It’s that time where your energy from the start of the year has likely evaporated but the year still has a looooong way to go. It’s the point where the mid-year “blahs” really kick in and you’re likely to find your motivation flagging.
If this is you, you’re not alone. You might think others have their sh!t together and are kicking goals with an endless supply of motivation… but from my recent conversations, I can tell you it’s not true.
What is motivation, anyway? It’s kind of elusive… some days you feel it and other days it’s completely absent, no matter how hard you try to find it. And when it’s missing everything feels harder… you stare at your computer screen, struggle to pick up the phone, drag yourself through your daily schedule.
Even when you love the work you do, it can be easy to fall into a rut or get stuck in a boring routine. There’ll always be seasons in your career where your energy and motivation reserves will feel depleted. This is completely normal.
Tangible, monetary benefits (salary, bonuses, promotions, awards, flexibility etc) offered by employers are important for career motivation but it’s also helpful to develop your own tools to boost your motivation when you’re feeling stuck.
Why it’s important to feel motivated about your work
Motivation is quite literally the driving force behind “getting things done”. Your motivation is important for you… but it also impacts everyone around you. Your motivation is key to your team and business success… without it, you and your workplace are likely to fall short on targets and desired outcomes.
Achieving anything worthwhile starts with getting motivated. To be successful, you must be motivated… to put in the commitment and effort.
When you’re motivated, you feel more enthusiastic, driven, engaged and more likely to take pride in your work. Businesses and workplaces with higher levels of motivated staff tend to be more productive, innovative, and commercially successful.
[It’s worth noting that many believe “money” is the biggest career motivator. And, let’s face it… money is the reason we all work… but (and you knew there was one coming!)… it’s NOT a great motivator. Once you achieve more money, the idea of it has passed and it becomes your new normal.]
The good news is, research shows that developing contingency plans for times you’re experiencing a motivational slump can be effective for continuing to achieve successful outcomes during these moments.
How to get motivated about work… when you don’t feel like it
1. ACTION FIRST
Do you ever think, “I’ll do that when I’m feeling more motivated”? I’m a big fan of creating a clear vision, but the most important activity for feeling motivated right now is to do, make or create something. If you wait for motivation to get started – going to the gym, selling your product, or finding the right next role for you – what happens? Yep… nothing. Action leads to motivation so take a small step now. One task gets the ball rolling and before you know it… voilà, momentum.
2. BE SINGLE MINDED
Most of us are not motivated by each activity or item on our to-do list, but by the “bigger picture”… our “why” or “purpose”. In times of fatigue, it pays to return to “why” you’re doing something, rather than “what” you’re doing. Often the reason/s behind “why” you’re working can be the best motivators to help you refocus and spur you on to keep going.
3. TAKE A BREAK
I’ve written a lot about this and it’s worth repeating… it may seem counterintuitive but it’s important to take time out from whatever you’re focussed on achieving. It might feel like you just need to keep going, pushing forward but even a short break improves focus, increases productivity, and replenishes your energy. Take an intentional break and give yourself permission to NOT do or think about anything work-related for a little while.
4. HEALTHY YOU!
It’s easy to put your healthy habits on hold when you’re feeling fed up or in a motivational slump. But this is the moment when you really need to get moving. Feeling strong, alert, and energised, will help you find motivation. Fuelling your body with exercise, preparing nutritious meals, and taking time to rest raises your endorphins, gets your blood flowing, your mind working, and puts a spring in your step.
5. MOTIVATE OTHERS
Motivation can be contagious, and it will make you feel great when you know you’ve positively influenced others. Take time to acknowledge and thank your colleagues and peers for their contributions. Celebrate success. Offer encouragement when things don’t go to plan. Be the one who takes the times to spread positivity and good vibes and enjoy the benefit of increasing motivation both for yourself and others.
Falling into a motivational slump can impact your career momentum and your self-confidence.
But with a few simple steps you can get back in the game and feel excited about your work-life and career future. Maybe it’s time to stop waiting and hoping for a job that will motivate you and put yourself in control of the journey instead? I’d love to help you finally figure out exactly the right next move for your career.