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Monica* was unhappy in her role at a large healthcare company. An intelligent woman, with excellent academic credentials and a stellar work history, she felt unchallenged and underutilized in her role. With every passing day, her boredom grew so that she soon found it difficult to get up in the morning, and even more difficult to motivate herself to get to work. Needless to say, she was unhappy in her career.
If it isn’t hard enough to get up every day and go to work, now we have to concern ourselves with being motivated. With all the tasks on our to do list, is there really room for one more item to fit in?
The answer is yes. Motivation is an important concept. With so many people worried about their jobs, the economy, and their safety, motivation plays a key role in how they deal with all that is going around them.
“Motivation cannot be imposed; it comes from within,” says John Baldoni, author of 180 Ways to Walk the Motivation Talk and President of Baldoni Consulting, a consulting company based in Michigan. “In other words, we motivate ourselves.”
Keeping yourself motivated is central,” says Dr. Beverly Potter, a California based psychologist that specializes in career and workplace issues and the author of Overcoming Job Burnout: How to Renew Enthusiasm for Work. “Motivation is not a mysterious force that comes from somewhere else, it is a direct result of how one manages oneself.”
If we start out in the world with an open mind and a positive outlook, then what happens after we grow up? How do we end up being closed and afraid?
“Unfortunately,” says Dr. Potter, “most people have learned motivation from others, and more often than not, they have learned how to procrastinate. Then, a deadline approaches, and they get motivated and pull an all-nighter. Just like they learned in college, cramming for an exam.”
How can you motivate yourself? According to Mr Baldoni, “Look for new opportunities, new responsibilities, and new challenges. Read about people you admire. Learn from achievers in the workplace and in sports, the arts, business, you name it. Think positive.”
“Opportunities always exist,” says Marjorie Brody, President of Brody Communications, a communications company based in Pennsylvania, and the author of Life Without Limits: A Guidebook to Turning Your Dreams Into Reality. “It’s a matter of being open to see what’s there and constantly searching to see what’s possible.”
“The first step,” says Ms. Brody “is to realize that it’s your life, your career, and only you can do something about it. Once you’ve done that, get out and talk to as many people as possible, internally within your organization, within the industry, and within the world. Then, be persistent and patient.”
“Make sure you understand the value of what you’re contributing,” says Ms. Brody. “This often might mean learning more about the business and end product or service, and where you fit in. Get on some taskforces and teams so you’re meeting new people and learning new things.”
“Explore your situation and identify the benefits, although it may be difficult when you no longer feel motivated by your job/environment,” says Susan Eckert, a New York based career coach with over 15 years human resources and leadership development experience. “There are bound to be a few positives (e.g. you are learning new skills, you are honing your skills at managing up, you are becoming an expert at managing the difficult employee, etc.)”
“If you have done this and believe it is time to do something different,” says Ms. Eckert, “then channel all the energy you’re spending regretting your role, that you ever took this job in the first place, your boredom and/or your frustration, and instead, redirect it toward clearly identifying and pursuing your ideal job/career.”
“There are always options, says Siegmundo Hirsch, Ph.D., a New York based Personal & Professional Coach. “Don’t forget other fields of endeavor.”
“If all else fails,” says Ms. Brody, “make sure that you have plenty of outside interests and activities that keep you motivated until you find a work situation that does.”
* Not her real name.
About Deborah Brown-Volkman
Deborah Brown-Volkman is the President of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc. a career and mentor coaching company that has been delivering a message of motivation, success, and personal fulfillment since 1998. We work with Senior Executives, Vice Presidents, and Managers, who are out of work or overworked, and Coaches who want to build profitable coaching practices. Deborah is also the author of Coach Yourself To A New Career: A Book To Discover Your Ultimate Profession, that can be found on amazon.com.