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In a stressful world where people tend to run on overloaded schedules as they try to keep up with a hectic race to accomplish, we’re all prone to losing the motivation to work. While taking care of yourself mentally to be able to function is crucial for performing well at work (as well as everything else), sometimes that’s not the only thing that’s holding you back. When all is said and done, there are a few checkpoints to stop at before you consider yourself chronically demotivated. Start with these seven baby steps this week to reignite the flame that fuels your will to stay on top of your game at work.
1- Reassess your relationship with your boss
Rasha Abul Nasr, people and culture director at Pillars Consultancy for career advising, says that the number one reason people leave their jobs or avoid going to work is having an unstable or a negative relationship with their managers. Assessing the relationship between both parties is essential and is the responsibility of both the manager and the employee. She says, “Bosses need to get to know their employees and understand their needs and key triggers, as well as what motivates them. Similarly, employees need to take an objective look at the situation and determine what is preventing the relationship between them and their bosses from flourishing. Some self-awareness is crucial here. Decide whether the problem is with you or your boss. Maybe you’re making communication difficult at work because you tend to be aggressive, or maybe your manager isn’t transparent enough so you’re constantly feeling threatened at your job. Whatever it is, you need to dig deeper into the dynamics of the relationship because it could be the thing bringing you down and holding you back.”
2- Set goals for your growth
Don’t blame the organization you’re part of before you make sure you’re aware of your own career goals. “Ask yourself: where am I now? Where do I want to go? Do I know how to progress and develop myself? Am I doing my share of the work?” says Abul Nasr. Everyone needs to feel that they’re working towards something. This can make you feel motivated at times when you feel disoriented. “If you don’t have a clear goal you will likely be negative at work, and negativity is contagious. That’s a cycle you don’t want to start,” she adds. You can start by taking an online course, or reading a helpful book.
3- Communicate those goals
Communicate your goals to your manager and your peers, and ask for regular feedback. “We often fail to see our own shortcomings. But if you have a support system you can trust, be it your friends, your colleagues, or your boss, ask for constructive feedback because that will give you a chance to grow, which, in turn, will keep you active,” says Abul Nasr.
4- Visualize your goals
Turn your goals into something you can see when you close your eyes. Do you want to be manager at your company? Visualize yourself sitting at that desk and managing. Do it on a regular basis and make it a happy time for yourself. It will help your brain release dopamine, the reward hormone, which can motivate you. When you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure, mere anticipation may be enough to raise dopamine levels. “It’s a helpful trick to keep you going strong,” says Abul Nasr.
5- Find your true passion
You will never feel motivated at any job without understanding the thing that you’re truly passionate about. Abul Nasr advises that you sit and ask yourself: Which area exactly do I excel in? Which place do I feel best at? “Maybe you’re simply at the wrong place. Sometimes you’re at a job and you can’t fulfill the job description even when you try your hardest, simply because that job isn’t suitable for you. Perhaps you dislike the challenges it brings you. Perhaps you chose it because you didn’t have other alternatives. A good job is a suitable job. If it isn’t in line with your passion, you will always feel reluctant to show up to work. You need to find what you’re passionate about, and you’ll automatically feel motivated.”
6- Create a positive daily ritual for yourself
Catering to your own personal needs is just as important as properly communicating with your boss or finding your passion in life, according to Abul Nasr. “Maintaining a simple ritual to encourage yourself and show yourself love can keep you motivated in ways the big things can’t. For example, try taking five minutes of your time to meditate every morning, then tell yourself ’today will be positive. I’ll be active, happy, etc.’ Small things can have a big impact,” she says. Another thing you can do is to make it part of your routine to help others. “Helping others can be rewarding on many levels, and can keep your mental health in check,” she added.
7- Surround yourself with a motivational atmosphere
“It really works!” says Abul Nasr. “We’re visual creatures. What we constantly see affects us. You can put up a banner on your fridge or on your desk with a positive quote on it, or you can listen to motivational talks, or music that inspires you. These are known as ’key motivational triggers‘ and they can really put you in the mood when you’re having a down time. Sometimes it’s as simple as that,” says Abul Nasr.