What to Do When You Fall Out of Love With Your Work

What to Do When You Fall Out of Love With Your Work

No matter how much I try not to, every so often I fall out of love with my work.

The thing that I love and cherish becomes a dreaded chore. I avoid it like a pile of dirty dishes glaring at me out of the corner of my eye as I stealthily slip by.

I’m not proud to admit this either. After all, what I teach on this blog and in Trailblazer is all about working on your own terms and waking up excited about what you get to do.

When I fall out of love with my work it seems like there are so many other interesting things I could be doing. An interesting documentary on Netflix, an audiobook I just downloaded. Even doing the dishes seems more interesting (no matter how much they glare at me).

As Steve Jobs said, when that goes on more than a few days in a row I have to stop and ask myself what’s changed.

What is it about my work that I’ve come to despise? Why am I feeling so much resistance? Is there some way that I need to evolve or shift directions?

Beyond the glorious blast-off

I think there’s a striking difference between when you start out working toward a dream and when it’s actually gotten off the ground; when it’s moved from a nebulous sketch on a folded up napkin, to a fully operating vision that now has a life of its own.

When no one’s watching, it’s easy to stay excited, enthused, engaged. Anything is possible.

When you have an audience, when people have put their faith and trust in you, expectations can asphyxiate the excitement you once had.

It’s harder to take risks when people are watching. It’s hard to stay vulnerable, real, honest. It’s easier to put on a show and act like everything is always amazing.

But inevitably, things change

Sometimes what you thought you loved changed. Sometimes you change.

You put ridiculous expectations on yourself, like:

  • I need to get things done, why can’t I just create more? (chug, chug, chug… we’re not machines)
  • I should be more excited about this, why can’t I just be automatically on FIRE every time?
  • Why can’t I be more gentle with myself? That’s definitely what I should be doing after all.
  • I should appreciate people more. Why don’t I appreciate the people I work with? Maybe then I would be more excited.
  • I get distracted too easily. This shouldn’t happen. I need to stop it.
  • I don’t give this all I really could give it. Why don’t I push harder, why don’t I try harder?

And with this mental gramophone relaying incessantly, how can we expect to love or even like our work?

With all those expectations and pressures, what we once loved turns into a hell we’d rather escape from. Like a lover that continuously nags or berates us, we naturally come to despise them. “Why can’t they just accept us? Why can’t they just let us be?”

If you want to fall back in love with your work (and if you really truly still love it), the first step is to stop being such an asshole.

Extricate all the shoulds. Kill your expectations. Have a funeral for your quotas.

And breathe.

Reconnect with why you actually fell in love with your work in the beginning. What was it that attracted you to your craft?

What made you yearn and pine to get to know it better, to dive deeper, to explore every facet possible?

And rather than expecting yourself to experience that firework display of infatuation that you felt on the first date, sink into a nourishing, beautiful and sustaining love that can be a companion for a life time.

If you want to fall back in love with your work, you need to show up to your relationship differently. We know that we can’t expect to come to our partner or loved ones making ridiculous demands and screaming for things to happen or else. You can’t expect it to work that way with your relationship to your vocation either.

How to fall back in love with your work

Rather than coming to your work with expectations and unreasonable demands, focus on how you can nourish the passion that brought you together. How can you start making deposits so you can start seeing returns?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn something new about your work. Read a new book on your topic; read several. Attend a conference, meetup or seminar and pretend that you’re connecting with it for the first time.
  • Approach your work from a beginner’s mind. Focus on experiencing it with a state of curiosity and exploration. Create a new experiment.
  • Mentor others. Connect with a complete novice in your field. Offer to mentor them and soak up some of their enthusiasm and excitement.
  • Ask how you can nurture your passion, rather than expecting the flame to be automatically lit.

Be conscious of your expectations. Maybe you’re being unreasonable, or maybe you have the wrong goals.

And remember that the fastest way to kill your passion is by comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others. Stop that, now. Focus on your art, your craft, your vision. The rest will follow.

I’m not perfect, but these are some of the things that help me fall back (and stay) in love with my work. I hope it helps you too.

Over to you: How about you? Do you ever fall out of love with your work? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

rallyrina March 6, 2012 at 2:47 am

I absolutely love it! And it couldn’t be more on time for me as well:)


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

 @rallyrina Seems like this has been pretty timely for a lot of people. Maybe this is a recurring theme? ;)

thirdtruck1 March 6, 2012 at 3:17 am

So true, Jonathan. I happened to check my novel’s word-count last night and had to make a double-take at seeing the number 70,000. Reducing my pace to half that of my NaNoWriMo rushes might have slowed my output but meant that I could write fiction every single day for over three months now. That number impresses me more than the word-count. Thanks for the advice!


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

 @thirdtruck1 That’s a huge accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourself.

JayDotThomas March 6, 2012 at 3:52 am

This is great I really like the idea of mentoring others, in order to pick up on some enthusiasm.


