When we are young, we are commonly asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Usually, our answers were met with excitement, wonder, or sometimes uncertainty. Some people seem to know their passions and aspirations early on, while some of us remain uncertain or take longer to discover them. If you’re feeling dullness and lack of motivation in your current job, you’re far from alone. The truth is that not everybody has their dream job, and sometimes this can be an unrealistic expectation. However, it is still possible to find passion and enjoyment in your current position. Let’s explore how.

First, set aside your job for a moment. Think back to your younger years. What did you enjoy doing? How did you spend your free time? Socializing? Reading? Making crafts? Engaging in music? Thinking back to what we enjoyed as children can be incredibly beneficial. Often as adults, we become consumed with the stressors of life and even forget the things that once brought us joy. Maria, a teacher says, “When I thought about my childhood, I remembered I was always doodling and making comic books. I realized I could incorporate these crafts in my teaching lessons and make my own examples to show the kids. It’s a wonderful way to incorporate my passion into my career.”

The nice thing about re-discovering our hobbies and passions is that even if we can’t apply them to our jobs, we can reconnect with them outside of work. This can lead to more fulfillment and give us something to look forward to after working hours. However, if possible, try to find ways to incorporate what you like into your job. If you love to bake, bring your baked goods to the office to share. If you love music and can bring headphones to work, listen to music that motivates you. Try to explore different and creative ways you can bring joy to your workday.

Secondly, find your motivational style. There are many online quizzes that allow you to discover what motivates you. This insight can lead to making beneficial changes in how you approach your job. For instance, John, a tech consultant, is motivated by helping others. Therefore, he reminds himself that every time he helps an individual with tech issues, he is fulfilling a passion of helping others. Some people are motivated by a competitive atmosphere. Jamie works in retail and relocated to a store that offers commission for sales, and she found her performance improved.  The better we know ourselves, the more we can create an atmosphere that caters to our motivational needs. This can lead to feeling more passionate about daily activities and responsibilities.

Next, evaluate your job. The truth is that every person does not have their ideal job. Some of us don’t even know what that job would be. However, your work life should not be miserable. If you absolutely dread going to work every day, it’s time to evaluate what changes you can make. If most of the stress in your life is coming from your career and you’ve tried your best to make it work, think about looking for other available jobs. “As a librarian, I knew I was passionate about books,” says Marty. “But working in the public library felt draining and at times dreadful.” Marty switched to working as an elementary school librarian, which added an element of fun and interaction that was missing from her previous career. Remember, it is okay to switch jobs. It can be scary and uncomfortable, but it’s better than remaining somewhere you dread. Make the changes you can at your current job, and if nothing seems to improve, make a solutions-based plan.

Finally, ask for projects that align with your interests. Taking initiative to present new project ideas that add excitement to your day not only shows initiative, but it also adds positivity to your work life. If you write blog posts, come up with topic ideas that genuinely excite you and make you want to write. If you work in a non-profit, brainstorm service projects that have never been done before. For many of us, the staleness of repeating the same tasks every day can get old. As the world constantly evolves, so does the workforce. It never hurts to ask if you can start a new project or try something new. When ideas excite us, we are more likely to put forth our full effort and energy. In turn, these projects energize us and motivate us to continue the cycle.

Most people do not have their “dream” job. In fact, many of us don’t even know what our dream job is. And that is perfectly okay and normal. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find and create passion in our work life. Get creative and try reframing your mindset. Think back to hobbies and activities you loved in the past. If your job is the main source of your stress, see if you can make any changes and if not, look around for new opportunities. Keeping a solutions-based mindset will help you reclaim your power and maybe even add some passion to your work day.

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