When you begin a new job, you love it. You go all in, you give a hundred percent, you seek to learn, you seek to contribute and to do things, you want to make a difference. You do things without expecting anything in return. You don’t feel any stress, because you work hard on something that you care about. This creates passion.
Sooner or later, you fall into routines, you struggle with processes, you get discouraged by rejections and people’s feedback. More and more you try to fit in and things seem harder.
What is it that causes this decay of excitement? What is it that causes this decay of passion?
The main reason is because you didn’t specify what you wanted. You wouldn’t struggle with processes if you had that clarity. And you wouldn’t let others derail you from your mission. Because you would have the pull that would strengthen you, make you resilient and help you persevere.
You can avoid this by defining your “footprint”. Ask yourself a few questions when you start:
- What would you like to have accomplished?
- What would you be proud of looking back?
- What would you like to put in your CV at the end of the day?
- What is the change you want to make?
- What is worth your energy and your time?
Even if you did not at the beginning of your current job and currently are miserable. Realize that you can shape your work. Take initiative. Start over.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND QUOTES:
Hi, everybody. It’s Tasso.
When I ask people what they struggle with and what keeps them from achieving their goals, what stands in the way from achieving their goals, they much too often say it’s work/life balance. I wanted to make a blog post out of this in order to share a few thoughts of mine.
Do you remember how it feels when you start a new job? Not the first job that you ever had. Any new job! When you change your position within your organization or when you change companies, do you remember how that feels like? You love it, don’t you? You go all in, you give a hundred percent, you seek to learn, you seek to contribute and to do things, you want to make a difference. You do things without expecting anything in return.
You don’t feel any stress, because as Simon Sinek said it in his very famous quote, “When you work hard on something you don’t care about, it’s called stress, but when you work hard on something that you care about, it’s called passion.” So you’re passionate about what you do, and so, work/life balance is the furthest from your mind than anything else.
But then, what happens? Then, along the way, sooner or later, you fall into routines, you struggle with processes, you get discouraged maybe by rejections and people’s feedback. More and more you try to fit in and things seem harder. It feels like an uphill battle.
And then down the line you get miserable. Of course, then, you look for life to compensate for work, and then it’s what you talk about work/life balance. This is then when you come home, and want your friends and your family to energize you rather than it being the other way around, that you energize them.
We always try to trick ourselves and say, “If I would change companies then maybe things will be different,” and you change companies. But the story repeats itself. Same cycle. Everything starts over, and is going downhill in the same way like it did in your previous company.
So, what is it that causes this decay of excitement? What is it that causes this decay of passion? I thought about this and there are two sources that I felt are the most relevant ones, the two reasons why we have this decay in excitement and I wanted to share this with you. Hopefully it’s helpful.
Number one is about processes, the processes in the organization.
Every time I’ve talked to anybody about this, they hate processes. Everybody’s complaining about processes. Those processes that slow down decision-making, those processes that slow down communication and basically take out all the spice out of everything you do. And of course, you as an employee -not really passionate about what you’re doing- you don’t have the strength to persevere, you’re not resilient.
But you have to see this also from the other perspective. In a company, of course, processes could be more streamlined and simplified, but a company, particularly a big one, needs these processes. They need this because they need to manage tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of employees. They need it for compliance reasons, they need to protect themselves, they need to protect you, and they need to manage the operational systems.
So it’s not really the processes that are bad. It’s really your attitude and your resistance to these processes, because look at this, those people who thrive within an organization are those who understand very well to navigate amongst those processes and to leverage them to their own benefit.
What is it then that you could do in order to not fall into this trap and to get discouraged by these processes? Well, the one most important thing that I believe you can do is when you choose a job, do not choose a job based on the money or on the grading. Because when you do that, then if you’re confronted with difficult people, if you’re confronted with processes that you hate, then of course you don’t have any power, any strength anymore to persevere and to be resilient.
Instead, choose the job based on the things that matter. Choose the job based on the skills you can acquire, choose the job based on the dynamics of the team, choose the job based on your boss. There are so many things that are more relevant criteria to choose a job than actually the money and the grade.
Reason or source number two is about losing control.
This is about your position in the company and your perception of how your role changes over time. See, I believe that what drains us most is when we lose ourselves. When we allow others to define what we do and who we are.