JayDotThomas March 6, 2012 at 3:59 am

One additional way I fall back in love is to look back in love is to talk to strangers about their dreams. Watching the discovery process helps remind me that I didn’t/don’t have it all figured out and it’s okay. It’s the journey not the destination.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm

 @JayDotThomas That’s a great idea Jay, thanks for that.

rebeccalhunter March 6, 2012 at 4:00 am

I love how timely this is. Right now, I’m avoiding getting started on a task from my coach and instead spending time surfing Facebook and reading emails… Your advice is great. I realise that I’m putting a lot of pressure and expectation on myself, and I’m actually scared to move forwards in case it doesn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped. But unless I give it a try, I’ll never know!


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm

 @rebeccalhunter Yep, and who knows, you may find that things turn out better than you could have expected.

mercurius March 6, 2012 at 4:40 am

Holding the tension between positivity & focus and being in touch with your feelings when you’re a bit down really resonates. Please do keep up with both your Passion and your Authenticity! Thanks


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

 @mercurius Hey, I do my best. I’m human too though. Thanks for stopping by man.

thelastmanont March 6, 2012 at 4:44 am

Thank you for this excellent post! I recognize all those “ridiculous expectations” all too well, as I put that burden on myself every day I wake up… I will try to take your suggestions to heart. They sound very wise.


monicaleestudios March 6, 2012 at 4:57 am

This was timely, this is the first morning when I have woken up with a sense of “What have I gotten myself into?” I am listing the tasks ahead of me and need to find some excitement. Geez, where did I put it? I think I may have left it somewhere! Thanks for the check-in. I just needed a boost this morning to shake it off and keep moving forward!


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

 @monicaleestudios Hahaha, yeah… I need to find that excitement drawer in my house too… :)

sarahwaldin March 6, 2012 at 5:12 am

Yes – ditto to all of the above – particularly the timing. I can see the expectations I have of myself getting in the way of ‘doing’ stuff that will help me reach my goals and enjoy my work. thanks!


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

 @sarahwaldin Glad that it landed with you Sarah.

ethanwaldman March 6, 2012 at 5:33 am

Whenever I start beating myself up about not being able to sit down and put in a marathon work session every day, I remember something that Clay Collins wrote in his bio:

“I can get one thing (and I mean ONLY one thing) done per day.”

So whenever I’m down on myself, I remind myself of that. Clay is extremely successful, so if just getting one thing done in a day is good for him, than it’s good enough for me.


monicaleestudios March 6, 2012 at 6:17 am

 @ethanwaldman Ok, I really like that in theory but he must not be a mother…..

Sal_Greco March 6, 2012 at 8:42 am

 @ethanwaldman Hey man!!!  That’s so FREAKING funny you say that.  I do the EXACT same thing.  
It always brings me back to clays page.  Especially when its a blog post, because he says… “if its a blog post that day, then its the only thing I can get done”.
As long as it’s a small step forward everyday huh…
Surfs up,

JennaJoy March 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

Oh boy. Falling out of love with my work is my bane and struggle! I write about gratitude as a lifestyle choice and sometimes it’s difficult for me to get excited about my topic. I oftentimes notice the irony of not being grateful for my work. 
But then I remember that I started my writing journey for myself and not for others. When I sit down with the intent of nurturing myself instead of wowing others, I bring joy to the process again. 
You know, aging is scary, but there’s a great bounty in learning life’s lessons. I’m grateful that I have the awareness to approach my work with tenderness and I’m thankful for people like you (and Ev’Yan and Leo Babauta, etc.) that continue to inspire me.


Ameena Falchetto March 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

I think the important reminder is that work IS exactly that, WORK. It’s not all fun, it can be fun, but not always.
Taking a break is important, reassessing where you are going vs. where you are at helps figure things out too.  It’s like any relationship – you have highs, lows, and blah moments. Sometimes you just need to give it a time-out! 


akaBasilBe March 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

Thanks so much for the honesty!!!  Having been stuck on the wrong track in the past it was easy to blame the sluggishness on being ” a square peg in a round hole” and then it feels like when you HAVE found your thing it should all be sunshine.  Not so!  Thanks for giving me a reality check!


Tamara_Epps March 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

Am so glad to read this as it’s something I have battled with a lot lately.  I found that when I stopped worrying about what everyone else was expecting, and focused on the creating, I started loving what I was doing again and this time it feels much more real than the flighty almost ideas I’ve had in the past, as I’m not just thinking about doing, I’m actually doing.


CiaraConlon March 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I think no matter how much you love something there will be days when it doesn’t excite you as much as you think it should,  but that is part of the natural cycles of life. There will always be fallow times when the enthusiasm and motivation eludes us. When this happens to me I don’t fight it accept it and chill for a couple of days then I do remind myself of all the reasons why I do what I do and what my goals.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

 @CiaraConlon I like your approach Ciara. It’s pretty unreasonable for us to feel like we can be absolutely on fire with our goals all the time.

