Everyone hates their job sometimes.
It’s only natural.
Maybe your boss is giving you too much work, or your team isn’t pulling their weight, or a colleague is being difficult…but it’s usually a temporary niggle.
You go home, complain to your partner or housemate over a glass of wine, wake up the next day and you have a better day.
But what if that doesn’t happen?
If you wake up too many times in a row and don’t feel excited about working on your upcoming events, if the minutes start dragging each and every day, then you need to take a more serious look in the mirror.
As Steve Job’s famously said in his Stanford commencement speech (a must-watch, by the way):
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.“ ~Stanford University, 2005
If you’re in that situation right now, where you’ve thought ‘no’ too many days in a row, then how can you rekindle your love for events?
Why not try these 7 ways to fall back in love with events again?
Be honest with yourself
The first thing you need to do is understand what the real, underlying issues are.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship that hit the rocks, you might recognise the same pattern, where you complain about the surface stuff like leaving an unwashed mug on the side, when in reality you feel your partner doesn’t respect your space, or pull their weight around the house. The issue isn’t about a mug, it’s about something deeper.
Well the same happens in careers. You might be thinking you’ve lost your passion for events because of a difficult client, a demanding boss or a particular project not running smoothly.
But is that a cause or a symptom of your dissatisfaction?
Go deeper and ask why you’re really not fulfilled in your current role. Clients change, projects come and go, and you could even look for a new boss…but will any of those things fundamentally change the way you feel about your career?
If so, then it’s an easy fix.
If not, keep asking yourself what the real issue is, because until you’ve figured that out, you won’t be able to come up with a plan to change things for the better.
Dig deeper to find your mission
While you’re at it, think back to why you started in events in the first place. Or if you just ‘fell into it’ like so many of us do, think about the last time you were really happy in your role.
Why was that? What were you doing? Who was the event for? What was the topic?
Try and put these things together to understand what intrinsically motivates you. What do you really care about? What do you want to achieve with your career?
It’s hard to feel connected with our work if we don’t know what our deeper mission is. If we lose sight of our mission, and we start working for nothing more than the pay cheque, then there’s a good chance this will be weighing down on you.
Research shows that in creative work like events, monetary incentives, after a certain point, can actually demotivate us and stop us doing our best work.
So if you’ve been chasing the money (and who can blame you if you have), at the expense of doing what you love, now might be the time to reconnect with your mission and start prioritising fulfilling work again.
Shake things up
It’s easy to get into a rut, especially when we find our niche; something we do consistently well in.
Where’s the incentive to continue to experiment and open ourselves up to the potential of failing? Much better to repeat what works and enjoy a feeling of mastery.
The only problem with that is we also get bored easily.
Humans crave novelty and new experiences (isn’t this why the whole events industry is thriving after all), and this basic human behaviour applies in our jobs as well.
Too many days of doing the same thing will eventually wear away at us, and that feeling of ennui will descend on us like a grey mist.
The only way to shake it off? Shake it up and try something new!
Experiment. Change. Innovate.
Whether it’s something as small as taking a new route to work, or forcing yourself to not at eat at your desk, these insignificant changes can start to open us up to new horizons and bring novelty back into our day.
If you think you’ve stagnated in your career, and that’s what is causing you to feel less enthused about organising event, then it’s time to become a student again and challenge yourself to be better.
Talk to your boss about taking on new responsibilities, sign up for a training session or sign up for an online course you can take in the evening.
The events industry is full of opportunities to learn and challenge yourself!
So long as it’s interesting, stretches your skills and hopefully adds another string to your career bow, learning something new will no doubt relight a fire in you and open you up to new possibilities and ways to do things.
Rebuild passion with small wins
There’s a wonderful essay by Oliver Emerton that does a great job of explaining how to find your passion.
For me one of the key take-aways is that passion isn’t some mysterious, fully-formed thing just waiting to be discovered, like a unicorn.
Passion is built and nurtured over time, and a key ingredient to something growing from an interest or a hobby into a full-blown passion is a success.
Why would anyone be passionate about something they’re terrible at doing?
The same goes for our jobs.
Now I’m not saying you’re rubbish at your job!
But if you’ve stopped seeing a consistent ‘win’, then you need to find a way to build these wins back into your day, then recognise and celebrate them.
Even if your job doesn’t naturally lend itself to being metrics and KPI driven, find something that you can measure yourself on and set about getting better at it.
This feedback loop then kicks off a dopamine inducing reward cycle that should help you stay motivated and rekindle your passion in what you do.
Numerous studies have found loneliness can be as harmful to us as some serious medical conditions such as obesity; and can cause a lot more serious side effects too, from sleep deprivation to lower immunity.
It makes sense that feeling isolated in your role would therefore also have negative consequences.
The answer? Reach out to others in a similar role and connect with them.
It should be easy enough to do with LinkedIn (we’ve even written about how you can connect with anyone using it).
But don’t just keep it online. Go grab a coffee with them. Or a beer after work.
Building real, offline friendships with those who understand what challenges you face in your day-to-day role could be an immense relief and really help you to fall in love with your profession it again.
When you’re feeling frustrated friends can remind you it’s not so bad; they bring humour to difficult situations; and they can help you find solutions to problems just by listening (chances are you already know what to do, you just need to talk it through).
If you want to connect with fellow eventprofs in the real world, then follow our #eventschat hashtag (and @EventbriteUK), as we run monthly educational and networking events for the community for free, so why not come along to our next one (you can RSVP for it here).
Take a break
Sometimes you just need to put some distance between yourself and the issue at hand.
It can help you get perspective that you couldn’t find otherwise.
After all, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ and by taking some time out you should be able to think more deeply about what the real issues are, and what your mission is (going back to my earlier points).
There’s no right amount of time when it comes to taking a break either.
Just a week’s break in the sun might be enough to recharge the batteries and come back enthused, while in some cases you’ll need months. Only you can know that, and the timeframe will probably be fluid.
But if you need to take a break, then you need to take a break.
On your return you should be ready and willing to fall back into love with events again.
Realising you no longer love what you do is a hard feeling, but it doesn’t have to be the end either. It’s in your control to change.
Try taking some of the steps above, and hopefully you’ll be able to recapture the magic you once felt for putting on events.
Share you stories of falling back in love with events again in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share you experiences with us.