“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” ~Vincent van Gogh
I rolled my eyes when a new set of emails popped up in my inbox. Will the messages ever stop? I remember the early days of the Internet, when it was actually a thrill to receive a new message.
What used to be exciting had become not only boring, but downright annoying.
That’s when I realized that what I considered my “treasures” had become burdens over time.
And while it wasn’t a big deal to see my old favorite pair of jeans in the donation pile, I became terrified when one day I woke up and, instead of feeling energized by what I do, I felt dread.
There were more than thirty items on my to-do list.
My passion had turned into an endless stream of tasks. My inspiration was at peril, and I couldn’t let that happen.
Here are the five steps I followed to rekindle the passion for what I do. This process worked for me, and it might work for you, too.
1. Take a break.
Although it may seem that your busy schedule doesn’t leave room for a break, it is possible to fit in a few hours, days, or even a couple of weeks off if you really want to.
Think about past situations when you had to take time off because of illness or a family emergency. Somehow you were able to manage. Treat your break as a top priority so you can make it happen.
Your break shouldn’t be an escape from your dreadful day-to-day activities, but the opportunity to get a fresh perspective of where you are and where you want to be.
Now, I make sure to schedule twenty-minute breaks throughout the day, and I reserve one day a week for a day outing or a fun get-together with friends. My best ideas come to me right after taking time off!
2. Go back in time.
During your break, bring yourself back to the beginning of your current business or occupation.
What used to excite you the most?
What did you want to learn?
What kind of future did you envision?
What new experiences did you have and what did you learn from these experiences?
When I answered the questions above, I realized that my busyness had taken me away from doing what I love most: inspiring others.
3. Figure out what’s different now.
Now it’s time to return to the present and compare your current situation to those first exhilarating days doing what you do.
If you feel as though motivation has left you, it’s likely that you can relate to one of the following:
- What used to be a new skill or a challenge has become something you could do in your sleep.
- Your responsibilities have multiplied, and you find yourself overwhelmed with endless tasks.
- You did a reality check, and concluded that you’re not likely to attain your previous, ambitious goals.
- You’re not learning anymore, just doing the same thing over and over again.
- Your interests or values have changed, and what you’re doing isn’t a good match anymore.
Doing this exercise helped me realize that feeling overwhelmed was killing my inspiration.
When you determine what is different now, you’ll have the clarity you need to move on to the next step in the process.
4. Introduce changes.
Complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, hoping to someday get rid of your business, or counting the days until you retire so you can finally do something you love are not choices that will lead to a happy and fulfilled life.
You know what you want.
You know what is missing.
Now you must take action.
You could delegate mundane tasks so that you could fully utilize your strongest skills.
You could learn a new skill to help you advance toward your highest, original goals.
You could find a mentor who’s been where you are and who would provide expert guidance as you make changes.
You could find a supportive community of like-minded colleagues to brainstorm exciting ideas and meet new people.
You could add new products or services to your business or switch to a new occupation that matches your current values and interests.
I decided to outsource a few of my time-consuming, menial tasks and set aside more time to write, a source of personal joy and my favorite way to inspire those around me.
Now, it’s your turn: Choose action steps that tackle whatever is bringing dissatisfaction into your life and killing your passion.
Especially at the beginning, implementing any of these changes will feel uncomfortable, but the initial discomfort will be replaced with a sense of excitement and rekindled passion.
5. Schedule your next break.
Fuel the passion for what you do by scheduling regular checkpoints where you’ll take a step back and plan new changes if necessary.
In time, you’ll experience a steady feeling of satisfaction and wellbeing. You’ll get out of bed every morning knowing you’re making a difference and following your passion!
What changes are you planning to make so that you can rekindle the passion for what you do?