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Dear Leader, Are You In The Wrong Line Of Work?

“Are you in the wrong line of work? What business is your organisation in?' All these are important questions to ask, even if things are swimmingly well.

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A few months ago, I was on a Dive vacation and as the boat bobbed up and down Enroute to the dive site, I was feeling queasy as I have motion sickness. All the techniques I knew (staring at a fixed point on the horizon) etc didn’t work and I asked the Dive Instructor for a “happy pill”. Before you wonder what that is, let me disarm you - that was a motion sickness tablet. 

Observing this, a fellow diver, a big built Aussie asked me, whether this was a one-off case, when I felt queasy. When I nodded in the negative, he laughed and replied: “you seem to be in the wrong adventure sport, Buddy."

Both of us had a hearty laugh and jumped in to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Now, I worked through the queasiness because I loved diving! 

What if I didn’t, I would not subject myself to such discomfort in getting to a destination that I didn’t want.

How many of us feel that about the work we do?

If there are days we have “low mojo” and we sigh and ask ourselves this heavy question “Am I in the wrong line of Work?”

Most work we engage in, we have aspects we love and aspects we loathe!

Let me go first- As an Executive Coach and a speaker - I love adding value in my sessions with a coachee and speaking to a group of people and engaging with them. I loathe marketing or “selling” my services. 

But, we all know we need to work through the discomfort to get to do stuff that we want to do.

If the list is weighted a lot towards the loathe column, it leads to seriously low mojo!

This malaise exhibits many symptoms, some of them are :

Disengagement, whining, negativity and low accountability etc

5 steps to overcome this:

1. Get clarity around your Values, Purpose, and Goals - If your eyes are on the prize and the prize is stimulating and energising, then the path gets a little easier to navigate. Easier said than done- you need to build a cycle of regularly revisiting and reinforcing the happiness and meaning, you will experience once you reach the promised land.

2. Change the situation

Life is too short to put up with soul-sucking jobs or bosses or a hostile work environment. Work on yourself, leave your organisation as a better brand, human being, and a leader and join another firm or shift into a career that plays to your strengths.

I was in a Film making workshop when one of the attendees introduced himself “ I am one more engineer working in Bangalore and I don’t want that to be me anymore” - Although there was some laughter, there was ennui in his voice. But, he was taking action and baby steps to embark in a new direction.

3. Change oneself

One of the CXO coachees was feeling listless, he confessed a 2% increase in market share in one brand among the 15 brands he handled didn’t give him the “kick” he cherished. At this point in his career, he had been there, done that and there were no more peaks to scale. When I asked him -what did he start enjoying about his job in the recent past. 

He replied that he was spending a lot of time with younger members in his organisation as a part of a mentoring programme and he loved that. It was then he realised that he could revisit his “hunger” and revive his mojo by asking different questions about the situation around and changing himself.

4. Start giving back 

One of the strongest needs we have, which needs to be watered is our sense of “Giving back”. There is enormous pleasure we get from altruism and contribution. When we step out of our skins and craft something that’s bigger than ourselves - It is akin to creating something new, a new project that is wired to serve a larger community. It could be as simple as stepping up as your housing society working committee member or a cause you believe in, and be convinced you can influence other groups and members for the sake of a larger good.

5. Seek and fulfil your needs outside the realm of work

I know of a senior Leader whose highest need was a “need for Insecurity”. He was in a stable job and the money was good but the lack of novelty and excitement was wearing him out. He started “biking” on the weekends on a lark, the last I heard, he was on the ride of his life - riding on route 66 from Chicago to LA. He fulfilled his needs as he realised, there was no way he could experience what he wanted from his “Day job”

“Are you in the wrong line of work? What business is your organisation in?' All these are important questions to ask, even if things are swimmingly well.

These growth mindset questions will ensure you are on the path to becoming a better version of your self, day by day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Jay Kumar Hariharan

The author is an Executive Coach, Speaker and Deep Sea Diver. He is a graduate from International Coach Academy, Sydney. He provides coaching interventions to create transformational Leadership practices. For more read about the author visit

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