You spend a significant amount of your week at work. It takes not only your time but requires the use of your skills and talents. In addition, you have dreams, goals, and obligations tied to your career. Throughout the course of your career path there will be jobs that inspire you and bring out your very best performance and jobs that only feel adequate and provide stability. Along the way you may feel that you are stuck in a rut or that your job, and possibly your career, no longer seems exciting for you or you don’t seem to have any enthusiasm about it. At times you could use a pick-me-up to sustain your self-motivation and the five strategies provided will help to rejuvenate you or provide a greatly needed change of perspective.
Ebb and Flow of Careers
Every career has the potential to be steady and reliable, become stagnant and boring, or constantly subject to change. It is likely that throughout your career that you will experience all of these circumstances. There will be times when you feel excited, especially when starting a new job, and at times you may be given duties or tasks that do not align with your expectations or interests. The ebb and flow you experience is often situational and may be caused by people, events, job loss, job duties, the unexpected, or responsibilities that put pressure on your career to produce results or specific financial outcomes. Every career has its ups and downs, and that contrast is helpful for you because it causes growth if you are flexible and adaptable. It is possible for you to perform well in any situation you experience.
Dealing with Downturns
Every career is cyclical in nature; however, downturns can be the most challenging. You don’t find many articles written to address problems that are related to success. This is due to the nature of career challenges, which is usually tied to something unpleasant, unwanted, or is a result of loss. It is also possible that career downturns can lead to negative emotions and if left uncontrolled it can spill over into your communication. This can also lead to feelings of anger and a need for retaliation, which is detrimental to your career. You must refuse to allow yourself to be controlled by what happens in your career. If you are challenged this is a time when you must become resilient. You need to reaffirm your strengths without cynicism as your mood is reflected in your tone and that includes written and verbal communication.
Establishing Purpose in Your Career
Your present job may not be your dream job or represent the pinnacle of your career. But every job is part of the ongoing process of professional development. It is necessary at times to go back to the basics and determine what gives meaning to your career or discover the purpose that is driving your ambition. Consider driving a car – you usually have a destination in mind as you begin to proceed forward. So where are you heading? Do you have a well-defined path, set of goals, or plan?
A career path also begins with the purpose or destination in mind. You may have identified your calling early in your career, studied and prepared for your job, or you are moving from one opportunity to another along the way. But if you chart a course and allow for changes and redirection as needed, you can maximize your results. More importantly, if you can see where you are heading or at least know the initial direction to take, which are also called a vision or big picture, downturns may have less of a lasting impact. Any time you experience negative circumstances, it is time to re-energize.
5 Steps for Energizing
There may be times when you lose interest in your job, feel stressed or overwhelmed, face changes or challenges, or have a dead-end job. To stay on course you must deal with those challenges and you can do this by finding ways to recharge and re-energize your mindset, attitude, and frame of reference. Here are five steps you can utilize at any time in your career.
#1. Establish career goals, both short-term and long-term. Short-term goals consist of what you are capable of doing now or jobs that are within your current skill set and capacity.
#2. Professional development, which can include taking a class, reading a trade publication, joining an association for online professional group, or anything else that is tied to your goals.
#3. Take proactive action beyond continuing education, which includes career self-assessment, making a job change, applying for a promotion, or taking any further steps to maintain control of your career.
#4. Monitor and nurture your well-being. This can involve providing yourself with downtime or a break, getting out into nature, going for a walk, spending time with family and friends, or doing anything that promotes a work/life balance.
#5. Find inspiration to maintain self-motivation. For example, consider what inspires you or who inspires you. Find an autobiography of someone you admire or a leader in your career field, or find a motivational book or magazine to read.
Maintaining Momentum for Career Development
You will find that self-motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic based, but more importantly it is related to your mindset. You are in control of how you feel so be sure to examine and assess what you are doing to protect your sense of well-being and happiness. For example, consider what you have achieved or learned, or goals that you have completed, as indicators of making progress in your career. Don’t let your happiness be tied to circumstances you cannot control as this will create dissatisfaction.
Sustaining self-motivation takes effort. When all is going well it is fairly easy to feel good. But when there are challenges and downturns it is more difficult to maintain a positive mindset. However, your career and professional development is fully within your control even when circumstances are not. So do what you can to feel good about your career path and then perform periodic maintenance to check-in with yourself so that you can re-energize when necessary to maintain positive momentum.