Rebekka_Lien March 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I love this!! I have been working on writing my memoir, designing my logos and postcards, but somehow can’t get myself to start. I just don’t feel like it. It’s true that doing laundry does become more interesting! When I went out dancing with my friends, I realize, all work no play makes life boring. Essentially we are not defined by what we do. Sometimes we need to bask in fun and play and not think about the practicalities of life.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

 @Rebekka_Lien I’ll dance to that. :)

SquarePegKaren March 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Perfect advice here: “the first step is to stop being such an asshole.” I love that!
I’ve fallen out of love with my work many times (and I’m not fickle) – and only recently found that the fastest & quickest way for me to build passion back in is to talk about what I love (not write, not think; for me it’s got to be TALK)
I’m bookmarking this post to come back to when I need ideas for falling back in love (and, of course, for the “stop being such an asshole” reminder!); thanks for this!! 


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

 @SquarePegKaren That’s awesome Karen. I think having some type of weekly or monthly meet up with other people just to talk about the work you’re doing is critical.

struggletovictory March 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Happens more than I care to admit. Several “go to” activities help me get back in the groove. My favorites that I usually try first are reading good fiction, running or biking, hanging out at Starbucks, spending time with my husband and sons, and praying and reading my Bible. Just relaxing my mind and letting the thoughts come instead of forcing them is the key.


Oluwo Brian March 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hey Jonathan, absolutely on all points. I had one of those mornings today. Just got up thinking “Why am I doing this again?” Allowing myself to answer that question was really helpful and I went on to have a great day. I love the work because I really love transforming my clients. Whenever I get back to that it re-ignites.


jeffgoins March 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Love it. Curiosity is key, IMO.


JonathanMead March 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm

 @jeffgoins Thanks for weighing in Jeff. Really enjoyed the post you wrote on falling back in love with writing. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jason - KAC May 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Being curious is most definitely key, then following it up with passionate, purposeful action to pursue your lost love in a fiery fury!

Great article indeed, to both of you. Thanks for the inspiration .

melindatoad March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

It’s like you read my mind. Taking a simple online course or talking to another author really does lift me up. Sometimes, it’s just going outside for a walk. Thank you for the encouragement. It’s good to hear you’re not alone!


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm

 @melindatoad Thanks Melinda, glad you enjoyed it.

Paul Jun March 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hit the spot.
“Learn something new about your work.” With blogging and writing, there are so many things we can learn and do that can further benefit and strengthen our craft. We learn to intertwine different things and end up arriving creatively in our endeavours.  And definitely mentor others. At my school, there are plenty of students who don’t know how to blog and don’t know its intrinsic purposes. Telling them about how I started and what I did is such an amazing experience.
Love this post.


ErickWidman March 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Great advice – and I’ve found that positive peer pressure does wonders. When I talk with people who love the same stuff I’m doing, this gives some fresh perspective and extra energy.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

 @ErickWidman That’s true Erick. I think it’s really important to direct those conversations in the direction of the why too. Sometimes I talk to entrepreneurs and all they want to talk about is tactics, which can be pretty boring after a while. :)

Steve_Rice March 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

For me it really is about growth.  When I become disenchanted with my work it’s usually because I have become complacent in some area or another.  Or I have forgotten why the work makes me happy to begin with.  Once I remember the power of my work and why I do it, then I can evaluate more effectively whether there’s some way I can grow in order to make the work more exciting and “fresh” to me again.


struggletovictory March 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

 Oh my, you hit on something that I had not thought of and should have, how complacency in one area (even a small one) affects all other areas in major ways. There are some basic, core things that I need to be diligent with that if I don’t, other areas – such as writing – slide. Great point!

Hearn_PS March 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Yes, it is easy to fall out of love with work, especially blogging. You want accolades, attention, and a huge following, and end up getting 10 hits a week. As a result, your posting habits die down from every day to twice a week, and the enthusiasm wanes. Then you realize after three weeks of this that it isn’t helping, and the only way to improve your blog and your writing is to do it every day, and never give up. 
True story — my story.


struggletovictory March 7, 2012 at 5:49 am

 “Never give up” is a great motto for all writers. For that matter, who isn’t it a great motto for? Saved my life and my marriage.

rubybatallones March 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

It’s a recurring thing for me. Some days I wake up excited to go to work, but recently, I’ve been seeing more days when I dread it. Now I’ll revisit why I fell in love in it in the first place and see if I can rekindle the fire from there. :)


struggletovictory March 7, 2012 at 5:50 am

Sounds like being in a good marriage. Need to “rekindle the fire” as much as possible. 

