Originally posted in AllBusiness
Look, I get it. Sometimes you’re sick to death of the industry your small business is in. It’s all you think about. It’s all you dream about. And yet, unless you plan on shutting down your business and doing something completely different, you’re kinda stuck with it.
The best you can do is figure out how to reignite that passion that you once felt.
It’s a bit like a relationship: In the early days, you couldn’t get enough of it. You worked day and night because you wanted to immerse yourself in this thing. But over time, your lust for your industry has waned, and sometimes it’s all you can do to go to work in the morning.
But, just like good marriage counseling, I’m going to give you some suggestions for how you can get excited about the field that you work in, even if you’ve been in it for eons.
First, come up for air
When you’re focused so much on running your business, you often get away from the reason you started on this journey to begin with. So put down the laptop and just sit with me for a minute. Think back to when you first launched your company (or maybe when you first entered this industry, if it was before you became an entrepreneur).
What got you excited? What did you love about helping customers back then? What ideas inspired you? Who inspired you in your industry?
You’re dislodging these memories to trigger those feelings again, if possible. If you recall why you started doing this in the first place, it might make it more enjoyable to still be doing it all these years later.
Next, find some inspiration in learning
Now, if you’re like me, it’s hard to find a book that teaches you anything about your industry. You know so damn much, and the books that are out there tend to be basic 101 stuff. But keep looking. Find a few books that break the mold. Maybe you pick up a memoir of someone who’s succeeded in your field. Or a book that isn’t like every other one. Maybe it’s a novel, with the main character running your type of business.
Magazines and blogs are other resources to help you stay sharp. Even if you know more than the basics of your industry, they’ll keep you updated on trends, technology, and news, and that always shakes the dust off of things for me.
Consider going back to school, or at least taking an online course. If you, for example, run a dog boarding business, you might know everything there is to know about dogs, but might be inspired to beef up your social media game by taking a course on the subject. You’ll become a social media expert, which not only gets you out of the doldrums by teaching you something new, but your business will also benefit. Win-win.
Surround yourself with successful people in your field
I’ve found that no matter how tired of my industry I get, I’m always reenergized when I talk to others who work in the same field. I get to nerd out on things like SEO and content, where I couldn’t normally do that with my friends (if I want to keep them). So attend conferences and industry events. Talk to people. Especially people who are further ahead than you on their paths. They’ll inspire you to keep plugging away.
Talk to people who do something completely different
I’m absolutely obsessed with learning about what people do, particularly entrepreneurs. I work with a variety of clients in my marketing business, so I’m genuinely excited to hear about how laser manufacturing or video editing work. (Apparently, it’s super annoying to the men I date, since I seem to be grilling them about their careers. Genuine interest!) I find that talking to people who don’t do what I do sometimes inspires me in interesting ways. I may come away with an idea for my own business that has nothing to do with my industry.
It’s perfectly normal to need a break from your area of focus. Even taking a day or long weekend off can help you clear your head and focus on other aspects of your life, so that when you come back, you’re a little more refreshed and ready to get back to business as usual.