It’s Monday, and if you hate your job, there’s a good chance you’re not happy about that. We’ve all heard people rehashing that line from ‘Office Space’ (“Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays”), and winced as we smiled politely.
If you don’t like Mondays, the issue likely isn’t Monday – it’s your approach to what you do, and there’s a good chance it isn’t just restricted to your views on days of the week. The question should be ‘How do you think of what you do when asked about it?’ Do you sound apprehensive? Do you talk badly about your tasks? Your co-workers? Your bosses? If the answer’s yes…
Congratulations – you probably hate your job! (Or you’re just a miserable person)
If you hate what you do, you’re not alone – by a long shot. According to LinkedIn, 80% of people using LinkedIn hate their jobs.
EIGHTY. FREAKING. PERCENT
Further, in their 2016 rankings, sales shows up TWICE in their Top 10 Unhappiest Jobs based on job satisfaction.
With real estate as tumultuous of an industry as it can be, there’s no doubt that you’re feeling some amount of personal lag – and that’s normal.
What’s ‘abnormal’ then?
Here’s the million dollar question: Do you actually hate your job, or are you just feeling unchallenged?
First, let’s discuss professional ‘happiness’ – or lack thereof. This doesn’t have to mean you’re unhappy, it can be as simple as not feeling challenged in what you do – and as a real estate professional, your motivation literally dictates how much you can (or won’t) get done in a day. If you feel unchallenged, your motivation suffers. Badly.
Here’s a secret: Happiness can actually be counter-productive, and can make you less motivated on a long enough timeline. We refer to it as ‘getting comfortable’ and ‘going through the motions’. The more comfortable you are, the less prepared you are to tackle challenges which come your way.
Challenges quite literally make the world go ’round!
Rising to the Challenge
From an evolutionary standpoint, ‘comfort’ is little more than a series of electrical and chemical reactions which prevent the triggering of your fight/flight response. The problem is this: growth, by its very definition, is uncomfortable. Hence the term ‘growing pains’. It’s how we respond to a lack of challenging stimuli in our environment/routine – by literally not responding whatsoever.
But there’s a problem with that. No challenge = no sweet victory, or hard-fought loss due to a lack of teachable moments.
You NEED to be challenging yourself as frequently as possible if you want to determine whether you’re personally or professionally unhappy. Only through these challenges will you be able to determine if you’re actually satisfied. In the absence of discomfort, there is an absence of growth.
“When something feels too big, too out of control or too hard, remember that your mind — not something external or inherent — is filtering and deciding this. In other words, the obstacle isn’t the challenge. It’s you seeing it as an obstacle. Transform its appearance in your mind and you may transpose a solution.”
This absence of growth leads to a feeling of stagnation, which contributes to feelings of unhappiness.
So what’s the solution? THE SOLUTION IS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF THIS WEEK. It doesn’t matter how, but set a list of challenges and goals for yourself personally and professionally (make them attainable in a week), and HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE. Write them down, carry them with you, and check them off as you accomplish them. You’ll both stave off anxiety, and actually, ENCOURAGE creativity in the process.
This is thanks to small amounts of dopamine being released into your brain – and if you’re at a point where just DISCUSSING your job bums you out, odds are just a little dopamine will get a lot of mileage for you.
After a week of straight-up crushing challenges, ask yourself one question: Am I still feeling unhappy about my job (or in general?). You won’t be 100% happy, but you’ll have measurable progress to show for it, and a benchmark against which you can compare future weeks of tackling challenges. Not just that, you’ll be feeding your brain dopamine again, which is like giving protein and oxygen to worn-out muscles. As your brain starts feeding on dopamine again, you’ll feel emboldened to take on new tasks and challenges – finding for bigger and bigger hits of the feel-good chemical.
The more tasks you tick off, the better you’ll feel. That’s a scientific fact. So get out there and lay the smack down on some small personal challenges and start redefining your capacity and your comfort zone.
You’ll be amazed how quickly your outlook changes on everything, and how quickly you don’t feel like you hate your job. You just have to be willing to put in the work to get there!
Now get out there and have a great week!