littlewing1959 March 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

This is a great post and very timely. I feel so guilty when I’m in the middle of writing a book and I lose interest in plot and character. I get that “grass is greener” mindset and start plotting and scheming on my next book. It’s especially difficult these days. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone, and I’ll do my best to focus…


fillmycup12 March 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Thanks for your’ real’ post! Very refreshing. Typically becoming burnt out with your work is inevitable when tasks become monotonous or challenges turn into daily responsibilities. your open & precise take with the slow
appreciation is motivating. The minor details are what hit home the most for myself.
impressive. You resisted opting for bells and whistles pproachtional speaker


taylorjacobson March 7, 2012 at 7:06 am

I think it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes even a weeklong break can do wonders. If you’re exhausted, then go sit on the beach and relax and eat for a week. Do a meditation retreat if that’s your style. Or just address that urge that you aren’t addressing, say, to go sailing, with a week-long sailing trip. If you have to do a little pre-work to make it feasible, it’s worth it. To pick up the theme of relationships that has been running through these comments — absence makes the heart grow fonder. All things human are cyclical, not constant, and we need to create cycles for ourselves, within the course of a day, a week, a year and a career.


struggletovictory March 7, 2012 at 7:12 am

 Taking a break is such an effective way to recharge and renew yourself. I have to make myself get out of the house, or I will really get dragged down just from being alone so much. The idea for creating cycles for ourselves is intriguing. I’ll have to think about that one some more.

KyleWilliams March 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

Yeah, comparison is the ultimate killjoy.
I find that I tend to overwhelm myself with expectations and the anxiety causes me to procrastinate because I feel like I’d rather be doing something else. Usually something fun that doesn’t involve work or effort like watching a movie or playing a video game. Sometimes I beat myself up afterwards for not being the “mad scientist” that is constantly absorbed in his work.
It’s a vicious cycle, but I’m trying to let go and just “do.”


Jon_p December 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I do that, overthink everythin to the point your head explodes an you just leave it all and find something else to do, like watch telly.

MahaMonkey March 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

It can be difficult to fall in love with ‘work’ of any kind. Hopefully most of us are living our passion. If you are, and it feels like work… Find reasons to fall in love with your passion again. What do you love about it? What good does it do for others? 
Looking at the bigger picture helps you engage in something more important than just your inner doldrums. Let the bigger picture infuse your efforts with renewed vigor and excitement!


struggletovictory March 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

@MahaMonkey Living me dream doesn’t feel like work at all, and I love it! (Well, most of the time… I hate the technical side of it.) The bigger picture is absolutely the driving force.

Jon_Mills March 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Oh I do all the bloody time lol.. for me its called ADD :) I have a short span of interest in anything. My one love really is movies.  I enjoy copywriting and marketing but my focus this year is to work more on movie script writing and novels.
I always remember John Carlton say when he approached copywriting. ” I get angry with it” meaning he really didn’t want to do it and it pissed him off, but sometimes you just have to put the music on and get er done ;) I literally go through a ritual, where I go over work then go make tea and once i get back down I don’t get up and till that copywriting project is done. 
Its taught me a lot about anything creative. You can’t wait for the muse to strike you have to just get cracking and it will catch up with you.
Breaks, Long breaks help too. And I take them, sometimes a whole week off where I do nothing but stuff I want to do. It charges your batteries.


Bubibu March 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

 @Jon_Mills I think ADD’s my case too. I lose attention and I find myself in the middle of unnecessary things before I realize I haven’t done what I needed to do. It’s a cycle in my case. Sometimes I really have to give in to distractions so I could get them out of the way.

Phil Drolet March 10, 2012 at 12:39 am

Hey Jonathan, AWESOME post man. This is so true… and probably something a lot of driven people go through at some stage. I’ve been working on monetizing my site for the last few weeks and it’s been a huge shift in focus, and all of the sudden the whole thing felt like work. I want to make it feel like play again, while moving keeping one eye ahead on the path. So I followed your advice and emailed a young guy I know about becoming his “blogging coach”, with the intention of reconnecting with my true love of blogging. 


nochnoch March 10, 2012 at 5:46 am

sometimes when writing becomes an obligation, i don’t love it anymore, and my creativity feels drained. i have to take a break for a few days, even a week at times, to come back to it with, as you say, a fresh mind
Noch Noch


erinmgiles March 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

So timely, after a big move + my big not for profit project blogging, and tweeting for my own business, has became pretty lifeless. Glad to know I’m not the only one!


ko0ty March 14, 2012 at 2:42 am

I’m a designer and when I start getting burnt out or get blocked I’ll take a break (which I think are vital).. but I’ll get back into it later by getting inspired by other designers. I have a folder in Google Reader called “Galleries” where I subscribed to a bunch of CSS galleries and such and I’ll just scroll down for a dose of inspiration. Always works!


FireflyMedia March 15, 2012 at 9:53 am

I love all of your ideas for reconnecting with your work. That’s such a great point. It’s always good to read a book, watch someone you admire on a YouTube Video, or even take a little coffee and sunshine break! 


