Let me start by saying that if you are feeling plenty of meh and blah these days, it’s perfectly normal and you are by far not alone.
The middle of the winter has that effect; in fact, this can be applied to the middle of anything.
Being halfway, because we don’t see the end in sight, we tend to forget how far we’ve come.
Same in many areas in life.
Same at the job.
Experiencing a down in excitement, feeling bored, not having any idea where we’re going but having to go through it anyway, is part of our hero’s journey at that particular function/position/company.
It doesn’t mean wait and see what’s gonna land on our laps (although this could be a valid and legit strategy at times).
But finding strategies that will get you through that flatline is something you can do right now.
The how? Think DISCO! (confession, I made up that acronym, it does the trick, right?)
D from Discomfort to Direction
Arguably, not knowing what’s next is very distressing. We want certainty, we want guarantees and mostly a painless process.
In an ideal world, we enter a new function, we have a precise job description, we are given clear guidelines to the next level up.
In the other 99.9% of the cases, every day at the job is a new day and a chance to change and experiment.
Here is my prompt to you: when uncertainty is driving you up the walls, focus on your goals, write down your daily intentions and to-do lists in the morning; give that overworked brain a task it will brilliantly accomplish for you.
I from Intellectualizing to Imagination
Let me be blunt here: very few people I met are fond of the ‘stop and smell the roses’. And when they do, their brain is immediately chronomesuring the time allocated to the exercise, psycho-analyzing the roses, and still running the still to-do in the background.
The brain doesn’t like inaction. It wants a task. So why not lead the way here and give it something to do.
To break the discomfort, we gave it directions.
Now that it’s a tad less frazzled, let’s allow it some free time and expansion. Favorite-thing-ever? Imagination!
Ready? GO! Go big, go wild, have fun!
S from Snooze to Sparkling
We all need some excitement in our lives (social media instant gratification anyone?)
Now, to stay in the realm of practical and feasible, we have to recognize that not everything will be yeahhhaaaa every day, all day; But we can build in little pleasures throughout the day.
My favorite: enjoying a hot beverage, spending a few looking outside a window, taking a stroll even if it is for 5 minutes, heck! Even a cat video will do.
Find several somethings that you can pepper throughout your day. Make a conscious effort to take a break. Your body will thank you; your brain will love the diversification of focus, your motivation will feel back online.
C from Conflict to (healthy) Communication
So far, in our quest to get us out of slumber auto-pilot mode, I have focused on mostly solo actions.
As the saying goes, we cannot control others, only ourselves.
Here is where I introduce the unavoidable concept of working with others, and conflict as part of the territory (alas): stress, avoidance, resentment, frustration and many other ailments that can make us dread the day, the next meeting, the next email or at times the job altogether.
Dealing with a toxic environment is no joke. It takes its toll on our bodies and motivation, and it needs addressing within the proper channels.
For the purpose of our current discussion, I would like to focus on those conflict avoidance behaviors; where the main driver is a fear of rejection that outweighs peace of mind and standing up for self.
Here are some ideas: when you see yourself avoiding talking to someone because you fear criticism or conflict, detach from the emotion.
Rehearse the conversation from an observer point of view. How can you say your piece from a logical, rational and reasonable way?
Detach from the job itself, and see if there are ways not to take it personally., i.e. that a critique is about an output, an outcome or a methodology; not about your worth as an individual.
This gets me to the final piece.
O from Obligations to Opportunities
Personal plea: let’s please stop seeing everything like an obligation; ‘I have to xyz, otherwise I will be punished by whomever [authority]’.
Let’s get over the idea of an external system of risk/reward; and back to working for ourselves and our personal growth.
We have the power and the smarts to create opportunities when we decide to stop focusing exclusively on what’s not working.
Make a conscious decision to be clear about what you truly want.
From there, your who and how will show up!