Over the course of your career, there are times you may stop and wonder if what you’re doing is meaningful or beneficial for the company and even your own career. Once you start having negative thoughts about your work, your productivity is likely to follow suit and plummet. Whether this leads to falling into a funk or beginning the search for a new job, figuring out how to regain that inspiration can make all the difference.

LeadershipIQ conducted a study of 13,771 employees and “asked whether their bosses have explained how their work fits into the department or organization’s strategy or goals.” The results proved that if you have felt these feelings of being lost, you are certainly not alone. Only 21 percent of bosses were “always” connecting their employees’ work to a larger, long-term strategy or goal. Of that 21 percent, these people are nearly five times more likely to be inspired in their roles.

If you’re in that 79 percent struggling to find some inspiration or lacking direction, all hope is not lost. According to Forbes Contributor and LeadershipIQ founder, Mark Murphy, you can find some clarity in this situation by having a discussion with your boss. Although this may be awkward, there are four steps you can take to figure out how your work contributes to an overall strategy or goal of the department or company.

Find the Right Time

You don’t want to just pop into your bosses office and take him or her by surprise with this conversation. Reach out in advance and make him or her somewhat aware of the topic. For example, Murphy mentions that you can ask “Would you be willing to have a conversation with me about this new assignment? I find it really interesting and I’d love to learn more.” This is disarming and shows your interest in the work you’re doing.

Ask About Strategy

Now that you’ve initiated the conversation, you can ask where it came from and what the goal is.  Murphy mentions the importance of reinforcing your interest and curiosity in the project first and foremost. Once you’ve done this, you can connect the dots. It is important to not skip this step, unless your relationship with your boss is well established.

“How Will This Be Used?”

You don’t want to come out and just ask why you’re working on this project. Instead ask for more information and how it will be used towards the department or company’s overall goal. It is beneficial to ask this because by giving your boss the option to divulge more information, he or she may actually feel more inclined given your interest.

Ask About the Future

Is this a one-off project, or part of something bigger down the line? The only way you will know the answer to these questions is to ask. One way to figure out the direction and strategy of your company is by figuring out how things you’re working on play into the grand scheme of things. Asking these questions is a great start and look into that strategy.

Wrap Up

Not every day at work will be the most exciting. That is just the unfortunate truth of our careers. However, it is important for the good days to outnumber the boring or bad days. When you know that the work you’re doing is meaningful you will be more inspired to contribute. If your inspiration is lacking, take these four steps and have that conversation with your boss.

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