Does Not Staying Motivated Count Against Your Career Advancement?
If you are in a corporate job and have been there for some time, chances are you have your set of frustrations and challenges.
You are desperately looking for a way to stay happy and motivated at work.
You have work ethics you are proud of and you want to do great work but boy does it get really hard to to keep going some days! I should know – I spent a few loooong years in that place.
So how do you stay motivated because you need that to move up and get ahead? Oh and YES, not staying motivated can count against you big time. Think about it for a minute. Would you hire yourself, much less promote yourself, if you had lost your all motivation and desire to work? It’s a hard sell!
Let me share with you my uncensored 3 secrets that worked wonders for me when I made the mental switch from being frustrated to becoming motivated:
Secret #1 to Staying Motivated in Your Job: Stop Caring So Much
You may start out your career caring deeply about every detail of your corporate job but something happens along the way and you suddenly realize that the stuff you care about isn’t actually going to make a different to your career advancement. That’s the stuff you need to stop caring about.
For example, some of the corporate policies, the media attention to the company stock and the office gossip can weigh down your spirits if you are not careful. So the secret is to set personal boundaries and stop caring so much about every little detail. Instead you free up room to focus on the stuff that really advances your career, such as your work, your relationship with your boss, and your standing in the eyes of upper management.
Caring about the wrong thing does not serve you well at all, it accomplishes nothing and it will drain your motivation. Examine everything that comes across your desk (or computer, you know what I mean), and first ask if it is your job to take action on that? If it’s not your job, then learn to stop caring about the inconsequential stuff. Move on to important things and see how this simplifies your career. And deep down, you know exactly what those important things are.
In short, in toxic or difficult work environments, if you want to stay motivated in the present moment, you must turn a deaf ear to the white noise at your job. They do not matter and they rob your motivation. Do your job and do it well. Build a network of people you care about and do not concern yourself beyond that.
Caring less about the noise will get you further in your job and keep you happier.
Secret #2 to Staying Motivated in Your Job: End the self-pity and start the self-empowering.
You are probably bombarded with work that comes your way and if you are not familiar with the processes and the systems, you have even more work to do. And this starts the self-pity process: “I have so much work to do! How can I ever get it all done?” Etc etc. Resist the temptation to give into self-pity. It’s unattractive to your management and not good for your career.
Instead, as you settle into your job, pay attention to which work matters more than others. Some work gets noticed while most of the rest is ignored. Learn to identify what work you really need to do and what is optional and get in charge of your career. You can make decisions. You can be self-empowered without having explicit permission, just find the right balance. The right level of self-empowerment is a key leadership skill and management will notice that favorably.
Do only the stuff your boss and management will care about and notice. That means learning to say no to petty work that gets you nowhere. This is the work that comes to you from a random co-worker, a project manager in another organization, an old colleague asking a favor and so on and on. The answer to all these lovely requests starts with a sincere apology followed by the explanation that you are overcommitted with your current projects, even though you wish you could help them.
To do this, you need some guts. And guess what? You already have it.
Secret #3 to Staying Motivated in Your Job: Watch your attitude like a hawk
Attitude is what makes all the difference in your career. You can ruin years of hard work or coming through on that tough project with a bad attitude. Have your attitude in check especially in tough times and during the frustrating periods. It’s easier and smarter to have a great attitude, regardless of how you feel inside, than to do all that work and then blow it with a bad attitude.
I will never forget how much one single incident early in my career cost me over the years. My management held it over my head instead of using it as a lesson to help me learn and grow. And the worst part, they never told me so I could fix it and not repeat it, you know? You can argue with the stupidity of it all but where does that get you?
You are not there to fix the system, remember that. You are there to find a way to thrive in your careers and so it helps to know that people notice your attitude above your work.
I challenge you to care a little less, to have a little better attitude, and to focus more on what matters.