No matter how much I try not to, every so often I fall out of love with my work. As much as I thought I was a super human. I am guilty of not loving the idea of Becoming an Actor ALL the time.
The thing is….. The passion of Acting (the degree I received at NIU) is something that becomes a dreaded chore. I avoid it like a pile of dirty dishes glaring at me out of the corner of my eye as I stealthily slip by.
I’m not proud to admit this either. After all, what I teach in these articles and at LTN is all about working on your own terms and waking up excited about what you get to do.
When I fall out of love with my work it seems like there are so many other interesting things I could be doing. An interesting documentary on Netflix, an audiobook I just downloaded, a nice workout, a good clean around the house even though I HATE CLEANING.
(no matter how much the TRASH GLARES AT ME).
As Steve Jobs said, when that goes on more than a few days in a row I have to stop and ask myself “why?”
What is it about my work that I’ve come to HATE? Why am I feeling so much resistance? Is there some way that I need to grow or shift directions?
Beyond the glorious blast-off
I think there’s a striking difference between when you start out working toward a dream and when it’s actually gotten off the ground; when it’s moved from a nebulous sketch inside your imagination, to a fully operating vision that now has a life of its own.
When no one’s watching, it’s easy to stay excited, enthused, engaged. Anything is possible.
When you have an audience, when you have classmates/ colleagues, people have put their faith and trust in you, expectations can suffocate the excitement you once had.
It’s troubling to take risks when people are watching. It’s hard to stay vulnerable, true, honest. It’s so much easier to put on a show and act like everything is always incredible.
But with time, things change
Sometimes what you thought you loved changed. Sometimes you change.
You put ridiculous expectations on yourself, like:
- I need to get things done, why can’t I just create more?
- I should be more excited about this, why can’t I just be automatically on FIRE every time?
- Why can’t I be more gentle with myself? That’s definitely what I should be doing after all. (Going robbed every night at 5:30 AM takes a toll on you.
- I should appreciate people more. Why don’t I appreciate the people I work with? Maybe then I would be more excited.
- I get distracted too easily. This shouldn’t happen. I need to stop it.
- (Shiny red ball syndrome)
- I am not giving this all I really could give it. Why don’t I push harder, why don’t I try harder?
And with this mental image relaying incessantlynof where you think you should be, or how can we expect to love or even like our work?
With all those expectations and pressures, what we once loved turns into a hell we’d rather escape from. Like a lover that continuously nags or berates us, we naturally come to despise them. “Why can’t they just accept us? Why can’t they just let us be?”
If you want to fall back in love with your work (and if you really truly still love it), the first step is to stop being such an asshole.
No, I’m serious. Give more
Untie yourself from all the shoulds. Kill your so called expectations. Have a funeral for your quotas
And freakin breathe dude
Reconnect with why you actually fell in love with your work in the beginning. What was it that attracted you to your craft?
What made you hope and pine to get to know it better, to obsess and explore every facet possible?
And rather than expecting yourself to experience that firework display of infatuation that you felt on the first date, sink into a nourishing, beautiful and sustaining love that can be a companion for a life time.
If you want to rekindle a relationship with your work, you need to show up to your relationship differently. We know that we can’t expect to come to our partner or loved ones making unrealistic demands and yelling out for things to happen or else. You can’t expect it to really work that way with your relationship to your passions either.
Okay, Logan. Just give us the Answer already!!!!
How to fall back in love with your work
Rather than coming to your work with expectations and unreasonable demands, focus on how you can nurture the passion that brought you together. How can you begin to make dents so you can start seeing results again?
Here’s some practical suggestions:
- Learn something new about your work. Get re- inspired. Read a new book on your topic; read several. Listen to a podcast on the subject. Attend a class, meetup or seminar and pretend that you’re connecting with it for the first time.
- Curiousity didn’t kill the cat in this story. Like a kid with deep passion for having fun. Hone in on experiencing it with a state of curiosity and exploration. Create a new experiment.
- Teach others. Connect with a complete novice in your field. Offer to mentor them and soak up some of their enthusiasm and excitement.
- Ask how you can nurture your passion, rather than expecting the flame to be automatically lit.
Be conscious of your outcomes. Maybe you’re being unreasonable, or maybe you have the wrong goals.
And remember that the absolute quickest way to kill your passion is by comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others. Stop that BS, NOW. Focus on your art, your craft, your vision. The rest will follow.
I’m not perfect, so so far from perfect, but these are some of the things that help me fall back (and stay) in love with my work. Because I also fall out of love with it at times.
Now it’s your turn: How about you? Do you ever fall out of love with your work? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.