I don’t feel that Steve Jobs should necessarily be seen as the icon of work philosophy, but he certainly changed the world. He once said, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you will never stick it out.”
He was essentially saying that owning a business or doing anything significant in your field is hard. If you don’t have a passion for it, you probably won’t hang in there through all the hard times and long hours and difficult tasks that are required.
I think that there is another very important reason to have passion: it makes you interesting. When your passion shows at work, it draws people to you, both clients and employees.
But for many PTs it can be hard to find passion in the day-to-day grind. Perhaps it was once there. Sunday nights were happy times because you were excited to get back to work on Monday morning. Now Sunday nights may find you uneasy because you aren’t really fired up about all that lies before you at the office.
What can you do to regain passion at work?
One often proposed method is to go away to a great Continuing Education course. I think we have all experienced that: you learn some really interesting content and can’t wait to get back to try it out on some patients or teach it to staff. It can work really well, but it can also be hard to find, and attend, the right course.
Find a way to bring that into your work. When you do that, it will make you interesting and some people will be drawn into your area of enthusiasm.
Here’s an example: I know a PT who is a bit of a conspiracy theorist. Let’s call him Fred. Fred doesn’t necessarily believe all the conspiracies he likes to research and talk about, but he really loves to keep an open mind. He finds the topics fascinating and thought provoking.
Fred brings these conspiracies into his work. He will often talk about them in a funny and interesting way that just gets people thinking. He really enjoys the conversations and it certainly makes his clinic a more stimulating place to be.
Now, obviously Fred needs to be a little bit careful. It is possible that one conspiracy could offend a patient. I recall one time that a patient was indignant about one of Fred’s theories. But maybe Fred’s clinic shouldn’t be for everyone. Maybe it’s OK to alienate some folks. After all, should we really try and be everything to everyone? I think that’s a sure way to become mediocre.
So what is it outside of your work and family that fires you up? Maybe it’s just something that you dream about. I know another PT that really wanted to sail across oceans, but he didn’t have a boat yet. He decorated his office with pictures of sail boats. It made his clinic stand out but more importantly it started a lot of conversations and made the day way more interesting. He was operating in his passion.
Think of something that is often on your mind and when you think of it, it takes you to a slightly different level of energy. Maybe it excites you or maybe it makes you relaxed. It could be a hobby, a sport, a craft, an adventure, a cause, a type of music. Whatever that thing is that appeals to you, it helps to make you special.
Now embrace that passion and find a way to bring it into your work life.
- Show off your hobby at work.
- Create a clinical program for the sport you love.
- Plan a group trip on the adventure that you are excited about and invite staff and patients.
- Organize a fundraising event for the cause that is on your mind.
- Play some of your favorite music in the clinic.
- Schedule an outing to your passion if it is local.
Don’t be afraid of letting your personality shine through. It makes you different, memorable and authentic.
If you are feeling like there is no room in your day to add another thing like this, maybe it’s time to let go of some of the things that you don’t like about your work. Maybe there are tasks that you don’t love doing that you could unload to someone that has expertise in that area. That would free you up to be able to bring passion back into your life, love your work day again, and be someone that people are drawn to.
What to do now to add passion to your work life:
- If you can’t imagine adding another thing like this to your day, write down the work tasks that you really don’t like. Email those tasks to me. I would be glad to help determine if they are items that could be done by someone with expertise in that area.
- If you do have a little time-margin this week, think about what it is that you are passionate about. Decide on one way to bring that into your work life. If you want some ideas about how to do that, email me. I’d love to help.