I am frequently asked, “how can I stay motivated through different career stages”?
While we may desire a formula for maintaining a consistent level of motivation for our work, we are human, and motivation fluctuates naturally.
I would therefore reframe that question with three others, “how can I become more aware of the fluctuations in my motivation day to day”? “How do fluctuations in motivation impact my engagement with work”? And “how is my motivation impacted by change or different career stages”?
Consider the following.
Presence and reflective practice
Being more present through reflective practice helps us tune into and assess our daily experiences, our emotional and physical well-being, and the natural fluctuations in our motivation. Presence helps us realize when our motivation soars, when it dips, or when it flattens.
This experiential information helps us make necessary adjustments or contemplate appropriate changes to our lives.
Career maintenance – continuous (re)assessment of our skills, our value, and our expertise
Our skills, our value, and our overall expertise expands and changes throughout our lives. And these changes can impact our motivation and the levels of energy, focus, and commitment we bring to our work.
We can outgrow work roles. Jobs or career paths may no longer suit our developing skills and expertise. Our daily work responsibilities can increase or diminish, also impacting our motivation, positively or negatively.
Regular “maintenance” via reflective practice helps us identify connections among changes to skills, expertise, and motivation.
Connecting with the meaning of our work
It is no surprise that our motivation is often high when we experience meaningful or fulfilling work.
When we feel personally connected to our work, when we can identify the value and purpose of what we are doing day to day – this felt connection feeds our motivation.
The meaning work holds for us also changes at different life stages. Once again, being more mindful, reflective, and present in our lives creates space to feel and observe these changes and any impact they have on our motivation.
Being attentive to our health and well-being
Fluctuations in our motivation are linked to our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Are we paying attention to our levels of stress, are we giving ourselves time and space to relax and rejuvenate? Are we eating regularly and keeping ourselves well hydrated? Are we monitoring our sleep habits? Are we physically active on a regular basis, are we moving our bodies to help regulate our nervous systems, to release stress?
Do we take our feelings seriously? Are we attentive to our mental health? Are we sustaining good relationships and seeking support when needed? Are we nurturing other areas of our lives besides work?
As life moves and changes, motivation fluctuates. This is a human “given.” The motivation we have for our work and careers will therefore naturally fluctuate, too.
Accepting these fluctuations creates the space to deepen our awareness and become more mindful of the changes and shifts in our motivation day to day.
Acceptance helps us actively monitor the changes we experience – both personal and in our work -and the impact these have on our motivation.
Acceptance makes us more flexible in making any suitable adjustments to our lives.
Acceptance draws our attention back to selfcare and our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
What do you notice about your motivation?
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