What do you do if you notice your enthusiasm and energy waning regarding work that you have historically enjoyed and found challenging? This is not unusual. Whether you are an executive taking an organization in a new strategic direction or an emerging leader focusing on your daily responsibilities, it can happen.

In fact, over 50 percent of the leaders that I have encountered shared with me that they experienced waning enthusiasm and energy during their careers. The most common time for this occurrence was when these individuals had been striving toward an objective for an extended period that involved overcoming some form resistance. This resistance ranged from overt opposition to a new way of running the business to someone simply being a roadblock because this person’s recommendation was not pursued.

When the leaders let the waning enthusiasm and energy get the best of them, at least one of two things happened. Their productivity (as well as the productivity of those they happened to manage) declined, and/or they left the job or the organization altogether. The productivity decline was frustrating for the leaders, because they were high achievers. As a result, they would beat themselves up over it which just made things worse.

Although leaving the job or organization might have helped some, this was not the case for most. Leaving the job or organization was only a short-term solution, because they frequently found themselves in the same situation in other roles. In other words, they had not addressed the root cause—the inability to be a catalyst for themselves at work.

If you have reached the point of waning enthusiasm and energy in your work, here are key actions to consider:

Prevent the Press

When you have key initiatives that are not making as much progress as you had hoped, you may find yourself “pressing.” This usually shows up as pushing yourself as well as others more for results. Pushing too much can produce aggravation which drains energy and enthusiasm. Try recalibrating your expectations, recognize what has been accomplished and look for ways to leverage positive actions that led to these accomplishments.

Adjust Your Focus

Continuing to grind away at a challenging task or initiative can lead to extreme tunnel vision. To help you manage your energy level, reallocate some of your time to work tasks that you find more fulfilling and engaging. You may be surprised how much this can impact your demeanor.

Use Your Outlets

One thing I have found with leaders who have lost some of their “mojo” is that they no longer have balance. Work has consumed all facets of their lives which conflicts with their personal values. If this is the case with you, find your outlets outside of work that help you recharge, build in time to do them on a regular basis, and then protect this time.

Unless you happen to be a leader who is super-human, your energy and enthusiasm regarding for work are not endless. While others can help you replenish them, the best catalyst you have is you.


Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

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