THE BLOG
07/04/2013 10:41 am ET Updated Sep 03, 2013

3 Steps to Rekindle the Passion in Your Job

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I'm a fanatic about following your passion. As a psychiatrist and intuitive when I work with my patients and workshop participants, my mission is to hunt down and reinforce what creatively jibes for them from jobs to finger-painting. In my book, Positive Energy I devote a full chapter to help readers reconnect with their passion and creativity. Whether you're writing the great American novel, laying bricks, or sprinkling rose petals on a salad, your delight and surrender to the impulse is what catalyzes energy.

Now this is your opportunity to investigate what does or doesn't inspire you. The purpose: to honestly access where your energy goes so you can constructively re-route it. To remember all inspiring inklings, I suggest you keep a journal and review it. Don't be discouraged if you're stuck in a rut or feel far from inspired right now. This inventory will turn all that around. Re-inspiring your life takes courage. It's a solution-oriented process of uncovering, then commencing change.

My focus will be helping you to re-inspire your current job, even tiny bits of it -- there's always a way. Throughout this process, the poet Rumi's words will be our mantra:

"Let the beauty you love be what you do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

But how do we get there? Here are some basic steps from my book, Positive Energy.

Step One: In a Journal Define the Conflict About Your Job For instance, "I'm exhausted after eight hours, and I hate my work." Or "I'm bored and need a change." Or "I feel taken for granted."

Step Two: Ask yourself the following questions: Why doesn't my job inspire me? Pinpoint the cause.
  • Is it the particular circumstances -- your boss, office politics, or irritating coworkers?
  • Do I dwell on all the negatives, rather than looking for a piece of my work that could give me more juice?
  • The most basic issue: Am I following my heart's desire or mired in a career that doesn't feel center for me?
  • Can I work within the system for change? Or do I need to seek another job?
Step Three: Modify Your Current Work Situation How to Re-inspire your Job:
  • Sometimes lack of inspiration comes from difficult relationships, not the work itself. If there's bad energy between you and a coworker, try to correct the situation instead of aggravating it. Be the bigger person. Start being pleasant instead of prickly. Nastiness can be a mask for a person's insecurities. Kindness often penetrates that. Offer a word of appreciation. Surprise the person with a rose. Do everything possible to shift antagonism.
  • Don't expect your boss to be a mind reader. Instead of stewing in boredom or discontent, express your needs. If you know how you'd like to better your job, explore options. See if they are do-able within the framework of your environment. For years a patient of mine had been paralyzed by fear of rejection. It stopped her from asking for what she wanted. When she finally summoned the courage to present a project she loved to her boss, and he agreed to it, her job took on new energy. The point is to risk. You'll never know what's possible until you do.
  • Intuitively micro-analyze your day. Look for any aspect of your job that has some sparks. Remember what initially attracted you to the job other than money. Also notice what perks your magic up and relieves apathy or fatigue. When you hit upon it, you'll experience a more-alive feeling, an excitement, or simply a gentle interest: these are signs of life force in your work. Spend more time in these areas. Document them in your journal.
  • Gravitate to coworkers who inspire and energize you. One publisher-patient who thrived on her busy job, often came home tired. Once she realized what a kick she got from interacting with the art department she upped her visits there. They had loads of laughs, which tweaked her energy at work and afterwards. Fatigue is lethal to inspiration. Avoid anyone who drains. Go towards energy hot spots in your job -- people and activities -- so your time is skewed towards inspiration.
  • Make your work about service and meaning: how to make a difference in the world. This can entail being kind to others and injecting friendliness into your milieu, which will nurture you too. Give a co-worker a pat on the back; don't lay into a delivery guy when he's late, turn people on to ideas to better the environment and the world. One of my patients is a producer for national news. Though deadlines are brutal, he's in an ideal position to get positive messages across. Framing his work in service keeps him aligned with inspiration. Whatever your job, the ethics and love with which you conduct yourself, and the positive messages you share can be of service and spread inspiration.

If you've tried to re-inspire your job, but the situation is irredeemable, you may want to look for another. It could be an upward or lateral move. This may make all the difference. One of my patients who felt battered by her Napoleonic boss's mood swings, found her blood pressure normalized and her inspiration returned when she quit that job and began working with another boss she enjoyed. In these cases, a change of place is just what's needed.

For more by Judith Orloff, M.D., click here.

For more on success and motivation, click here.