DArlandoFortune March 23, 2012 at 4:09 am

I fell out of love with my work years ago. So, I started looking for a new love. Since, I left that first love I have found more and more passionate relationships with the work that chose me and not the work that others chose for me. Great post, sir, with beautiful metaphors to explain your techniques. I had to carry on with them in this response.


futuregraphics March 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Having not been to your site in a while (my bad), this post was just what I needed!! I’m happily reading along and then I get to “the first step is to stop being such an asshole” and I just burst out laughing!! After a particularly challenging week that had me questioning my craft among other things, that was perfect. Thank-you!


serenityretreat April 9, 2012 at 12:22 am

I mostly do that ‘if I worked as hard as I could I’d be REALLY successful, rather than just ticking over’ thing.  But then I forget that ticking over is very very fine with me, and that the voice in my head is the tune of  my conditioning rather than my heart.  I loved this post.  I love what I do, and sometimes I don’t.   I’m glad I’m not the only one and I love your ideas for reconnecting.  Ta x


jaxbees April 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

Great post! I do love what I do and feel very fortunate to have a job I like but I also fall for the ridiculous expetations thing and that definitely dampens my enthusiasm for what I do. Where I annoy myself the most is if I get close to finishing what I’d planned, I quickly add, either mentally or physically to my list, something else that I might just manage to squeeze in if I work like an idiot. Will try to be more mindful of this…!


antistatusquo April 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Thanks for this post. I’ve needed something like this to kick me back into loving my job. Hopefully it will work!!


bcoelho2000 July 4, 2012 at 4:34 am

Thank you for sharing this with us. I was needing this. Specially in times when we must do what is necessary, to build something that will enable us to do what we’re meant to do.


Lehua September 14, 2012 at 1:18 am

Hey Jonathan!

I definitely feel like I was meant to see this right now… fate has brought me here for sure. :)

I thought I was a bit alone in feeling like work just gets boring to me… even if it’s a job I was passionate about when I first got it. I started to get scared, like maybe I’m too ADHD when it comes to finding something I love to do, that I can actually DO for the rest of my life. I want to find that. It’s why I joined Trailblazer in the first place a few months ago. I’ve been meaning to go back, because I miss you all like crazy, and all the support and encouragement I received there. I miss being committed.

Anyway, I found that after reading this post, there’s two things, or rather, lightbulbs, that came on. Here’s my two epiphanies:
(1) I am way TOO damn hard on myself.
(2) I feel like crap when I’m out of balance.

I’m all about balance and self-discipline, but I think I need to remember that balance is necessary when it comes to my own attitude toward myself. I get in my own way a lot of the time, and it goes against my own values. Thank you for helping me to realize that. I need to learn how to take better care of myself and to stop expecting so damn much of myself… I try hard, and hope for a lot, but I have to keep things in perspective and remember that hope and expectations are very different things.

Sorry for the ramble. I’ll be posting on Trailblazer in a bit. :)


Matthew Shields November 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Articles like this one right here is what attracted me to PTE and keep me coming back. There is some brutal honesty about entrepreneurship, and while I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who got tired of pursuing my dreams once in awhile, its hard to find others that get down to this level of personal drama and realism, especially when they are pushing their products or services for self-help/starting your own business…


Scott Stephens February 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Amazing! Thank you so much! The tip on mentoring others is what does it most for me. I never realized that I get so excited teaching others until I read this. Sheesh. Thanks for the tips, and for acknowledging that everyone falls out of love with their work of passion somtimes.


Diogenes April 23, 2013 at 8:28 am

Why I fell out of love:
1. My ex-wife: I know, everyone blames their ex for everything that went wrong. I won’t go into details, just believe me, one bad financial decision after another. Her idea of managing finances was to sit in my office and ask me how much I had in my account. When I told her she said something like, “…that should do it.” After a few years of this I felt like there was no point to working because I would never catch up. How can you love something that has no point to it?
2. Employees: Some of them were very good, too many of them wanted a paycheck for as little as they could give me. It still surprises me how people will lie on their resumes and during an interview just to get a job. Do they think I won’t notice that they know nothing about Microsoft Office when they claimed to be an “expert” on their application? So instead of doing the creative, problem-solving, work I once did I’ve been managing employees who need to be spoon fed.

It’s not the actual work I do that has worn me down but dealing with the other issues. Anyone else had these problems?


Katie June 9, 2013 at 11:31 am

So transparent. So practical. Thank you!


Maria June 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

I really loved your post. My day job is something that I have been struggling with for quite some time. I loved it 6 years ago but its changed so much since then its nothing that I used to do and everything I used to think I wanted, until I got it. Now, I’m trying to turn my views around and love the new part of my job. It’s not terribly easy for me unfortunately.


Lyn Liew September 7, 2013 at 9:33 am

I have been having a really hard time this year. My boss’ expectations of me grew, but my vision of my portfolio and her’s weren’t in sync. We inevitably fell out along the way and it did not help that she kept making rude comments about the quality of my work (not as good as before), my attitude (she said my engine had not started this year and that I was slow) and the fruits of my labour (not up to standard–how is it that when she gives one autonomy that this is the sort of crap one produces–and she had been fine with this for the last 3 years…suddenly everything was wrong). We clashed constantly this year. And I sort of gave up. Who can fight the boss right? I have sought a transfer and am hoping that a different job scope will ignite some of the passion for the work I do.


