Have you been catching yourself yawning as you once again answer the question “so what do you do for a living?” Have your eyes been wandering over to other careers and companies because they look to be a little more exciting than what you have now? If you’ve answered yes to these questions it may be time to spice up your career and fall back in love with what you do.
When you think about it, our careers and relationships with our employment companies are very similar to any other relationships in our lives. There’s the phase when we’re attracted to the type of work, the phase we’re introduced to a particular company, the phase where we’re swept away and make a commitment, the phase where new projects and responsibilities are exhilarating and fun, the phase where we feel satisfied and comfortable, and ultimately we get to the phase where comfort can turn into boredom, irritation, and a need for change. Often times that’s where it ends. We see the apparent need for change and we move on to start the cycle all over again.
Well hold on just a minute, before you throw away a possible diamond in the rough, let’s take a step back and see if there’s a way to salvage what you have and recapture your love for your career.
Now I know you might be thinking “sure, easy for Lisa to say, she’s a consultant and works with many companies”. However, before I began consulting, I worked for a single company for more than 20 years (yes, I started when I was only 11 years old!). So, having worked for so long with the same company, I picked up a few ESSENTIAL tips that helped me keep my career fresh, interesting and constantly in a period of growth. So whether you’re well into your long career or just starting down a new path, feel free to learn from my years of trial and error.
Tip 1 Reflect back on why you wanted to work for this company in the first place. There must have been a reason that compelled you to work there. In a perfect world, you will have a clear understanding of the company’s mission and goals and you will believe that they are in alignment with your purpose (email me for a copy of my past newsletter about finding your purpose). Often times this is where it gets foggy. If you don’t know the purpose for the company, it might be a good time to talk to your management team to ask for a little clarity. Research has shown that when people work together for the betterment of a cause or purpose they feel connected to, the results can be incredible. Why do you think Oprah’s teams can do so many amazing things? If you believe in the company you work for, it’s a good sign that it’s not too late to rekindle the fire for your career.
Tip 2 Don’t be afraid to show how great you are. Over the years, I’ve noticed that some people will often “hold back” on their performance or on voicing their satisfaction with their job because they don’t want to stand out from the crowd. They’d rather lay low and avoid making any waves because it seems easier than getting unwanted attention from their coworkers who believe they should “know their place”. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything that would kill my passion for my career quicker than trying to make sure I never made a difference or avoided letting myself really show what I know.
Tip 3 Realize that you will be promoted in part for your accomplishments, but primarily for your potential. Often times we look at a promotion as a reward for a job well done, and in part it may be. However, the main reason an employer will promote you is because they are betting that based on your past performance, you will deliver even greater future results. So I encourage you to look at each day as another chance to show that you are a professional who continues to grow, learn, and change with the company. Better yet, show them that you are a visionary leader who can and will exceed their expectations. Soak up all the training tools, coaching, and opportunities for growth that you possibly can. Not only will it make you look more promotable, but it will keep things more interesting and exciting for you. One of my favorite speakers, James Ray, states “all living things are in a cycle of growth or death, things can never stay exactly the same”. Which cycle do you prefer?
Tip 4 Try something new. Believe me, there’s no way I could have stayed with the same company for 20 years if my role had stayed the same. I was originally hired as a singer and by learning all I could, continuously looking for training opportunities, growing outside my comfort zone, and showing what I know, I opened a world of opportunity for myself. I became an experienced speaker, corporate-wide trainer, company spokesperson, Director of multiple departments, and head of the creative production process. When you try new things you keep yourself engaged in your career and you increase your value to the company.
Tip 5 If all else fails, try to talk it out. Believe it or not, sometimes you just need to let your employer know how you feel. Give them a chance to get creative, and don’t be afraid to offer a few ideas of your own. Who knows, you just may find yourself working...InBliss!
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