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Feeling Underwhelmed? If You’re Not Engaging Your Talents, Education, and Passions, You Probably Are

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One of the primary reasons that leads people to feeling underwhelm (instead of ‘just whelmed’) is…

  • Work (or a life) that doesn’t engage your talents, education, or passions.

Some people experience the feeling of being underwhelmed for a day or even a week if it’s filled with tasks, requests, and expectations that are menial or mindless. Those sorts of days serve as reminders about why we are glad that such days are the exception rather than the rule. On the other hand, the “losing steam” version of underwhelm is when you have felt underutilized and disengaged for months and possibly years. Sometimes you know right away when you’re in a job (or a relationship) that’s going to underwhelm you, but other times, it just creeps up slowly but surely. Maybe there’s a new “leader” or the politics change and somehow, you’re now in a situation that is underwhelming.

Whatever it is, if personally or professionally you are underwhelmed on a continual basis, you need to find out why and see if it is because your talents, strengths, passions, and expertise are not being tapped. Once you know that, you can start to do something about it.

Consider these emotions (and words) that may be associated with this state of affairs:

  • bored
  • lethargic
  • blase
  • world-weary
  • disinterested
  • affronted

Statements that might come out of your mouth when you’re living a life that doesn’t engage your talents, education, or passions include:

  • I’m just going through the motions.
  • Each day sort of blends into the next one.
  • I feel insulted by what they are asking me to do at work–don’t they know I have a degree?
  • I could do so much more if they’d just ask me to work on the projects that excite me.

I read a story one time about an employee who after many years of working for a company said,

“For 30 years they paid for my hands. I would have given them my brain for free.”

Ouch. What’s the cost – to you as an individual when you (or others) are consistently underwhelmed?

  • Personally: You watch your normally upbeat personality seep away.
  • Personally: You feel like you don’t even want to get up in the morning.
  • Personally: You start to question whether it even matters that you ________ (go to work, do your job, be there with your family, or whatever it is that is underwhelming you).

Organizations (i.e., companies, universities, schools, government agencies, non-profits) need to take a look at the enormous costs of having UNDERwhelmed employees, such as:

  • Organizationally: Smart, talented people aren’t delivering what they’re capable of.
  • Organizationally: People with the potential to be fabulous employees will leave and go work somewhere else.
  • Organizationally: Morale among your underwhelmed colleagues is low and begins to affect others’ morale as well. It doesn’t take long for the “public” to feel this, too.

The costs of putting people or leaving people in underwhelm are enormous and are not ones that individuals, families, small businesses, schools, non-profits, or ANY OTHER GROUP can afford.

If you suspect that you are underwhelmed because your talents and strengths are not being tapped – and if you are even wondering whether anyone (including you!) even know what your strengths are, then take one of the various assessments that is available from a reputable company (like Gallup) that will help you understand and acknowledge your strengths. It will also be helpful to join with others who are seeking to be ‘just whelmed’ instead of underwhelmed.



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