So you come to this new job with a half baked understanding, a little blurry, “Ah, this is what I’m going to do,” and then you get pulled to one side and you get pulled on to another side. You find yourself concluding discussion into consensus, and doing things that you didn’t intend to do when you started.
These are the two reasons that I think most relevant when it comes to losing your excitement in the beginning and if you look at these two things, they boil down to the same kind of denominator.
It’s always about knowing what you want and understanding what you would like success to look like for you.
On the first, the processes, it was about choosing the job based on the things that you find relevant for you to develop your skills, and on the second one, losing control, it was about understanding what you want to achieve in your job rather to avoid being pulled in this direction and in that direction.
So it’s all about what you want to do in the organization.
Now, I almost hear you say, “Tasso, what are you talking about? What do you mean by saying what I want? I get hired by these people. I’m doing what they want.”
Here’s a big idea for you. Companies do not hire you in order to do what they want. Companies hire you in order to do what you want. Of course, within their environment and under their rules and within their vision.
But you have that freedom. You just don’t realize it and you just don’t believe in yourself. You find that others who are maybe longer in the organization, or in a higher more senior position, know better than you. But then you should ask yourself the question, why did they hire you in the first place? If you think about it, the answer that will come into your mind will be that they hired you because of you. Because they needed a fresh perspective. They needed you, your energy, and your drive to do things differently. Nobody in the company wants you to do the same things in the same way as the person did them before you.
So take the initiative.
Have you ever wondered why in big organizations actually you don’t have job descriptions? In particular, for the more senior roles, there are no job descriptions. The reason is because it’s not carved in stone what needs to be done.
So small-minded people go and complain about this. They go to HR and they say, “I need a job description because I need to be knowing for my evaluation what I should be doing.” And they also think for themselves, “I need a job description because if a head hunter calls me up, then I need to be able to say what I’m doing.” But that’s not you, because you have to see the opportunity. You can shape your job. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that you can actually shape your job.
So just do it. What’s standing in your way?
This is the most important advice that I give as a mentor to people joining an organization. I tell them that the single most important thing that will make you stand out more than anything else as a leader in an organization is taking initiative. Because people want those who actually have the courage and the drive to move things forward. They want those people who bend the rules, not break the rules of course, but to bend the rules and who inspire and energize others to follow them.
So, when was the last time that you did something like this? When was the last time that you stepped up? When was the last time that you raised your hand and you defined what success would look like for you?
This is what I want you to do. In fact, this is what you need to do in order to succeed in an organization. Every time you get into a new job, be it through a promotion, be it through a re-organization, be it if you change companies. What I want you to do is you have to define your footprint.
You need to define what success looks like for you at the end of a period. Imagine yourself for instance going on an assignment, a one-year period or a rotation. Even if you go to another company, see it for a moment as a limited, temporary thing. By the end of a certain time frame, what would you like to have accomplished? What would you be proud of looking back? What would you like to put in your CV at the end of the day? What is the change you want to make?
Most importantly, what is worth your energy and your time? Let me say this one more time because it’s fundamentally important. What is worth your energy and your time?
Because, see, you are trading in your best time of the day anyway for work. You are working 9 to 5, the most prolific, the most awake hours, the most productive hours, the best hours of your day. There’s not much left when you get home after work.
There’s nothing in your contract that tells you not to put your soul into those 9 to 5 hours, or not to put your stamp onto those 9 to 5 hours.
You can define your job and this is what you need to do. Because, not only will this give you direction, serve you as compass and provide the understanding of what you have to do. It will give you some possibility and strength to persevere when the things get tough, and it will flex your profile. It will give you some confidence, and most importantly, it will grow you personally.
This is what Steve Jobs said very nicely in one of his speeches. He said, “Once you realize that you have this possibility to change the world, once you realize that if you put your finger in the world and there’s another dent coming out on the other side, there’s no going back. You will love it. You will get addicted to be able to make this change.”
So assume it, own it. Own this possibility to choose and to shape your job. So claim back your work, my friends. It is the time for you to shine. You are good enough. You know absolutely enough, so go ahead and do it.
Having said that, I wanted to thank you very much for watching this until the very end. I hope it was helpful for you, I hope it was serving, and I hope it gave you some nice ideas and some new ways of thinking about things at work. If you liked it, please subscribe. Otherwise, until the next blog post, I wish you a wonderful, wonderful day. Take care.