It was only a few years ago that I woke up in the morning with ta simple and familiar thought: “Ugh!” When was this never ending hamster wheel going to finally stop? I had worked the same job for over six years and the same career for over 10. I was bored and ready for some adventure, some challenge in my work life. I needed a change. After talks and tears with my husband we agreed that starting something new at the wasn’t exactly financially responsible. After all, we had a mortgage, car loans and after school programs for the kids that we had made commitments to.
So I was stuck. I wanted to whine about it. The great luck that I had was that I whined to the right friend. With a wide smile on her face she gave me tons of advice. This is my one friend that is hardly ever cranky and has a (almost annoyingly consistent) way of always looking at the bright side of things.
I admit that some of it sounded kind of hokey and although I said I would, I had no intention of following through. Here is what I did try and what helped me change my relationship with my job.
- I chose one thing I could do for myself before everyone at home woke up. Even though it was painful to set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual, I committed to fit that activity into my day, so I did. I chose stretching for 10 minutes. It may seem inconsequential but after I hit 40 my body started making unfamiliar creaking noises and I am not about to go down without a fight 💪🏾. It was surprising how much more engaged and awake my body felt when I stretched before even drinking my morning cup of coffee.
- The minute I got out of bed I grabbed a small notepad on my night stand and wrote down three things I was already grateful for. Note that the first few weeks I wrote down the same things over and over again: my health, my family’s health, the roof over my head. After about the second week I got more granular: toothpaste (because, seriously, morning breath 🙊), coffee, hair conditioner specially made for curly hair.
- Here is where work came in (I didn’t forget-turns out that me taking care of me helps me love my gig-who knew?) After writing down what I am grateful for, I wrote down three things that I wanted to accomplish at work for the day. Of course, I started with what was part of my regular job duties and that got old (and disappointing) quickly. It was when I switched to the things that I had more power over that I felt that this exercise was coming together for my benefit. The first day it clicked for me my three things were: connect with Connie because it’s been forever and I have managed to forget her son’s name; Call Ernesto (client I sold 3 years ago and really enjoyed talking to) to see how the service is going and if I can be of any help; Bring a frappuccino to Karla in accounting for ignoring my missed expenses deadline (again).
I’ll admit that at the beginning this felt silly. And although there were times that I still got caught up in the same-old, same-old of my work, I felt a greater sense of control over my day. What eventually started to happen was that because I started my day with self care and expecting the best, I often found the best-at work, in my commute, with my colleagues. It really can be all about perspective. I am not at perma-smile level positivity yet when it comes to work but I am 90% of the way there. I even had someone ask me recently “How do you always look at the positive side of things? It’s so annoying!” So I gave him some tips. I expect at least one of them landed for him.
If you have other tools you have implemented to get re-engaged at work, share them with us! We are all ears! Like this post? remember to share the love and subscribe, or follow us on social. We’d love your company and insight!