The other day I was having coffee with a colleague and she asked me how I kept my “saw sharp”. Good question. No matter how much we love our work, the day-to-day demands can eventually wear us down and make us dull.
I’ve been self-employed for over three decades and know what it’s like to lose my spark. Here are some ways I’ve found to get it back. Maybe they’ll work for you.
Working solo can be an isolating experience. Being able to meet with colleagues is a great tonic.
I get energized meeting locally with fellow personal historians. As well, being connected online through my membership in the Association of Personal Historians is a wonderful source of support and information.
Make sure you’ve got a support group that can give you an added boost when your spirits are low.
I admit that I get bored doing the same thing over and over again. Knowing this means I look for ways to build variety into my work.
I started this blog in part because I wanted to try something new. I’ve also expanded my repertoire beyond video productions to include print and audio projects.
Look for ways that you can add some new pieces to the work you do.
3. Continuous learning
I’m a perpetual student. I love to learn new things. Besides books, there are online workshops and courses that keep me up-to-date and fresh.
Another super way to keep learning is going to a professional conference. I’ve attended two Association of Personal Associations conferences. These are jam-packed with workshops and talks. Each time I go, I come away feeling revitalized.
Plan to attend one professional conference this year. You won’t regret it.
4. Time out
No matter how much you love your work, if you never take a break from it, you run the real risk of losing your spark.
For this reason I’ve built into my days and weeks “play time”. Whether it’s meditating, going for a walk, visiting with friends, or just goofing off, I get away from my work.
What kind of play time have you built into your work week?
I find that being around positive, inspiring people and reading or listening to inspiring stories does a lot to rekindle my enthusiasm.
I know I’m not alone. Over 15 million YouTube viewers have watched Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
Take the time to find inspiring stories that will recharge your batteries.
When I’m feeling flat and uninspired, I sometimes go to my “Thank You” folder. Here I keep all of the notes and letters sent to me by satisfied and grateful clients.
Reading through these brings a smile to my face and a reminder of why I love my work.
Make sure to put all your support letters in a file where you can find them. And periodically take them out and read them.
What are some of the ways you bring zest back into your work?
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