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When Career Passion Wanes, Turn Inwards

It's the ultimate starting point of any goal-setting process

By Teresa Vozza

The inconvenient truth is passion waxes and wanes, even in the most stable, loving, and highly functional relationships. There are natural ebbs and flows, with periods when the glow shines bright, and times when it starts to fade, with the reality of daily, unglamourous “routines” taking hold. Whether that’s making lunches for your kids or watching Netflix every night, the spark slowly fades. It can happen in our career too. Even if you have your “dream job,” there are going to be times when the energy and excitement is lacking. When our daily routines take hold, it feels as if there is less to learn, and we feel stuck, trapped, or caught in an endless cycle of doing. When we feel “stuck” and passion is waning, we need to turn inwards and pay attention.

I am not an advocate for staying in a career that is deadening, rather, I am passionate about successful and ambitious women discovering what “the spark” means for them. One of the things I regularly see as an executive coach is a failure to understand what “passion means. I used to think of passion as “intense and uncontrollable,” which is a recipe for burnout. Instead, I love the definition, “an ardent affection for something.”

In every dream job, there exists an element of the mundane that seeps in. Invoices need to be paid. Clients need to be called back. Business proposals need to be created. If you are a professional who has the luxury of delegating some of those tasks, that can certainly help. However, if you don’t, day-to-day details still need to be assigned. For example, I am passionate about speaking on stages, but drain easily at the thought of completing an application process, a task I choose not to outsource to my assistant. Another example is I love writing, but there are days when my mind draws a blank canvas and the thought of putting pen to paper feels excruciating. 

So, whether you are looking for another job or love your career, my question for you is: what do you have an ardent affection for? How can you actively and intentionally reignite the spark in your career? Below are three recommendations:

Understand when you’re energized
Attuning inwards, when are you most energized in the day? Is it the morning or the afternoon? What activities or tasks light you up and which ones drain you? Whether that’s writing, or rehearsing a presentation, be sure to dip into that energy renewing activity at least once daily, if you can. Knowing how to increase your energy reserves and plug your energy leaks is essential to jump-starting your nervous system.

Focus on your core desired feelings
Danielle Laporte coined the term “core desired feelings” in her fantastic book, The Desire Map. Understanding how to access and embody feeling states are the gateway to our values. Knowing how you want to feel — in your career and in your life — is the most powerful form of clarity we can have. Turning inwards is the ultimate starting point of any goal-setting process.

Use the power of a reframe
A reframe can best be described as choosing to see something in a different “frame” or under a different context. Here are examples of possible reframes you can use when passion is lacking:
I am passionate about being of service and the impact of my work.
I am passionate about the act of creating.
I am passionate about relationships. In every interaction, I challenge myself to show up in a way that makes others want to know me.
I am passionate about details. They do matter. I always commit to my best work, and I have a keen eye on the finer points that others often miss.
I am passionate about personal growth. Some activities are renewing, and others are draining, however both are teaching me what I want and what I don’t want. 

Use this period of “waning passion” as an opportunity to turn inwards and find your “spark.”

It’s there.

Unstuck yourself by asking yourself the deeper questions.