Hello February – the month of love and passion.
This is when people get all googly-eyed and slap-happy with love or, at least, the idea of it. Whether it’s passion, love, infatuation or just a sugar rush, it starts to take over our commercials, our Insta feeds, and our beloved Target dollar spot (I mean really, if you don’t love that place you have no soul).
But sometimes love can be a hard thing to find and especially to hold on to. People fall in and out of love all the time. And we aren’t immune, particularly when it comes to our work. Our dreams start out so big and so inspiring but as time passes we get buried under the weight of the everyday and mundane that our dreams and passions start to lose their sparkle.
No fear, though, my friends. It happens to all of us at some time or another. In fact, if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. But the great thing about passion is that it can be reawakened, and the great thing about dreams is that they won’t die if we don’t let them.
Here are some tips for reigniting the passion, fanning the flame, and building the blaze of desire for your work.
Take a rest day
This may sound counterintuitive, but I assure you it works. Distance does make the heart grow fonder. All workout plans (all the good ones, at least) will have a rest day or two built into the week. Why? Because your muscles need to time to repair themselves. When you exercise, your muscles are being broken down. When you rest them, they re-cover and strengthen.
The same is true for our brains and our passions. When we exercise them, they can be weakened. It’s when we step away and rest that we re-cover and strengthen. We get stronger on the days we rest than on the days we work.
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean your rest days out number your work days… that’s completely counterproductive. But it does mean that rest days are necessary. If you are burning the candle at both ends, eventually there won’t be any candle left.
Take a rest day. Sleep in. Order take-out. Visit with a friend or let your introverted flag fly and stay home. Take a rest day and then take on the rest of your week.
Find a motivator or mentor
A mentor is someone you meet in person or converse with directly through any medium. They are an encourager but also a challenger. They will call you out when you need some criticism, they will push you when you need some motivation, and they will cheer you on every step of the way. The mentor is someone who has been where you are and knew what it’s like. They are someone who has your best interest in mind. Prioritize meeting or chatting with them (maybe a good thing to do on your rest day).
The motivator can be a mentor, but it can also just be someone you follow on social media, read their blogs, or listen to their podcasts. You don’t have to have one-on-one time with someone to gain wisdom from them. Fill up your personal feeds with people that inspire you.
These two – the motivator and the mentor – are people that help you add color back to the dream and look beyond the mundane and the everyday. They show you where you can be if you don’t give up.
Learn Something New
One of the best strategies, when you are stuck or lacking passion, is to learn something new in your field. There are opportunities all around you: local community colleges, online courses, weekend workshops, and retreats. Or, it can be as simple as a google search and try out what you read. Our minds are not stagnant things. You are either learning or losing. So keep learning.
Take time to invest in your work. This may mean you have to step out of your comfort zone. Many of us, myself included, hate failure. And trying to learn something new introduces us to the opportunity to fail at something. What if you take a stab at building your own website while taking a coding class and you completely bomb? Sure, that can happen. But then you’ll gain a new appreciation for those constructors of code and know how to look for a good one to build your site for you in the future.
I love the quote “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” (Thomas A. Edison) Maybe you’ll learn something new by learning one thing that doesn’t work for you. That’s still learning, and your brain and your dreams will thank you for it.
Reflect on Your Strengths
Maybe learning something new doesn’t fit in your schedule right now. I get it. That’s cool. But I know one thing you can find time for – reflecting on your strengths.
I love this because it takes little to no effort at all. All it takes is some quiet space and positivity. Like Peter Pan teaching Wendy to fly with a little pixie dust and happy thoughts, reflecting on your strengths, all the things you’ve accomplished, and even all the things you’ve learned will help lift you off the ground and relish the feeling of soaring once again.
The truth is, just like all good romances, passion comes easily, but it takes work to keep the love alive. If you feel the weight of your dreams starting to bear down on you, this isn’t the time to give up. It’s time to fight back. Grab some marshmallows because this fire will be burning fiercely again soon...
and I like my s’mores extra crispy.