Re-engage yourself by sending your brain in a positive direction

Three years of a dismal economy has worn down a lot of people.  While some people (about 20% according to most engagement surveys) have maintained their passion, a large majority have lost their mojo.  Tired of a flat attitude and just going through the motions?  Here’s a three-step process for jump-starting your work environment.

Rediscover your passion

Just about everyone has had a motivating work experience sometime in their lives.  (If you haven’t, give me a call and we’ll talk.)  For many of us though, that experience may have occurred long ago in the past.  Your first task to jump start your work environment is to rediscover that passion. When was the last time you truly loved a job? Make sure it’s a real example.

The reason I’m asking for a specific example is because I want to find a time when you actually experienced the environment you’d like to recreate.  Your past behavior is the best predictor of your future behavior.  If you want to know what would create an engaging environment now, identify a time when you were engaged in the past.

Now, here’s the second part.  What was it about that job that made it so great?  Be a good detective.  Don’t overlook any clue.  (Here are a couple of possibilities I’ve heard from others if you’re having trouble identifying your personal motivators off of the top of your head.)

  1. My boss cared about me as a person
  2. My colleagues cared about me.
  3. The work was very meaningful
  4. It was a fun, collaborative environment.
  5. I had a lot of freedom and authority in how I did my work.
  6. The work was varied and interesting.
  7. I had a clear sense of what I was trying to do.
  8. I was growing and learning a lot.
  9. I felt involved and in the know.

Develop a plan

Now that you’ve got some data, it’s time to take some action.  What can you do to build those components into your current job?  Two cautions; don’t look outside yourself and don’t focus on what you don’t have.  You are looking to re-engage yourself—not discover what is wrong with your present environment or what others should do.

Instead, think of ways that you can build more connectedness, growth, meaning, and involvement into your present job.

Work the plan

Your last step is to take some action this week.  What can you do to reconnect with your boss or colleagues?  How can you rediscover the meaning in your work?  What steps can you take to provide some growth and variety in your work environment?

Happiness is a discipline

Taking action is one of the great antidotes for worry—and taking action in a positive direction is especially beneficial.  (Don’t you feel a little boost already—just thinking about it?)

Shake the rust off of your positive attitude.  Send yourself in the direction you want to go.

16 thoughts on “Re-engage yourself by sending your brain in a positive direction

  1. Thank you David. Your post is quite apropos to my situation and offers specific ideas to implement right now! You’re absolutely right about ‘action is one of the great antidotes for worry.’ You bring to mind Loren Eiseley’s essay The Star Thrower. I’m glad I walked this way today. Thank you!

    • Hi Jon–thanks for the “high-five” of agreement on action as one of the great antidotes to worry. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  2. Great reminders. I realized not so long ago, that no one is in charge of my happiness (both at home and work), but me. That’s it. So, no more whining, complaining, etc. about work or whatever the problem of the moment seems to be. Stand up and make it better. How you react is your choice every single day.

  3. Great and timely article. As I have been looking for new opportunities due to a recent layoff, I have gone a great deal of thinking of previous positions, evaluating not only my achievements in them (as I update my resume) but really looking at them with the perspective of hindsight and seeing what was really fulfilling about each one. Overall I have been very proud of what I have accomplished, but those positions which were the most fulfilling were those where I contributed to a larger success. I enjoy being part of something bigger. The two key points for me were #8 and #9, I was growing and learning a lot and
    I felt involved and in the know. Both of those engender respect and support.

    • Hi Laurissa–good luck with the job search. Finding a place where you can grow and contribute is a key piece to both engagement and happiness at work and in your career. Wishing you the best!

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  5. Excellent post David, thank you. I am a quality systems manager for a business unit within a global company and also supervise the administrative staff for the local engineering office. One aspect of quality improvement that I am investigating in the upcoming quarter is how to improve our working environment quality (both physical facilitiy aspects, as well as employee morale/engagement). Your post was a timely foot-up on finding/creating an effective discussion framework for a conversation/lunch&learn session for the employee engagement half of next quarter’s goal.
    P.S. If you tracking journey data, I arrived here via the Employee Engagement Network home page.

  6. “Shake the rust off of your positive attitude. Send yourself in the direction you want to go.”

    Love that line! It’s like the Henry Ford “if you think you can, or if you think you can’t – you’re right” – or the Zig Ziglar “your attitude determines your altitude.”

    Good refresher for all of us. Thanks for posting!

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