How To Keep Work From Becoming A Grind by Erik Wahl

Is your work a spark or a grind?

I’ve worked with tens of thousands of business professionals over the past decade. The vast majority of them have the most honorable intentions. They entered the workforce with a deep desire to impact change. They wanted to make a difference.

But, for any number of reasons (institutional complacency, corporate cultural resistance, over-regulations in the marketplace, increased competition, budget cutbacks, etc.), they have lost their inspiration. And without that spark, work has become a grind.

While your company’s success might be a respectable, short-term motivator, working for the company’s sake is not enough. You must be working toward your own personal growth and development. When you rediscover that spark, the company benefits from your continuous improvement. It’s not the other way around.

Well-meaning professionals are subsequently left with motivators like the company’s profits and its statement of purpose—noteworthy factors but not personally moving factors—certainly not enough to spark a worker to soar to become the best possible version of who they were designed to be.

The truth is that to unearth your greatest spark for innovation, you have to set your company’s mission statement aside and delve deep within your why. Why do you do what you do? You have to return to that beginner’s mind, when you dreamed about what you wanted to be when you grew up. You need to remember what mattered first, not what matters right now. The tyranny of the urgent needs to be supplanted by the tyranny of the ultimate. What ultimately matters . . . to you?

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