this is a common occurrence and, if you're feeling like that, you're not alone.
Your success in your career will always be in direct proportion to whether or not you feel a real passion for your work. The question you should be asking yourself is, 'Does my job fill me with passion?' If not, then you need to begin thinking about some answers.
In my 30 years of training professional athletes, one thing I've learned is that passion is everything. I've seen athletes go up against opponents who were more talented and more experienced, yet they emerged victorious because they had more passion for what they were doing than their opponents. Passion is a pure energy that helps you survive.
When you have it, you are constantly growing and reinventing yourself and your life. When you feel passion for your job or your career, it shows. Regardless of what you do, it's how you do it that really matters. When you're passionate about what you're doing, it's infectious and it gives off a high level of energy and enthusiasm. It may even rub off on those around you and create a better perception of yourself in their eyes.
But what if you don't feel that passion anymore? What can you do to recharge it . . . and yourself? The first thing you need to do is a self-analysis. Ask yourself some basic questions about your life, your career, your stress level, your financial status, and your overall estimation of yourself. Mentally rate your job on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest level of satisfaction. Then do the same with your stress level, your financial status, and your overall estimation of yourself.
If you rank low on the scale in one or any of these categories, it may be time to consider a career change. If you're thinking of a career change, think about what you would consider being the ideal career. Then, perhaps, you can strive toward attaining it. There's a very good chance that what you would really like to be doing is similar to what you're now doing but you just need to be in a different environment. For example, if you're a medical or psychiatric professional working for a large clinic, you might be happier and more passionate about your work if you had your own private practice.
If you're in business for yourself, you might consider expanding into a new area of that business or a similar one. This is known as 'lateral movement' and it happens frequently among those in the contemporary workforce.
But, what if you like what you do and just need to recharge your energy level for doing it? There are several possible solutions. You can visualize solutions to your work-related problems, then work toward achieving those solutions. You can plug 'energy leaks' by tuning out the negative people or negative work-related issues that are draining your energy and passion for what you do.
And, finally, you can 'prioritize' your life and the things you do. If you're already juggling a family and a career, don't volunteer for everything that comes down the pike. Pick and choose what, if anything, you want to get involved in and keep those involvements to a manageable minimum. Otherwise, you may burn yourself out.
Whatever you do to restore your passion, do it wholeheartedly and with a determination to make yourself feel better. With passion comes energy and with energy comes enthusiasm. With enthusiasm, anyone can believe in himself or herself. And, with belief, the impossible becomes possible.