Most of us wake up every day in the same place, listening to the same sounds. We follow unchanged routines as we prepare for the day ahead. If a friend were to ask you about your life, you’d probably shrug and say, “Eh, nothing much’s happening.”
But that rut takes a toll. I know that when my life starts to feel mundane, I can let the passion for what I do wane. You’ve felt it, too—that moment when your ability to think creatively and your normally supportive personality slips away.
Our frustration with everyday life can cause anger. We stop helping others to serve our own selfish needs, thinking that will solve the problem—and, yet, we’re still lost. Why? It’s because our passion and creativity were born from helping others. And, trust me, when you lose that passion, it profoundly affects your life on the job and those around you.
Groundhog Day at the Dealership
I remember when it happened to me. After several years of consulting, I was starting to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Do you remember that movie?
The plot always resonated with me. Murray plays Phil Connors, the salty weatherman who finds himself stuck repeating February 2 over and over again. At first he’s pretty angry and self-destructive, but caught repeating the daily loop, he finally discovers fulfillment in helping others.
After several years of dealership consulting in the field, the repetition of my work was starting to get to me. Then, like Murray’s Phil Connors, I realized the true value of service. If I wanted to make significant change happen in a dealership, I had to commit to making a difference in someone else’s life. I had to actively decide to move beyond the day-to-day repetition I was experiencing and choose instead that I was going to adopt a meaningful and positive attitude that would encourage others.
Just like the movie, I only had a day at each dealership to make all of the pieces fit together and help the customer. In order to do my job well, I needed to use that limited time to inspire my clients and foster their passion for change.
When I redirected my focus on the assistance I was providing my clients, my attitude dramatically improved. I found my creativity had returned and the passion for my work not only alive and well, but deepened into a calling. It’s all about helping others.
Escape from self-serving patterns
One day the repetition of your work is going to get to you. You’ll experience a personal Groundhog Day, and feel trapped in a world you created—and you’ll most likely feel like what you do makes no difference to anyone. It will be, in a word, horrible.
But when that happens, think about all of the things that you can do for others that will inspire them. Challenge yourself to work in service to others, not just in service of your career goals. When we help others achieve their goals, or inspire them to chase their dreams, there is a multiplying effect—one that fuels the fire and creativity in others—that in turn fulfills our own lives.
In any long-term career—whether in automotive or another field—you’re going to face times of frustration in your work. How have you rediscovered your passion for work? Did you, like Rick, discover meaning from helping others? Tell us your story here.