Did you know that people get physically tired because of emotional factors such as boredom, frustration, and anxiety? True intellectual stimulation, on the other hand, doesn’t exhaust us at all. The first time I heard this, a lightbulb went off. It occurred to me that I could write nonstop for 8 hours and then run a 5K immediately afterwards, yet after spending a few hours at my corporate job I could barely drag myself to the train station.
Let’s get real, though. In today’s business world, compelling work is sometimes in short supply. But if there’s one thing to take away from this column, it’s that you can choose your response to your environment, and you have more control than you think. If your work is getting you down, look for ways to expand your skills and responsibilities and communicate actively with your managers about how and where you can lend your expertise. This might include volunteering for a cross-functional task force or devising a new process or product that will allow your organization to run more efficiently. Also, consider signing up for any personal development or leadership courses your company offers so that your mind gets exercised outside of your cube.
On days when you’re feeling particularly ornery, you might try this strategy: pretend it’s your first day of a new job, and imagine approaching every task with confidence, eagerness, and enthusiasm. You are full of ideas and you feel that you are making a genuine contribution. In many cases, the simple act of changing your energy and your way of thinking about your job can actually shape your situation for the better.