A little while ago I posted some advice on getting through a rough patch at work. Let’s be realistic: everyone goes through this. As a person who spends a lot of time in the peaks and valleys, I am an expert on this. Yes, generally I love my work and career, but I’ve had times when I struggled with showing up, bringing my A game (or any game at all) and keeping myself on track with my bigger goals.
Here are five steps I wish I’d taken sooner to end the self-pity on several occasions. Also, while wine with friends is not a solution, it is fun and encouraged.
Show up as you
Wear your favourite outfit. Welcome an authentic conversation with your colleagues (in lieu of brooding silence). Say your idea out loud (in lieu of over-editing yourself into nothingness). Channel a version of yourself that feels more complete: Sunday coffee shop you, or playing with your two-year-old you, or just finished dance class you. Just, you. Whole Self, people. Throw caution to the wind.
Hellish deadlines or not, you are a free person. So show up on time, get in, get it done, and get out again. Even if you’re working late, for goodness sake, take a break! Healthy people have boundaries. They’re good for you and, believe it or not, they’re good for your colleagues and company. No one has a breakdown which means everyone wins.
Even if it’s little, make it your mission to complete something. This simple act will get something off your list and will give you some sense of control and accomplishment. That energy will do wonders for your mood and will probably kickstart more productivity too. Pick the thing on your list that least offends you, and do it now.
When you can, take a second and get clear on what’s happening. Consider a few common reasons why you’re down on work:
- it’s work related (what you’re actually doing day to day),
- it’s people related (boss, colleagues, lack thereof),
- it’s path related (this role isn’t leading you where you want to go), or
- it’s not work at all (demands outside of work are making feel work impossible)
Even if you can’t solve for it today (and quite often you can’t), at least you know where your challenge lies. You would be amazed how many of us think the problem is one thing, when two minutes of focused, critical thought reveals that it is something else.
Listen, you’re an adult. You got yourself this job for reasons that made sense at the time. And if every one of those reasons no longer applies, then you’re going to decide to hunt for a new job pretty soon. If any of those reasons remains valid, then good for you! You are the main character here – and if there are things that need to change, you’re about to start doing that. Getting intentional about turning this negative energy around gets you into your power and moving past a slump faster. Cue me raising a foam finger in the air for you because you got this.
That’s it, five things to get you into your power and out of a work slump. What do you think – have you used these or others? Let me know with a comment or find more inspiration and tips (and pictures of my two cute toddlers) over here.