It’s easy to get deflated in business. Sometimes it’s hard to bounce back. There are many reasons why your ideas, goals and brainstorms might get shot down (or shut down) in a work environment. I’ve always compared it to “letting your cup run dry“. Whether you’re tired of doing work that gets unrecognized, get your ideas brushed under the rug, or even passed by. There’s only a certain amount of…let’s call enthusiasm you can muster before it’s all gone; and in turn, you’re cup runs dry. Some people call it getting burned out; and the outcome can make lose your passion for what you do.
It sucks because you lose motivation, in essence, to do your job effectively and you could lose interest in your job or even the field you’re working in. It can also impact the forward-progression of the company you work for. Creatively helps business strive and get a head in the marketplace. If bosses, clients, employee’s or committee’s get in the way of that creativity, the results could also effect the company you work for.
I think one of the most important things you can do is finding ways to “fill your cup” in-between these ‘deflation periods.’ Below I’ve highlighted some ways I’ve stayed motivated over the years and I hope it helps.
Simply Ask For Support.
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re leading a project or doing a project on your own, you can simply tell your boss, client, co-worker that you need support from them because you’re getting burned out. Just with a simple awareness of your mental state they may (and should) help you provide you with criticism in a different manner.
Remember That You’re Not Alone.
I know it sounds mean but sometimes you have to convince yourself that the people around you ‘don’t know what they’re talking about.’ Consider it a little bit of confidence. There’s been a number of times where I’ve suggested changes / projects that didn’t get taken seriously. I try to make it known that it was suggested at an early time and what the hazards were that made it fail when I suggested it. You don’t have to do it in a negative or condescending way, but it’s important you keep your confidence in your abilities so you don’t get burnt out. I found a hilarious article from Cracked.com titled “5 Geniuses Ridiculed And Fired For Being Right Too Soon.” Here’s a quick highlight of the 5 Genius’:
- Tons Of Channels Turned Down Breaking Bad (For Ridiculous Reasons)
- Disney Fired Pixar Founder John Lasseter For Suggesting They Should Use Computer Animation
- Ford Hated The Minivan And Fired Its Creators
- Yahoo Failed To Buy Google (Twice) And Facebook When It Had The Chance
- George W. Bush Fired His Economic Adviser For Advising Him That The Iraq War Would Be A Financial Disaster
Just because your ideas get shot down, doesn’t mean they’re not good ideas.
Simply Ask For Support.
Remember that they can’t all be winners! If you keep failing at having your suggestions being used (or taken seriously,) remember that failing is good. Here are some reminders that failure can be good:
Look For Outside Positive Reinforcement.
Sometimes when I need to keep my cup fill, I discuss my brainstorms / projects with people outside of my work environment. Whether it be my significant other or just a friend. An outside perspective may help keep your confidence about what you’re trying to accomplish.
Plus, if the brainstorm / project happens to be an actual bad idea, it may help that ‘heads-up’ from someone not on the ‘inside.’
Just do it yourself.
Sometimes I just take projects on myself because, well quite frankly, I can be bad at explaining things. Sometimes people need a visual (or in-action) representation of what you’re thinking or talking about. While some of the time it’s frustrating when you hear “I’ll know it when I see it,” sometimes it actually helps if the person is not understanding what’s in your head.
There’s been times when I’ve taken on projects on my own and then demo’d my idea rather than talking about it.
Remember Your Wins.
A short suggestion, is to remember / reflect on the times you won some over with your suggestion or idea. You could even tell your team / boss / client that you feel as confident about this new idea as you did to the previous one that was successful. One ‘win’ could be enough to keep your cup filled for a couple failures.
Maybe it’s time to leave.
I hate to even suggest this because of…well…all the reasons above, but at some point I believe someone can hit the ‘point of no return’ from being burned out (or dried up.) I think there comes a certain time where you have to analyze, and decide, if you’ve hit that point. If you have, for your own mental heath and passion for the industry you work in, you may have to consider looking for a new job. I do think this should be a last resort.
I remember a colleague who was working a job that just put her through the ringer. She was scared to quit the job because of the stability and recognition. One night we were talking and I told her that if she keeps going down this path, she was going to get to that ‘point of no return’ and she’d never end up working in that industry again. She eventually left the job, and found one that appreciated her contribution to the company (and has been moving up the ranks ever since.)
We can all have our cups run dry, no matter where we work. Find ways to re-spark your passion!