At some point in your career, you may sense a creeping malaise. You may notice that you lack enthusiasm about the day ahead. Sometimes there may be a sense of dread. Perhaps you’re experiencing a midlife crisis—the sudden realization that you are no longer a rising star—or you may be returning to work after experiencing a setback such as critical illness.
“We hear a great deal of talk about the midlife crisis of the executive. It is mostly boredom.” ~ Peter Drucker, management expert
I often hear clients and colleagues talk about their waning interest in their careers or their businesses. In fact, 75 percent of them struggle with mid-career issues or return-to-work challenges. I often hear, "I can't seem to find my passion." I have also heard "I feel like I have lost my mojo" or "I don't feel a fit anymore."
Let's face it, after an illustrious careers sometimes spanning 20 years of all-too-familiar work, you are good at your job, but no longer at peak performance. You’re not learning or contributing as much. You seldom feel challenged or particularly satisfied. You are reminded of the songs “Working on the Chain Gang” or “Is That All There Is?” While bills must be paid, clients and colleagues must be satisfied, projects begin fail, self-doubt creeps in, and stagnation sets in.
Even when I suggest a focus on true values and the reasons you chose your line of work, the daily grind somehow seems to take over. Often, work life seems to be reduced to reports, data, meetings and managing difficult people.
When your job is no longer enjoyable or meaningful or you feel like you don't fit, your energy sags, motivation lags, tasks go undone, and you make mistakes. Being the consummate professional, you don't want to use this as an excuse, but when self-doubt creeps in to separate you from your vibrant MOJO, you need to be aware and take action. Switching jobs, taking on a different role, or starting a new business may be the default action, but this presents additional risks. A “grass is greener” mentality often leads to disappointments, similar to changing seats on a sinking ship.
A new career may mean a loss of seniority, loss of income, a geographic move and a new set of problems that closely resemble those you’ve left behind. Starting a new business may add to the strain economically and psychologically. Yet staying in a job or a business that seems to be going nowhere, filled with mind-numbing work and daily mundane challenges can mean resigning yourself to a lack of growth and meaning.
You don't have to accept the status quo. People who fear the status-quo more than they fear change will seek out a coach and confidante to help them re-ignite their mojo, their passion, and explore work/life issues of purpose and meaning.
More on this in future posts… it's important. Have you experienced a loss of motivation and drive? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 905-858-7566, on LinkedIn, Maestro’s Facebook, Twitter.
Conditions for Peak Performance by Patricia A. Muir