When you’re working long hours and the stress is compiling, your personal life doesn’t go on hold. You still have familial responsibilities, bills to pay, friends to see, and thousands of other things that are on your mind. Let’s face it. There are times at work that are just harder than others. Even the best job can feel…well, like work sometimes. It’s hard to be inspired and do your best on the job when your business mojo has taken a back seat to all the other pressing issues in your life. But if you’re going to be satisfied in your professional life, it’s essential you get it back. Here’s how:
1. Remember Why You Went into Business in the First Place
Most of us have a reason for going into the industry we’re in. Even if you fell into it and it was not on your career most-wanted list, there’s something that has kept you there. What is it? Is it helping people, seeing the smiles on their faces, crunching numbers, solving problems, or something else? Remember what it is that drew you to your industry (or the reason you didn’t walk away three days in). Then find a way to get back to that.
It’s possible you’ve lost your business mojo because you loved helping people and maybe now you’re a manager and you don’t deal with the customer directly unless there’s a problem. You can either give up the management role and get back to what you love—helping people—or you can find ways to help people in your current role like becoming a mentor to junior members of the team.
Figure out what you originally loved and find a way to bring more of it into your current position, even if it means taking on another role or reworking yours slightly.
2. Surround Yourself with People Who Understand
It’s nice to lean on your friends and family for support when you’re going through the career doldrums but unless they have been through similar situations, your complaining will eventually turn tiresome. You need to surround yourself with people who understand the pressure of business. Joining the chamber of commerce is a wonderful way to be around people who understand your level of stress and the growing pains of business. Unlike friends and family, they have likely been there and can help you get going and navigate when your sails have lost the wind.
3. Take a Break
Vacations are incredibly important to our peace of mind. Yet, the number of people not using time off is hitting epidemic proportions in this country. In 2016, 54% of Americans didn’t use all their vacation. Some of those people even lost it because it wasn’t used. Small business owners are particularly vulnerable because they always wonder who’s running things when they’re gone. If you’re a mom and pop operation, you may not have taken a vacation in years.
Often by the time a business owner realizes they need one, they’re so burned out that taking a week off doesn’t even help. It may actually add to the stress because they’re wondering what’s going on with the business and they’re concerned about what they’ll come back to.
But vacations aren’t the only way to take a break (although, if you can, you should). Most people go too long between vacations. They end up working many long hours before and after to take one. Some even take work with them. Instead, try to find ways to take breaks throughout your day. Go for a walk at lunch. Start your day off with meditation or reading a chapter in a favorite book.
When you’re doing those things and taking a break, be there. Enjoy that moment. Don’t look at your watch and think you only have five minutes. Enjoy those five and if they were 50.
4. End Your Day with a Ritual
This is not about lighting candles and using incense (unless you want it to be) but establishing an activity that you do every night to signify to your mind and body that it’s time to wind down. Parents often do this with an evening bath for their babies. Choose 1-2 non-electronic things that you will do consistently every night right before bed. This is your brain’s signal to begin powering down and turn everything off.
Work is work. Even those of us who love it go through periods where it’s a grind. If you’re currently in a slump, don’t give up hope. These straightforward ways can help you get your business mojo back.
But if it’s just not working, remember our careers are a big part of our lives. If you’re not feeling fulfilled there, it permeates other areas as well. Don’t allow yourself that level of unhappiness. The years are too short for that.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.