What makes you get up in the morning? Obligations to others, bills to pay, a chance to start a new day or is it taking that and more than the usual jolt of coffee to get the juices flowing?
Sometimes we all just want a break, a chance to take a day off and just have choices back again instead of a grind that does not always have a net result. Typically, Americans work longer hours than their counterparts in Europe, with fewer and shorter vacations. Without that release, a combination of caffeine, little sleep and a diet rich in sodium, fats and daily stress fuel our energy. We become less patient with ourselves and certainly with each other, leading to increased conflict with work peers and supervisors. We have heard the expression, “It’s not just the job, it’s the people that I work with that make me crazy”.
Now is a good time to unlock the motivation inside, if the daffodils can get through a snowstorm so can you. Motivation comes from seeing opportunity, albeit in strange places, often outside the daily grind.
Now, where to start, most folks begin with meeting new people and new places. Try speaking to one new person each day, practice new ways of introducing yourself and how you might engage in a conversation instead of just talking. Start small; perhaps finding a new route to work, even taking the bus is a good chance to look around. You will find that small changes renew the spirit, and are a source of energy. Remember, you are investigating options, not everyone likes pistachio ice cream at first either. No commitments, just a waking up to the slightly different is tonic enough.
Take a look at local sources of information, events that you might not have even considered attending previously. Many are free and are a good source of information as they provide a contrast to what you already know about yourself. Try one then two, and build from there. You will be surprised at the variety and abundance right in front of you.
Now while your motivation is getting a refresher course, we need to see what opportunities are out there. Declare a moratorium on bad news, especially that you cannot control. Try to stay positive and view with a bit of optimism. Not easy, but if we are trying out new habits, this is marked for inclusion.
Hop on the web for inspiration as well, seeing opportunity at your fingertips is a powerful motivator as well. Websites such as glassdoor.com give nice salary comparisons across industries, helping job seekers to look before they leap. O*NET Interest Profiler helps in the planning process, and just asking questions of locals gives a great “in” to what seems to be happening. Find information related to “A Day in the Life of” to give first hand details of different jobs and pay close attention to career videos giving a sense of the workplace.
Motivation continues while on the job; always use one experience to gain the next. See what background other employees have, what do they wish they had done differently. Make sure that you have the skills today for a transfer tomorrow, as tomorrow will determine the rest of the week. Remember motivation comes from inside and from the outside, and chocolate usually helps. Every career counselor has a box!
Ellen Weaver Paquette, MA, CAGS