Friday, February 18, 2005

Headrush has a great post today:

"So that's the question... how do you keep your work feeling inspired and passionate? Fresh? If you're a manager, what can you do to help your employees stop sliding into the phoning-it-in stage? Obviously putting them under constant stress isn't the right idea, but what about making sure they have chances to have variety in their work, or at least occasional chances to work on a different kind of project or role, at least temporarily, to step back and look at their work differently.
How can you keep your own work from suffering from phone-it-in? What can you do so that when you sing to that audience after twenty years, you leave them feeling as though this was your debut night, and they were the most special audience you'll ever play to?"

How DO you do that? When a job, a lifestyle, a friend, a hobby etc. is new, it's easy to feel excited, energetic and passionate. You hop out of bed in the morning with boundless enthusiasm for the day ahead because each day brings new and exciting opportunities. When an activity becomes routine however, motivation wanes, and just getting out of bed in the morning can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. The post in headrush today uses the experience of going to see really good bands play to illustrate the magic and connectiveness that can happen when activities do not become routine (even after the band has played the same song one million times - ie. ever seen the Rolling Stones play live?)

But most of us will argue, passion is easier said than done. One comment after Kathy Sierra's post in headrush stated that if you truly LOVE what you are doing enough, then passion is easy- but I'm not sure it's that simple. Love is important, yes, but it will not help you overcome all boundaries. I am thinking about work where the actions of others impact your own progress. Even in the band example: you can love to play music, but if the people you are playing with are difficult to work with, or put unreasonable demands on you then the gig can feel like work. In regular jobs too, if you feel that you are UNABLE TO LIVE UP TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL (here Mr. Self-actualization rears his ugly head again) then it is hard to stay passionate for extended periods of time. So Love is important but without the Freedom and Ownership of your own work/life, passion may be out of reach.

So to answer the question posed in the quote: Please give me room to learn, grow and explore. Let me take responsibility for myself and my work. If I make mistakes let me fix them. Let me also do for my audience (customer) the work that needs to be done without bureaucracy or politics getting in the way, and let me experiment and have fun. Then I will be present and passionate every working day.


Blogger Rosa Say said...

Aloha Jay,
I found your blog by clicking on your comment at Headrush. It's because of the frustration similar to yours that I started my management coaching business, because I love seeing the great things that happen when people are managed well. What is truly great, is when people like you offer up concrete, straightforward suggestions versus just complaining about things, and I thank you for that.
You've hit on a couple of things with your post, and I'll be back to visit more often.
Rosa Say

9:04 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Hey, first comment! :-)

Thanks Rosa - I have not had as much time as I would like to read your beautiful blog yet, but I loved your post about really being "present" every day - I think these things apply to life as well as work.

Thank you for letting us know you're reading :)

from J + N

12:21 PM  

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