Written by Jaclyn M. Mullen.
The first time I stepped onto a stage, I was probably 4 or 5 years old. My mom signed me up for dance lessons at the age of three or so and I immediately fell in love. By the time I was six, I started singing.
Why share these tidbits about myself? Because singing and dancing have always influenced my workplace and my workspace whether I was studying in school, working for a small business, writing, speaking to a large group or working for myself. And today’s post is all about incorporating passions and talents into work. Let’s dive in.
In preparation for this article, I conducted an experiment. I Googled the word “passion” and compared the search results to my assumptions. Besides definitions from Wikipedia and Websters Dictionary (plus a few indie films) what I landed on came as a pleasant surprise: the first few results centered around passion for our careers while I had expected “passion in relationships” to take precedence.
Why does passion in work matter?
Because 5 days a week, 20 of 30 days, 160 out of 720 hours of the month, we are working. No matter how you choose to view it, we spend the majority of our time on this earth immersed in our jobs.
However, according to a recent article on CBSNews.com only 30% of people felt engaged or inspired at their jobs. 70% of people aren’t inspired or engaged! That’s a lot of people.
If those were the same sort of statistics on relationships, what would people do differently? Add more passion back into their romantic lives or jump ship to find a more passionate partner? The answer would depend on two things: personal preference and aversion to change.
Applying this towards careers, we are left with the same options when the passion is lacking for us professionally: find ways to renew our work interests OR find a new job. Sometimes, the quickest solution is reigniting passion and the use of our talents into our existing workplace and workspace.
The following can help you ignite professional passion in a matter of days if not weeks.
- Add photos and décor that speaks to your soul. If you’re a sports fan, add a framed photo of a motivational quote from your favorite baseball or football player. If you’re a musician, add a poster of a piano or your favorite band! Perhaps you don’t care about music or sports but you are saving up for your dream vacation. Post a picture of that spot. These visuals tap into something that 99u.com examined in their article “What motivates us to do great work?” and guess what the answer was? Intrinsic Motivation aka self-talk, purpose, seeing a bigger purpose/picture. Each of these can be inspired and reignited time and time again by looking at visuals that elicit an emotional response within you.
- Express yourself through your personal style. Long gone are the days of the dress suit in business. While most companies adhere to a dress code, there is a lot more flexibility in work attire these days. This means you can wear a bright pink colored blazer with a chunky gold necklace, white t-shirt, dark washed jeans and cheetah print flats to work rather than a head to toe grey suit. The combination of color, texture and print is enough to excite your senses and boost your confidence level in yourself. Dress to express your personality! Look at magazines and blogs for style ideas and inspirations that are professional chic.
- Look for clues in your hobbies and childhood activities. What was it that you loved to do as a kid? What do you love to do now in your spare time? Maybe your answer is Crossfit. Perhaps you love baking. How would you apply either of those passions professionally?
Let’s start with Crossfit. One of the biggest advantages to this is the community/support component. Yes, it’s a workout but what makes the workout even better are the people you meet along the way. This could be a great indicator that you prefer to work in groups vs working alone. This may also inspire you to spearhead a corporate wellness program or some sort of after work, team oriented activity with your co-workers. Perhaps you could even do daily, weekly or monthly business challenges to work on mental muscle pertaining to a work project.
Shifting gears to baking.
What do we love about baking? The process. Following instructions and creating something from scratch. Baking is sensory. We can taste and smell our success in progress. Now, let’s apply baking to a career in marketing. Perhaps you want to work for a food and beverage brand in their marketing department. After all, marketing allows you to create ideas and even products from scratch! You can measure and track sales, email address acquisition, even likes on a Facebook post, which replicates the satisfaction of tasting and smelling your success!
Lastly, there is something celebratory about wrapping up one marketing initiative and launching the next. This is a similar concept to baking cookies and enjoying them then moving onto cupcakes.
Hopefully you aren’t too hungry now and more importantly—hopefully you see how adding passion to your workplace and workspace is not as difficult as one may assume. Tiny little shifts in approach, motivation and mindset can make a huge difference professionally, for both the present moment and long term.