It’s 10 PM. You’re still at work. You glance at your to-do list and sigh heavily. You have no idea how or when you will get all this work done. It’s the third night in a row you’re working this late, and you can’t remember the last time you didn’t work during a weekend. You feel frustrated, exhausted, and like you have nothing left to give. You start to question whether you love your work as much as you thought you did.
It’s easy to fall into this trap of overworking when you love your work and you want to give everyone what they want. You want to help people, and you feel lucky to be able to do it by doing something you really love. At the same time, you sometimes wonder whether it would be easier to have a 9 to 5 job that pays the bills and doesn’t give you much satisfaction, but does enable you to go home on time because you’re not that bothered.
You’re not alone in thinking that. I can openly admit being in that place every now and then too. It’s important to realise that that’s ok. It’s normal to go through periods of frustration and doubt, especially if you’re under stress and feeling exhausted. These are the moments you often learn the most and these are the moments that really dictate whether you will succeed. Because everyone, even the people who love what they do, go through frustrating periods. The key is not to deny their existence or be critical of yourself for having them; it’s to bounce back from them.
This is what life – and resilience – is all about. It’s about your ability to bounce back from challenges and setbacks. It’s your belief in yourself and the belief that you are capable of overcoming this challenge and becoming a stronger, more fulfilled person because of it. This is always easier to do in hindsight, but it needs to also be addressed in the present moment to make sure you bounce back as quickly as possible.
Here are five tips to help you to do exactly that:
1. Allow the frustration to happen – don’t fight it.
The frustration for doubting whether you love your work is a good sign. It means that you care about keeping that passion alive and it’s alerting you to that. Listen to the frustration when it comes, welcome it as a sign that something needs to change, and think about what you need to change to minimise your frustration. Can you delegate more? Can you be stricter with leaving work on time? Can you say no to some clients or projects – or delay them for later? Only you know what change you can do and what change will help you the most.
2. Remember why you do the work you do.
The passion you feel for your work is often tied to the why behind it. What is it that made you get started in the first place? What kind of positive impact are you creating through it? What kind of enjoyment and sense of pleasure do you get from doing it? Answer these questions and you’ll start to remind yourself of why it is that you love your work.
3. Have a success file you can look back on.
A success file is something that has things from your work that remind you of all your successes, how happy you are doing it, and how you’ve helped others through your work. My success file has client testimonials, pictures of some of my talks and workshops, some client names I love working with, and journal entries about some of the highlights I’ve experienced doing my work as the Happyologist. Whenever I am feeling stressed, low or in doubt, I go through some of the things in my success file and immediately feel a positivity burst.
4. Make sure you’re working with the right clients.
The more you can work with clients who are aligned with your values, beliefs and why you do what you do, the better working relationship you will have. This means you will suffer less stress from trying to please a client with something you don’t necessarily feel good about doing, and you’ll also feel more honest because you’re being your true self doing the work you love. Yes, at the start of a job or a new business, you may need to be a bit flexible with this to get the first clients in. But I also believe that if you fill your calendar working with the wrong types of clients, you don’t leave any space for the right clients to come in and you exhaust yourself with doing work you don’t enjoy. The more right clients you have, the easier it will be to keep the love for your work.
5. Take care of yourself before you take care of others.
This is a message I’ve spoken about in previous posts (check out Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others for more). And I want to keep repeating it because it is so critical. It’s easy to put yourself last in the priority list and think “When I’ve done this I’ll rest; Once I’ve finished this task I’ll eat; I can sleep on the weekend“. The more you do this, the more likely you are to drive yourself to burnout – and that’s when you really stop feeling the love for your work or even for your life! This is even more important in stressful times because when your body and mind is put under extra stress, it needs even more help to stay happy, healthy and fit.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Which of these tips are you going to put into practice right now – or do you have another tip to add to the list? Please comment below with your thoughts.
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With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures & until next time!