Jenn A September 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

Just like the seasons, my work follows a cyclical pattern of profound passion to maddening lack-luster motivation. I constantly find myself re-inventing a clever method to “fall back in love” with my work and/or passions. As for me, the usual culprits for “falling out of love with my work” are these:

1. With the onset of my passion, I set off with high expectations and goals, which usually are attained, but then I get buried with busyness brought on with it.

2. Excited attaining my new-found goal, I keep on planning and adding new milestones, making my schedule even busier.

The end result is that I jam-pack my schedule with too many “to-do’s” that I become overwhelmed and frustrated.

Then I start over again.

Your post shed some light on this vicious cycle of mine. What really stood out to me on your post is reviewing our visions because it could have quite possibly changed. Since I get so caught up with the busyness of my life, I fail to look at my own personal visions and schedule time for “me”.

As I continue to find a “sound” balance in my work/personal life, I’m definitely (re)inspired by your post.



Denise October 1, 2013 at 2:05 am

Thank you for sharing! I think we all experience this from time to time and we just keep going. What we really need to do is stop for a moment and assess why we are feeling that way and as you have said not be as hard on ourselves.


Jayna November 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

When I feel stale, I whip out the old paper and pencil and curl up with music for some reconnecting to just being an artist….then getting to the technical stuff becomes a bit more fun again. Must be that “cycling” of different types of activity that helps to renew :)


Mugo February 10, 2014 at 1:22 am

Hard to fall in love again seeing I never was in love the first time round


Heather April 19, 2014 at 10:57 am

My work is based around a dream I had, but it seems like every time I read it I feel like It Sounds mediocre and has been done before. I will admit that I am my own worst critic and have thought about changing the whole piece but I am so invested in the characters that are already in the original story that I don’t know how to move forward.


Heroin Henry June 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Drop out of life…..with bong in hand! To the riff-filled land! That’s the way to do it! With money for nothing and the chicks for free!


Janice Gomez July 21, 2014 at 10:52 pm

What else to say…train back on track. :)
Positivism counts, ‘loving your work’ and ‘loving the idea that you have a work’ are different.


mischa November 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I hate my vocation; after 16 years on and off I am burnt out and all I see is the entitlement and stupidity of everyone in this field. Who cares. It isn’t meaningful, it only is business – a way to make money and provide useless gadgets to the masses. And the massess are ungrateful. My family wantst me to continue in the field so it can become a family business but I do not care and the pressure to care, to deliver, to motivate, is too much now. I want to be free.


Frederick November 30, 2014 at 2:46 am

You speak to truth Jonathan. I’m glad I read that.


Michael December 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

Hey Jonathan,

Man, I’m struggling… against all odds, and with extreme passion, over the course of four years I self-published and directed the illustration work on my first children’s book. I released it in 2,000 and I sold 2,500 copies in a few months through school visits and art festivals. I was on fire with passion for my book and work. I loved it! The creativity, the performing, the selling, the travel… all of it!

Before the creation of my books, I had no clear direction in life after straight A’s from Kindergarten-12th grade. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so the books truly felt like a “Godsend”.

Over the next 14 years I created two more books and sold over 69,000 copies. Over 1,000 school visits, over 2,000 shows, an average of 30 weekend art festivals a year. I was absolutely addicted to my work. It fit my personality and desire to a “T”.

Now? Not so much… all the travel, changing bureaucracy in schools, more travel for less sales yearly, 200+ days of travel a year, everything feels like a grind. I’m not getting the work done. I’m in absolute fear because this is all I feel I know… my ego and identity are so wrapped up in it I feel broken inside. I procrastinate, futz around, and my calendar is not looking great and I’m feeling the financial strain.

I have no idea how to move forward, and I honestly don’t know what else I want to do for a living (again). I’m trying so hard to reignite my passion, but I’ve been so up in my head about this for so long I’m now almost frozen. Stuck. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, and full of anxiety. I can’t seem to get the passion back, and I can’t seem to move forward. I feel like I’m frozen on a ledge.

I don’t know how you can help, but I thought it would help to get this off my chest to see if anyone else has ever overcome anything like what I’m going through.

Any interesting suggestions? Has anyone else ever gone through anything like this?

Thanks for letting me vent.



Jason - KAC May 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Wow, you have a wonderful opportunity to leverage your experience, popularity, and ‘brand’ to launch something new that lights your fire!

Consider ‘pivoting’ and using your talents to serve in another way, or perhaps another audience? You sound very talented, so I believe the world needs more of what you can offer.

Hope an answer is appearing…

Heather January 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I know this is an old article but I’m going to leave a comment here any way. I’m struggling financially, the more I put pressure on myself to try to find a way to make money from art the less of it I do and the more I hate doing it. Feeling really lost at the moment, money shouldn’t be the main motivation- it’s killing all the drive and passion I had for art. I don’t know what to do, I’m scared that 10 years down the line I’ll still be in a dead end job earning next to nothing wasting my evenings browsing the internet and never producing anything meaningful.


