Break the Cycle: Rediscover Your Passion at Work

by Willliesha Morris
Previously published in the July 2015 issue of OfficePro magazine.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.12.07 PMWhen Anne Lupkoski, CAP-OM-TA, got her first office job after college, she described herself in a way much like a sailboat in rough seas—she didn’t feel anchored or useful in her role. Instead, she was rudderless and searching for answers. She was alone and disenchanted.

“I was repeating the same 9 to 5 day over and over again, with no break in the pattern, no real goals other than to show up on time at work each day and do my tasks to the best of my ability, and no mentors to help me to think about the possibilities beyond those offi ce walls,” she said.

Her solution was twofold—set intentional goals and fi nd a mentor. Now as the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Ontario’s Hamilton Community Foundation, she continues to use resources like IAAP, which she joined in 2008, to reignite her passion.

“I think I was waiting for change to happen to me, rather than taking steps to make it happen for me,” she said. Now she collects and utilizes online and offl ine resources to share with other admins.

Helene Lerner, of and author of “The Confidence Myth,” refers to Lupkoski’s early career doubt as “mad mind chatter,” negative but untrue thoughts that destroy confidence. The problem could have nothing to do with job duties either. It could be resentment toward another person who may have gone back on a request or done something without integrity.

Lerner said if more energy is put toward being angry or resentful towards others, there’s nothing left for creative pursuits or passions in the workplace. She said becoming aware of where energy is spent is the first step toward achieving goals.

Goal-setting is how Lupkoski stays motivated. When she’s completed one goal, she moves on to another. She said she visualizes “the next layer of professional strength I will be able to bring to my work when I achieve that next goal on my list. The possibilities are unlimited.”

Lupkoski sought out opportunities to better herself, even if there was no official training at her job. She reminds others of this when she hears complaints about the lack of professional development resources offered at a job. Her passion is upgrading herself and those around her. She calls herself a woman on a mission.

Her goals and achievements have varied—from earning her certifications or doing advanced Google training to organizing events or giving presentations. From those achievements, she’s gained leadership skills and self-confidence.

Lerner said taking action when there’s an issue is the key to gaining confidence. Renewed confidence, even “with shaky knees,” lends itself toward renewed passion. “You may feel you don’t have an impact,” she said. “Real confidence is moving forward even when you’re a little frightened. When you start acting like that your passion comes back.”

Lupkoski sometimes describes her career shift as what she did “before IAAP” and “after IAAP.” Her career path has been rich and rewarding with writing articles, attending conferences, volunteering for leadership roles and serving on committees that expand her professional network.

“I am always working in my personal stretch mode,” she said. “On my own steam, on my own time and often at my own expense.” She’s unearthed new skills because of her focus on proactive, ongoing learning and exploration. She can see the changes and so can her boss and her coworkers. She said they appreciate her and treat her with respect for the skills and talents she brings to the table.

“It’s very exciting to be able to accomplish a goal and to envision what else is possible.”

Williesha Morris is a virtual assistant and a freelance writer that helps other small business owners and freelancers find their writing voice. You can find her at and on Twitter @willieshamorris.

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