There was a period two years ago where I went to work, came home, plopped in front of the couch, and zoned out in front of the Netflix machine until bed. Every single day.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
The blog my wife and I started in college was winding down, and I had no feasible ideas in the bank of what to do next. I seemingly had nothing better to do other than going to work and returning 8 hours later exhausted.
It was a vicious cycle, only broken when I stopped to examine my situation.
How could sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day leave me wrecked both physically and mentally? Why did I come home from work exhausted every day?
Purpose. I wasn’t living my purpose.
Not living out your purpose sucks the life out of you. Inversely, living out your purpose is life giving.1
Your purpose gets you out of bed.
Your purpose puts pep in your step.
Your purpose motivates those around you.
The real reason you come home every day from your 9-to-5 drained, exhausted, and miserable: you’re not living out your purpose.
How do we live out our purpose?
We each have a unique mix of talents, weaknesses, experiences, and energy. This lends itself nicely to why we each have our own unique purpose.
When your job underutilizes your unique mix of stuff, you grow irritated and frustrated. Like a caged animal, your purpose wants to be set free.
Working a 9-to-5 isn’t always as bad as it seems. I enjoy mine. But the days my talent goes wasted, I come home drained. I try to look at the bigger picture. I try to appreciate the opportunity I have. But some days it doesn’t matter.
We all have these days.
But to have fewer of these days we need a strategy. A long-term goal to help us get us through the dry patches. Here are five ideas that have helped understand why I come home exhausted from work.
1. Accept every day isn’t going to be fine and dandy
Even those who get to do what they love for a living have bad days. If you are following the NBA or NHL playoffs, look at the players on the losing teams. They don’t look too happy even though they are paid millions to play a game. (I haven’t noticed, my Penguins keep winning.)
Outside forces, special circumstances, or plain bad luck play a factor in our lives. No matter how positive we try to be on the outside, sometimes these things get to us.
Realize they will happen, but at the same time accept that you can weather them.
If you can guard your pessimism and curb your optimism, you’ll strike the right balance.
2. Use what you have now to build your thing on the side
Silicon Valley is littered with success stories of folks quitting their 9-to-5 to start a new business.
What we don’t tend to hear are the hundreds of failure stories for each success.
As passionate you may be about an idea and as much as you think your 9-to-5 is holding you back from living that passion: be smart.
There is nothing more selfish for going after your dream at the expense of others.
Therefore, use whatever limited resources you have at your disposal now to build up your idea on the side. You can accomplish a lot by devoting only 20% of your waking time to your passion while spending the other 80% on the necessities of life.
3. Spend time focusing on acquiring new skills
Discovering your purpose is an amazing feeling. Executing it is another.
No matter what you feel you are called to do, you will need a certain skill set to add to your arsenal.
Does your 9-to-5 offer any free or discounted training courses?
Have you been tapped to run a team project?
Do you oversee any employees?
The workforce is a fertile training ground for growth.
4. Practice your work ethic
I believe in the next 20 to 30 years we are going to see a radical change in the way Americans work. Millennials will be at the forefront of this revolution.
I predict we will see the rigid boundaries of the 9-to-5 model melt away into a fluid work life balance.
We need to be ready.
Good, efficient, and dedicated workers will still be in demand. Therefore, developing your “head down, pound it out” work ethic is key during this time.
You may hate your 9-to-5 on the inside, but don’t show it on your outside.
5. Don’t fret over the goal, focus on the journey
No matter how tired and exhausted from work you are, don’t waste time fantasizing about how you will storm out some day in blazing glory.
For most people I’ve talked to who’ve quit their job to pursue their passion, their last day was a paperwork ridden, anti-climactic finish.
That day will come, but remember it’ll only be a step towards a greater journey.
This article originality appeared on millennialtype.com