Mathey February 12, 2015 at 1:42 pm

My job has changed…the job I fell in love with is no where to be found. I don’t think I fell out of love with my work which is leadership development. Instead, there is no support of leadership development from the organizational bias…let’s teach those to lead while the organization does not walk the talk. I am very discouraged and disheartened. I am going to try the advice from this site and I will ask myself the questions posed by Steve Jobbs…what changed…and then I am going to find some way to interject quietly my love of leadership.


Cassandra March 24, 2015 at 11:43 am

‘And remember that the fastest way to kill your passion is by comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others’ – That one line is everything.


Candace Massari March 27, 2015 at 4:01 am

wow, those “ridiculous expectations” listed, it was like reading my own thoughts! Thanks for the post, this is exactly what I needed to keep pushing forward today, and not throw in the towel :)


Alejandro May 13, 2015 at 10:06 am

I am a concert pianist. One of the things I absolutely hate about it is being compared to other people that are just as good or almost there. In the past, music was everything to me. Now, it’s more like a competition than anything else. I never practice anymore and refuse to do so if people keep comparing my abilities to those of my colleagues.


Hosea May 13, 2015 at 11:22 pm

I fell out of love with my work about 2 or 3 years ago when I was involved in a situation that changed my life, but I never fully let it go, though I tried. I tried doing different things involving it and it kind of helped me get through, but at the end of the day(now at this present moment) I want to be actively working on my craft when before I was wishy-washy and confused. Although I still wake up some mornings doubtful and mad/sad at the fact I didn’t meet MY expectations. Now, I will work on ,”Extricating all the shoulds. Killing your expectations. Having a funeral for your quotas.”


Jason - KAC May 15, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Wow, powerful stuff. Your raw authenticity is refreshing in this post.

It’s good to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and who it is you’re aiming to serve. It’s great to have personal goals (money, fun, time, security, stability etc.) but what are the goals for your tribe? The ones who will support you on your journey, and whose journey you’re inspiring?

I think it’s great to remind yourself of the legacy you aim to leave behind, and the people you will touch. No amount of netflix / procrastination will ever have you create that.


xess October 1, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I loved it so much. It really has shown me a new ray to work harder all the more. Thanks a lot for helping me in this regard….


elaine page December 20, 2015 at 4:58 am

here I was sat feeling sorry for myself that I’m struggling to return to work after a period of illness, that the anxiety of it all was too much and how much I no longer love my job when I read that ‘the first step is to stop being such an asshole’, this had me laughing, brought a smile to my face and made me stop and take that deep breath. Your advice is brilliant and just what I needed to give me the kick start I needed. thank you :-)


Bob January 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

What if you are just burned out? I’m in the legal field for 30 years. I’m to the point where I don’t give a darn about my job anymore. I know that will affect the quality of my work. I’ve been thinking of switching jobs but I’m 62 and looking at retiring at 65. Can’t say retire but may be do something totally different. How do I love my job again until the time comes when I do retire?


Bob January 31, 2016 at 11:37 am

Good article except for one thing. When people don’t just fall out of love with their jobs its really job burnout and nothing is going to change it. I know I’m there. You may move onto to another company and that may make you feel better. I’ve been in the legal field 30 years as a paralegal and I’ve hit burnout. I have 2 more years to go before I retire from the legal world. I keep telling myself “2 more years and I’m out of here”.


Ajax March 21, 2016 at 3:32 am

Dear Jonathan,

I love my job and because of that, I know I do well in it. In fact, great. I was having the best and most productive years of my life i.e. until my boss changed. My previous boss was appreciative, motivating and someone who always had my back. That made me go all out on my professional front. The working hours were crazy but at the end of the day, the job was satisfying and meaningful. Now, with this new change, I now have a boss who is autocratic, interfering and well, a little to quick in passing out snide remarks. So, now I work but I am not all that motivated to give in that extra effort. This in turn is making my job feel like a drag and right now, life as such is just existence. I am filled with guilt and feeling purposeless because I feel like I am not contributing anything meaningful anymore.

Anyway, thank you for that article above. I know it’s old but it made me feel better. Now is the time to focus on my “art, craft and vision”. I just have to find my passion for my job again. Thank You.


CantFocus November 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Is it really just pressure? As some one who has proclaimed themselves to be an artist nearly their entire lives, there is one thing I’ve noticed. Not all artists stay with the one medium. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve danced around different create outlets (even writing being one of them). I use to love drawing, both realism and illustration, but I lost my passion for it. I can still draw realism, to me that’s like riding a bike, but illustration? Whenever I go to try, it’s just not as good as when I was younger, not even remotely. But who’s to say I lost my love for my work, just because I stopped enjoying certain mediums?

