In our careers, we'll inevitably find ourselves coasting along on autopilot at some point.
The excitement we once had for our jobs gets replaced with indifference, a poor attitude, and a lack of motivation. And when we find ourselves not as fired up about our jobs as we once were, the go-getters inside of us can get buried away. It can even reach the point where your colleagues, boss or clients begin to wonder how committed you are to your work.
Sound familiar? It does for me. Not only have I been there myself, but I've also witnessed this moment time and time again as a manager and a business owner. Especially if you are in recruiting, you may often feel this phenomenon called recruiters fatigue. It is a cyclic feeling, and however passionate you are about recruiting, you will tend to feel this fatigue once in every few years. The key is to overcome this and bounce back. I am talking about recruiting because that is something I have experienced first hand. I have also seen my friends and family go through this phase, regardless of their career.
How should one overcome this? I was taught a simple exercise by a senior industry colleague when I first spoke to him about the recruiter's fatigue.
He asked me to reflect on my performance over the last 100 days and write down answers for the following questions;
- Can you remember how fired up you were in the first year of your job? Do you carry the same levels of excitement today? How much of that person exists? Do you still have it in you to up your performance to that level?
- Has Great been replaced by good enough? Do you still go over and beyond your work, or do you stop at good enough?
- Do you still aspire to get promoted? Do you baulk at the idea of taking on new challenges because you're too comfortable and fear shaking things up? Do you feel tired, complacent, and disengaged from the organization's goals?
- Have you stopped learning? Do you get excited about developing new skills, or are you checked out to the point where you don't feel as sharp as you once did?
If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, don't panic. It's normal to feel sometimes demotivated, especially in the face of major challenges (such as a global pandemic or a difficult period in your personal life). The goal is to assess what changed—and then attempt to recapture some of that early excitement.
So let's do a thought experiment. Imagine you started your job today with the experience you have now. Envision the opportunities you could take advantage of and the powerful difference you could make.
Write those things down and read them over. What excites you the most? Because these aren't hypotheticals. This is your present-day situation. You can pursue those opportunities and strive to make those changes right now. Yes, it takes work. And no, it might not all come to fruition without obstacles or setbacks. But ask yourself this: Are you OK with the alternative of giving up?
The 100-day exercise has been effective for me over the years. Whenever I feel like I have lost steam, I try to do this exercise, and this is like holding a mirror in front of you. Once you have done this, you can feel the energy coming back, and you will recommit to your work and show up like the outstanding professional you are.