Posted by: First Mate | August 27, 2014

5 ways to address that nagging feeling that work is unfulfilling

Exercise, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Not the answer but it’s the cycle we use to function, until we can’t, due to that nagging feeling. The reality of the the anxious feeling is that it is trying to tell us something. It is just a thought or rather thousands of them that fly through my head and call out to me to address the underlying issue at hand.

A problem with work, a personal unhappiness, a need for change, a personal conflict interferes with the cycle of how we function. Feelings I notice when attempting to resist resolution and change: fear, need, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion. The feelings often are manifested in actions: I can’t pull this off – this could happen if I attempt it, I need these shoes, this exercise/food/wine/purchase will help me relax, why did I do that, I need to rest now – I’m so exhausted I’m just not thinking straight. All these are procrastination tactics. The reality is I loathe a certain part of my job and it leaves me lost, frustrated, full of fear and anxiety. I need a change.

First, consider the task, colleague or conflict. Is this a situation that is temporary, do you have the power to change it or remove yourself gracefully? Are the deadlines clear? Is the colleague untenable? Why do you feel this way and what do you need to do? What do you want to do? Be honest and brave….. I say brave because often for me, the fear of confronting a person I have chosen to see as difficult is terrifying but this this just my thought. And honestly, it’s not a reality, it is what I have chosen to see.

Second, make a plan. Bargain with yourself and set attainable goals. Let’s be honest if I’ve never written a book, I won’t be completing one for a 5 week deadline. But I can write 500 words daily. If I fall off the wagon, start again tomorrow. The best time of day for me to be clear headed is in the morning, so afternoon meetings are a problem, I’m tired, fuzzy headed or looped on caffeine. If there isn’t a way for you meet the client expectations, be honest, I’m working on this problem, here are a few ideas, but at this point I need to charge you x amount to assist you further. Understand that not all tasks/jobs are going to be a good fit, make a plan to extricate yourself. Designing mailers is a big part of this job, it is not something I’m an expert at, let’s bring in a graphic designer who is good at this.

Third, let go of expectations. ‘Just Do It’ is a fantastic slogan because it is true. I loathe quickbooks yet I need to do them monthly. It causes a serious rift between my husband and I because I am an expert procrastinator. By doing small tasks daily, weekly, etc. – you get it. If you hate your job, do your resume, one line at a time. Once you get started, it will flow, but you need to get started.

Fourth, forgive yourself and forget the idiots. Mistakes and failure are a part of life and business. Do not dwell on the past, live in the present and learn to trust your intuition. Slow down, look around and make a plan. Avoid people who can not live in the moment and need to project their own fears/issues onto your ideas and plans. Review your plan, project from an unbiased perspective and just do it.

Fifth, enjoy the work. Make the choice to be optimistic and happy about the process. Live in the moment, and simplify the details. I loathe submitting grants online, it is a tedious process, yet once delivered, there is immense relief. When I can be present, the subtly of life and relationships are more accessible. Life is simple, exercise, work, eat, sleep repeat and JOY, with smaller attainable goals and honesty we can accomplish a lot and more importantly avoid the drama.


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