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Three Ways You Can Fill An Empty Passion Bucket

A few years ago, I listened to a lot of political talk radio. In an age when a bunch of my peers were listening to podcasts and that sort of thing, I was trying to dial in the static on the AM radio. I stopped listening to political talk radio because it is terrible. Now I listen to sports talk radio. It is still terrible but I feel better listening to it because I am not laughing at real problems anymore.

Anyway, I am a big fan of Dan Patrick’s sports talk radio show and he had on Rick Neuheisel, the football coach fans in the Pac-10 love to hate, and he said something about having his passion bucket full before playing USC. Basically, your passion bucket is the measure of passion you have for something and to play USC and be successful, that has to be full because you aren’t going to be as talented as they are most years.

But let’s say you’re in a crappy job, with crappy hours and you’re uninspired. Your passion bucket is empty. And if you can’t just switch jobs when you’re bored or unhappy because some blogger says you should (damn reality!), you don’t have to be miserable and passionless. Here are three choices you can make right now to start filling your bucket:

1. Love The One You’re With

So you’re at a crappy job and the economy stinks and all you can think about is how you’ve submitted a million resumes and nobody is calling you. Or you’re unemployed and you’re in the same situation. Find ways to strive and thrive in your environment and make the best of your current opportunity. That means enrich yourself, be a superstar and work hard when it seems impossible to do so. Network and become friends with likeminded colleagues. Every time you think negatively about your current position, think about two things you like about it. It feels impossible but that’s only because you are making it that way. Making the best of your current situation will help make you more passionate about it.

2. Plan And Make Your Next Move

You want out of your current job but instead of thinking rationally, you just start blanketing your resume everywhere within a 50 mile radius. Or you quit and decide you’d rather work at a coffee shop than your current employer. The problem that many people encounter is that this doesn’t seem to fix the problem. They are still unhappy only now they now have a new job and they can’t do the same thing again. Planning your next move (including determining whether you want to continue in your field) and preparing yourself (including schooling) can usually be done with a lot less stress while you hold your current position. Â Making plans about your future as a teacher or accountant, going to school can help you stay passionate when you can feel like your current stop is a temporary one.

3. Find Inspiration Outside Of Work

I know some of us in HR love to think that work is the center of your life but the third option is, at least in my opinion, the easiest way to become passionate again. I don’t know what you like to do but I love to do a lot of things: guitars, hiking, basketball, cooking, reading, writing and spending time with my family and friends. I have friends that mentor high schoolers or volunteer for a church or play softball with friends. And while work may not be the most inspirational or passion inspiring activity, you can always go back to those activities and refill your passion bucket. Unlike work, you may have more control over your situation there as well.

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How do you keep your passion bucket full during less than inspiring times?

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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