Some of the perkiest go-getters among us seem preconfigured that way, born into this 21st century of 24-hour workdays with eager eyes and battery lives far hardier than their BlackBerrys’.
For the rest of us, we find our pluck in that last slurp from a plastic coffee cup. But career counselors say there are healthier ways to administer a kick of enthusiasm. Here are four counselor–recommended tips to upshift your engine without blowing the transmission.
1. Find meaning in the drudgery
Start by acknowledging the larger purpose behind your daily drudgery, advises Barbara Glanz, author of “180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm.”
“Put a picture on your desk of whoever the person is whose life is going to be better because of the work you do,” she suggests. “Do that to remind yourself that you’re doing this for a bigger calling.”
2. Take on new responsibilities
If your daily duties read like a chore list, try tacking new tasks onto your to-do list. “Often, what motivates people is that they can find in their jobs room for growth and challenge,” Massachusetts-based career coach and psychologist Christiane Turnheim notes.
The trick is scripting a diplomatic way of telling your superiors that the job they’ve given you is anesthetizing your brain. “Don’t go in and say, ‘I’m feeling bored,’” she recommends. “Stay with the positive. Say, ‘I would like to give more to the company.’”
3. Connect with co-workers
Sometimes, let’s be honest, a job feels like mental torture by another name and higher pay grade.
That’s why Turnheim counsels workers to “organize a group lunch one Friday each month. [Make it] a place for people to get recognized for what they do.”
“That,” she adds, “is one of the most important needs that people have in the workplace.”
4. Have a fulfilling ‘real life’
Sometimes what drains us isn’t what we lack in our workday, but what we lack when it ends. Make sure your off-hours are packed with mirth and meaning. “What people often do on the weekend is they don’t go out, they sleep longer, and something is missing,” Turnheim says. “You need something in your life that inspires you, no matter if it’s going out and meeting people or going hiking.”
However you spend your Saturdays, watch what you’re eating, she adds. “Our diet contributes to our mental state,” she explains. “Even chocolate is proven to leave you feeling more optimistic.”