Nearly 70 percent of Americans are disengaged at work. We live in an economy and culture that promotes high salaries and professions. The 70 percent is a byproduct of how difficult it is to find ways to make money doing what you love. Once you are in a job and comfortable, it can be even more challenging to take the step needed to actually make a change.
The longer we spend in careers that we do not enjoy, the deeper we sink. We often convince ourselves that we enjoy our job, even though that might not be the case. This shouldn’t be the case and 2018 should be your year to get over this!
If you are part of that 70 percent, here are eight proven strategies to get out of the slump and do more of what you love:
1. Be honest with yourself.
Forget what your parents think you should do. Forget what your spouse and friends think you should do. Think about what you actually enjoy. It is hard to look in the mirror and realize that what you have been working toward for a long time is not what you enjoy.
Despite how difficult it is to come to terms with this, it will ultimately make you much happier. The options are to continue to convince yourself that you enjoy your work or to be honest and work toward change. Choosing the former option means spending the next who-knows-how-many years being unhappy. Picking option two will be difficult to start, but it will lead you to more fulfillment long-term.
2. Be grateful for what you do have.
Regardless of how you feel about your career, remember all of the amazing things that you do have in your life. It can be disheartening to realize that we have been spending time on the wrong thing or that we are in a challenging situation. That said, we are incredibly fortunate to be in a situation where we can be thinking about our career path.
Putting your life into the larger context and remembering all of the great things that you do have will boost your energy and spirits toward career growth.
3.Think about what you really love to do.
You might have an answer to this and you might not. Either way is okay. The most important part is to be honest with yourself. If you know what you love and you are currently not doing it enough, then the challenge is figuring out how to re-align your professional career toward that passion. If you do not know, then the challenge starts with figuring it out. That might seem daunting. Yet, there is inherent beauty in the exploration and journey toward figuring out what makes you happy.
4. Surround yourself with people who know you well.
It is easy to get validation from others, regardless of what it is we are pursuing. This is because most people do not know us that well. Instead, surrounding yourself with people who know you well will help you reinforce who you actually are. They will love you for you and you, and there does not need to be a facade.
Plus, our closest friends and family can help us get out of a funk. When we are down, being around people who love us and who we love makes us happier and more comfortable being ourselves.
5. Read and explore as much as you can.
Exposing yourself to new ideas and fields will open your eyes to the world.
There is unlimited access to content today, so take advantage. It can be difficult to get started, but by trying to spend time in places (physically or digitally) where others with similar interests exist, you will be exposed to the content that they are exploring. Explore your intellectual curiosities because they can take you to great places. Even if it is just toward enjoyment in learning.
6. Find the courage to start anew.
This is one of the most challenging parts of a career slump. You likely already have experience under your belt in some field or type of work. Starting over is scary. There are others who have been pursuing what you might be interested in for a long time.
That said, it is never too late to start. Heck, I started Calendar not three months ago.
Your past experience can help you more than you might realize. You will be bringing a unique perspective toward whatever you decide to take on, and that should not be discounted. I’ve started and failed several times. Learn to pick yourself up no matter what part of life you’re in.
7. Do everything you can, given your circumstances.
Let’s say that you have a few hundred thousand in the bank and nobody else that you need to take care of. In that case, you have the ability to spend almost all of your time dedicating yourself toward what you love or toward trying to find out. In the situation where you need to financially support yourself and others, though, it can be much more challenging.
For either case, though, do not make excuses. Do what you can to work toward changing your career path. In some cases that might mean just two hours a day — late at night or early in the morning — on your passions. That time each day will add up.
No matter where you currently stand, there is a way to start working toward your dreams. You just need to put in the work. Plus, if you are working on something you love, then the best part is that it will not feel like work.
8. Be thoughtful about your approach.
Just because you are spending time trying to learn a new skill or secure a different job does not mean that you are in the clear. We spend most of our time on the execution piece. Therefore, it is illogical not to be deliberate upfront and create an effective strategy. Let’s say that I want to learn how to be a software engineer. I am going to spend a few hundred hours, if not more, over the next many months working toward that goal.