How to Keep Motivated in Your Career
Aside from the few who have managed to change this balance, you will likely spend the majority of your life working. It therefore stands to reason that you need to make this time count by doing something that excites you, motives you, at very least, something you like! Do you feel energised when you wake up in the morning, enthused for the day ahead? While you should, only 12% of employees in a worldwide study were engaged in their jobs. Here are 5 things you should embrace to stay motivated about your career and help you define your purpose.
- FIND YOUR ‘WHY’
This is the starting point and a fundamental step in finding your purpose. Why do you do what you do? What are your motivations for doing it? And what are you aiming to achieve? Make sure you’re in an area of work that you find interesting, and then clearly identify why you’re doing it. Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, is a great start to understanding and putting into practice the power of Why and connecting it to your personal career mission.
- SET GOALS
Now that you know why you’re doing what you do, set up short-term and long-term goals to keep you engaged and on track towards your career (and personal) objectives. Use post-it notes, calendars or digital tools - what’s important is you write them down, constantly refer to them and commit achieving them. Want to be a manager or director in 1 year? Want to have your own business in 3 years? What are the steps you can take to get there? Commit them to paper, and start working.
Don’t underestimate the power of (written) goal setting and career planning in creating motivation towards your success. In a study of Harvard MBA students asked about their career goals the following results were obtained:
- 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
- 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
- 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans
The result: 10 years later, the 13% of the class that had set written goals, but had not created plans, were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all. As for the 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan, they were making ten times as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.
- ASK FOR FEEDBACK
You need to grow in your job personally and professionally and for this you need feedback. If you aren’t getting the feedback you need from your manager, ask for it. Not only will it show your keen to perform in your role, feedback will motivate you to achieve more since you’ll feel more valued in the work you do, and it’s a tool for continuous learning. Without this motivation, your career will stagnate and your only motivation will be the steady paycheck. This may work for a while, but soon enough, it will start to have a negative impact on your opportunities, ambitions and ultimately career trajectory.
- KEEP LEARNING NEW SKILLS
Keep your brain sharp by learning something new; be it through training at work, associated events, seeking out workshops, groups, or seminars. Select something that falls outside of your comfort zone but that is still relevant to your career. You will bring extra value to your team, your resumé and your career prospects. In the fast-evolving digital landscape we are part of, new skills can open up opportunities you may not yet realise and put you one step ahead of your peers. In your job, if you feel you are no longer learning or being challenged, that is always a key sign that it’s time to look for new opportunity.
In competitive, demanding, and often pressured work environments, being mindful is key to a healthy ‘self’. Start each morning with a positive mantra. Then, watch what you say to yourself and others throughout the day. Avoid negative thoughts and comments about your job and avoid office gossip. Don’t take things personally and build an awareness of others to help you manage your working environment and relationships. Your stress levels will decrease and your satisfaction increase. Digital meditation apps such as Headspace and the Insight timer can help you embrace the positive effects of mindfulness.
Building your path to purpose in your career will help you create the career and life you aspire to, and keep you motivated along the way. Don’t blame others, your journey and destination is your creation built by focusing on your personal growth, if you want to stay motivated in your career, keep a positive mindset and never stop learning!