I found new passions. Playing and writing music, film-making, writing, costume-making, sfx makeup. I think a lot of it is we just change. What inspired us when we were younger is not the same as we are now. I am not the same person I was back then when I used to get appraised for my doodles, paintings, and drawings. Fine art no longer invokes my emotions like it used to, but music and film now stirs my soul. I think it’s okay as an artist if your passion and love for your work changes. We all go through eras in our lives. Is it really so terrible to embrace them? My art is not my identity, I am not defined by it. It was merely a reflection of who I was at the time it was created.

Food for thought.


Gerber Rosales December 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

Hello, My name is Gerber Rosales, I do work for Warner Bros. I do finance analysis for warner home video. I used to love my job, get involved on everything, hard work and team lead to reach out our goals. I thought I became a key asset for the team and tried to support my thought no matter if what. I used to work up to 20 hrs daily during 3 consecutive days for months.
All that effort was never cherished for anyone and at the end not even me… I got seek as consequence and now I work to pay my health bills only… I can’t even get on vacations, and recently I applied to move out of my glorious days on WB, unfortunately the answer was NO.
I can’t even see my computer every morning and stopped believing I have an opportunity to growth. But I do understand is all about me.
I don’t blame anyone it was just so much pressure on me caused by myself, expectations and show. I got myself reading this blog because I am trying to find a way to start all over again and stop expectations or quit and start all over again somewhere else. thank you for take the time to show part of the truth on your blog.


megara December 17, 2016 at 6:58 am

This is very helpful.


Martin Dunn April 25, 2017 at 4:32 am

A friend shared this article with me and man… it just was really needed. I’m a professional comic creator who has worked for nearly a decade climbing the ladder to bigger and better projects. I love my work, I teach comics to people at colleges, workshops, and conventions. I have worked on major ip’s and created a couple dozen series as well as my own studio. I lived and breathed my career… then one day I woke up and it was gone. No drive, no passion, no ideas…

I have worked for 7 years with little to no breaks. Always working towards a deadline or new ideas. I have a reputation as one of the hardest working creators in my field.

This article really was a nice refreshing look into how I think. I had my wife read it as well and she said it was like you were in my brain. I dunno if I’ll be able to recoup quickly, but your words and advice give me hope.

Martin Dunn


Donna September 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I fell out of love with my work when I lost my dog… she came with me every day and was a massive part of what I do. The business was just breaking even, it was mainly a hobby. Now i’m lost and feel like i’m doing it for nothing. I’ve come to see it for what it is, serving under appreciative members that pay as and when they wish and don’t invest in the community aspect of it. needless to say, the fire and motivation is gone, and I need something new but don’t know where to start.


Cedric September 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Hey Donna, I am really, really sorry to hear about your dog, this must be an awful moment :(
You know, managing a community can be frustrating at times: it isn’t easy to get people to engage, and give something (most people naturally kind of sit and watch), even if you give everything that you have with all your heart. Customers aside: if you still believe in this business’ purpose, if the core idea still makes you feel alive, then I’m sure there are many ways to recover your ass kicking energy, better engage your customers and grow the community and the business.

Skky November 16, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Thank you for this post, I needed it. It set me free, it’s nice to know you’re not the only going thru these types of changes. It’s not easy for me but you’re advice helped remind me to be easy on myself and take a break. Thank you and thank you all for your advice! ??


Cedric November 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

Thanks Skky, glad we could help a bit :)
If you’re not sure where to get started on the blog, you can find some of our best articles on our Start Here page:

JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

 @monicaleestudios  @ethanwaldman I definitely know that Clay is not a mother. :)
Also to clarify, I’m pretty sure that Clay means that he focuses on one *type* of thing a day. So one day it’s writing, another it’s marketing, another it’s finances, and so on.


Emilie March 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

 @JonathanMead @ethanwaldman Funny enough, I think about this quote sometimes too. And I’m all ABOUT doing multiple things. Heh. But the two approaches really aren’t in conflict. I focus on one type of activity in the morning (my “creating time”), get it done and then move on to other types of work. And if I’m unproductive in the afternoon, then I just think back to the work I got done that morning, and tell myself to chill out.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

 @Emilie  @ethanwaldman Chilling out is probably more effective than all other strategies combined. :)


struggletovictory March 7, 2012 at 5:48 am

 @JonathanMead  @Emilie  @ethanwaldman
 So true! I forget to just relax. Fortunately, my husband and two boys are great at reminding me.


JonathanMead March 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

 @struggletovictory  @Steve_Rice Good stuff man. It’s true that we often try to keep our work the same, when we’re always evolving and changing. My work looks radically different than it did three or five years ago.


struggletovictory March 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm

@JonathanMead @struggletovictory @Steve_Rice So right! We need to expext change and not fight it. Actually, let’s embrace it and enjoy the ride.


JonathanMead March 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

 @struggletovictory  @taylorjacobson If I don’t go on a hike at least once a week I start to lose my sanity. I agree with what you’re saying here Taylor.


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