Do you love your job because you’re good at it, or are you good at your job because you love it?
I love what I do. I love it, and I’m good at it. I’m not sure which came first (chicken/egg) but I’m fortunate to have both elements. But what if one of them was missing? What if you were good at something but didn’t love doing it, or loved doing something, but weren’t good at it?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”X3cKB” via=”yes” ]Do you love your job because you’re good at it, or are you good at your job because you love it?[/ctt]
Here’s how you can achieve that perfect balance: not only being good at your job but loving it, as well.
Problem #1: Good at your job, but don’t love it
My technical skills are good. I’m skilled in Microsoft Office, computers, and generalized technology. But I don’t love teaching those skills any more. I know a ton of apps and software programs, and I can use the programs well, but I don’t love it when they’re always changing things and I have to learn new ways of working with them.
Teaching people how to use technology took me from Executive Assistant to “Trainer Extraordinaire” back in the late 1980s. I helped people transition from whatever manual system they were using to an automated system. That was back in the days of WordStar and DOS. And not only was I good at it, I loved it at the time, too. However, for a variety of reasons, I stopped loving it.
How do you get the love back? How do you re-energize yourself to become more enamored with the work tasks you’re good at?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”8UDaV” via=”yes” ]How do you get the love back for your job? You’re good at it, but don’t love it.[/ctt]
- Manage your Stress. One of the reasons I stopped teaching technology was because it caused a lot of stress in my life. I found that I kept running into “that student” who needed to prove that she was smarter than me, asking all kinds of questions I didn’t know the answer to, not because she really wanted to know the answers but to show me up.
It used to bother me, because I thought it was my job to always be the smartest person in the room when I was teaching. So I would study every nook and cranny of each program I was teaching, just so I would never be stumped during class. I hated that stress, and it eventually caused me to dread teaching those programs.
Stress can really make you dislike a job. Maybe you are good at taking minutes, but hate actually taking them; maybe you think they have to be perfect every time. If you remove the stress that has been built up from taking minutes, you will probably enjoy your job more. Try to realize that you don’t have to be perfect; if you make a mistake it will be corrected and you won’t lose your job or go to jail! Once you think about the stress the task is causing you, you can likely find a way to remove it—even if it’s just reframing your expectations of the job. Then, you may not dislike the task as much. We tend to put unreasonable expectations on ourselves, which often takes away the joy.
- Change your mindset. The more you tell yourself that you hate doing something, the more you will hate it. So stop telling yourself that. If you dread budgeting season and you constantly tell yourself that you dread it, you are making it worse.
Instead, change the pattern. Affirmations work. Tell yourself something positive about the task you don’t like doing: “It’s a good thing I’m good at budgeting. It is essential to my role.”
- Don’t multi-task when you’re doing the task you hate. When you multi-task, you are dragging out the amount of time the task actually takes, and it will often seem much worse than it is.
If you hate scheduling for your executive, make sure that when it is time to play schedule-Tetris, you aren’t doing anything else, like booking meeting rooms at the same time. Get in and get it done, and you’ll dislike the task a little less because it won’t take you as long.
Problem #2 – You love your job, but aren’t good at it
Maybe you love event planning and get all excited about organizing events, training, and parties. But just because you love it, it doesn’t mean that you’re good at it.
The trick is to admit that you aren’t as good as you should be at whatever task it is and then take the following steps:
- Seek out a mentor. Find someone who is good at whatever task you enjoy and ask them to point out where you are not doing as well as possible.
For instance, I coach admins to start their own virtual assistant business. Many people want to have their own business, and they’re in love with the idea, but they can’t see what they are doing wrong, or what they need to do next. I help them see that.
Ask them for feedback from others as to what went well in a specific situation, and what didn’t go well. Be open to their feedback, and if you can, get a mentor who can be very specific with their advice to you.
- Be a life-long learner. Subscribe to newsletters (such as this one), watch videos, sign up for conferences, workshops, and take as much training as you can.
If you love Excel but aren’t a superstar, then start following Excel experts on social media. Watch videos on YouTube or follow along with the instructions online. Buy a book. Learn more so you can get better.
- Get back to basics. Somewhere along the way, you decided you really enjoyed a particular work task, so you fast-forwarded your learning curve, but forgot the basics along the way.
For instance, social media for business might be something you love doing for your company because it is a great fit with your social personality. However, you’ve noticed that what you are doing doesn’t seem to be working for the company. It is taking up a lot of your time, and the results from it are not what you were hoping for. So, go back to the basics of social media and see where you’ve stopped applying them. For instance, hashtags or no hashtags—and if so, which ones? When to Tweet, what social media platforms to use, how to create automatic posts … these are all things you likely did in the beginning but once you became more proficient at social media, you may have forgotten about them. Make sure your fundamentals are solid before you try to learn more; then, you might find that you are more proficient than you were in the past.
In a perfect world, we would not only love what we do, we’d be good at it. But of course, we’re human and we don’t live in a perfect world. So we need to do what we can to love what we do, and be good at it.