Chances are you're not feeling connected to the purpose of your job.
Recent statistics indicate that one in three employees are feeling disconnected from their teams, and ultimately misaligned with their purpose at work. I guess that means there's a thirty-three point three (with a line over it) chance that's you.
So, I want to share a simple ritual that has been extremely helpful for me as I've fought hard my entire adult life to feel a meaningful connection to my work. I realize I make silly skits with my friends for a living, but it's meaningful to me, okay? The truth is, I've spent the last 20 years succeeding and failing at multiple ventures. You've seen our popular videos, but we've also made some really bad ones. I've started up and wound down multiple companies. And don't even get me started on the writing projects that are perpetually "in development." But, at the end of the day, I'm incredibly grateful for all of the twists and turns, and I feel lucky to have spent most of my waking hours working on meaningful projects that I enjoy. Because of one simple practice in my life, I've consistently been able to get back on track whenever I feel lost or disconnected. I pause. My entire career as a comedic filmmaker began in my early twenties as a result of a pause. I was having great success making corporate videos, but something about that career path felt off. I couldn't figure out why, so I quit for a month. After a few weeks of doing nothing, I got so bored that I picked up my camera and started making videos again, just for fun. Those videos were silly skits with my friends, and that's when I discovered what I really wanted to with my life: Make dumb shit. I believe I could have kept on going with the corporate video business. I was making great money and I was doing the thing I always thought I wanted to do. But if I hadn't made some space in my life to discover something new, it's possible I never would have made a single comedy sketch. Every success I've had in my career could be traced back to that one time I paused. Now it is a ritual. Whenever something seems off, I realize I need to clear the junk out my brain and make room a new, fresh perspective. Overthinking never gets me anywhere, and neither does ignoring the issue. The key to discovering new ideas, solutions, or insights is to acknowledge the problem head on, accept it, then move on. And I do this by practicing what Julia Cameron calls "morning pages" and Tim Ferris calls "getting your problems out of your head, where they'll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull." It works like this:
At the start of your day (when you wake up or when you first get to work) take a piece of paper or open up a blank document on your computer.
Just start writing. Jot down whatever is on your mind. And whatever you are pretending isn't on your mind. Your grammar can suck. No one (including you) will ever read these words again. Just get it all out.
Get rid of the paper or the document and get on with your day.
It realize this sounds too simple, but I promise if you do this exercise consistently you will give your brain more space to gain a new perspective. Since you aren't burying your problems, you'll be less inclined to waste time on meaningless tasks that you are really just doing to keep yourself busy. Those "productivity" dopamine hits are a great drug aren't they? And you'll minimize your tendency to obsessively think about your problems, because now you've created an outlet to express them. NOTE: This is not the same as journaling. These are words you will never reference again. Don't save them. What ideas are you missing out on because you aren't giving yourself space to discover them? Maybe try morning pages. You have nothing to lose but 10 minutes of your day that I bet you'd waste on something less meaningful anyway. I'll even hold you accountable for the first 30 days if you want me to. Just click here, if you want weekly encouragement to keep you going. Also, I've collected some powerful stories over the years from other people who have tried this exercise. Maybe you'll be willing to share yours. No need to spend another month of your life wondering why you feel so disconnected and/or misaligned at work!