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How to find inspiration in a job you don’t love

It’s what we do day in and day out. We work it 9-5, every day of the week (and sometimes, weekends too). For all of us, it’s the thing that brings home the bread and the bacon. For a lucky and inspiring few, it’s a calling that’s 100% aligned to his or her passion: living your destiny and getting paid for it. That’s the dream, right? But in reality, for many, work is often a means to pay the bills; something to help you stay afloat and, simply, get to the other side of the month — and your rent. So when your work works like this, and it’s nothing you really want but everything you really need, can you still feel inspired? Does your job need to align with your purpose in order to feel fulfilled, happy, and still make a difference?

To answer this, let’s start by talking about the difference between the two.

Essentially, your job is what you do. It’s why you were hired and, day by day, week by week, it’s the task list you need to drill through to fulfill your roles and responsibilities. Think of it as a checklist, and why you get paid.

Your purpose goes deeper than that. Your purpose is aligned with a sense of passion and knowing that, through the work you do, you’re creating something bigger than you; something you’re a part of; something that has an impact. As an example: You’re a killer salesperson who’s in it to win it and you do what you do to seal the deal so that you can bring in extra cash for the business to help and see it grow. Or, you’re a call center agent who turns a very difficult customer into an advocate for life because you want to be part of building a brand that you love, a service that stands for something — and you get a kick out of it, every single time. This is purpose and through your purpose, you find what sits deep in the heart of fulfillment: you find meaning.

More and more, we as human beings are questioning why we are here and, in our work, this can mean looking for and needing something more than money. We’re looking for something that aligns with who we are, what we love, what we believe in, and who we want to be. And some are even willing to take a pay cut to get this.

But what if you’re not in a position to and you’re stuck in a job that bores you to tears and your new boss drives you up the wall on the daily? There are always things you can do to help bring meaning, purpose, and fulfilment to your work, and we’ve rounded up some of the best ones here:

Attitude is King (and Queen)

This is easier said than done but to really take control of your happiness and to feel fulfilled at work, you can start by showing up — with an amazing mindset! The simplest way to start is by committing to taking your job seriously and showing real dedication to every task at hand, no matter what. When this happens, not only does something change inside you, but it changes how you are seen too. By being present and committing to doing the best job possible, you believe and prove that your position commands respect. And respect gives all the good feeling feelings.

Make Connections

Whether it’s a conversation over a coffee with a colleague who really inspires you, receiving mentorship from one of your managers, or finding the link between your tasks and things you love to do, focus on finding connection. Connection always brings meaning, wherever we are and whatever we do.

Find Flow in Your Day

Try structuring your day in a way that allows for time to recharge, to regroup with you, and also to introduce pockets that bring you joy. It could be reading a book on your lunch break, or breaking up your day with a walk, or listening to music while working on certain tasks. These small things can energise you and help bring fresh energy (think about it like oxygen) to your role.

Stay Open

If you feel trapped in a job where no one sees you, and you truly can’t handle facing every day, remember that you own the keys to your own destiny. Stay open, stay curious, and actively look for opportunities that lift you up, and help you visualise some #careergoals that are better suited to who you are. Finding an online course that’ll open you up to a whole new level of thinking, is a great way to start. (some great ones right here!!)

Don’t Quit the Daydream

If you’ve discovered that your purpose is to dedicate your life to becoming a full-time artist but you’re stuck in a dead-end corporate job, don’t let your day job destroy the dream: Block off time before or after work to prioritise it and your art. When you can count on that time each day, you can view your 9–5 with a lot of appreciation and an understanding that it’s a means to an end: a financial boost to help you get closer and closer to creating, and living, your masterpiece.

No matter where you are, or what you do, a sense of purpose, passion and meaning is something that you have the power to create. It may not always be your dream job, but it can still make the dream work.

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