We have reached the mid-year point when people may not be
feeling as motivated as they were months ago when New Year’s resolutions were
being made. The good news is that there is still time to make the most of the remaining
year. Here are a few suggestions on how to get reenergized and refocused in
your professional role.
Where do you see yourself ten years from today? This is a
question that we have all heard many times before, but it is surprising how
many people have not given careful consideration to the answer. I challenge you
to set aside at least 10 minutes (or more if possible) to give this some
thought. You may be tempted to focus solely on your career goals, but while
this is a significant motivating factor, it is important to remember that we
are more than just our work. There are many different life factors that impact
your ability to achieve your career aspirations, and most realistic goals will
have a combination of personal and professional items. This combination leads
to work-life balance which can reduce stress and improve your job performance
and personal satisfaction.
As you think about where you see yourself in ten years,
consider your future position in the following areas: career, family, health,
education and finances. Ask those who will be most affected by your plans for
their input and advice. They will have good insight on the reality of your plan
and they will also be prepared to offer support in the short and long term.
After you have identified your 10-year vision, think about what you need to do
right now and by five years from now to achieve those goals. Commit to your
plans in writing and review your plans at least annually to ensure that you are
Communicating your goals increases your commitment and
motivation to follow through in your actions. Identify a peer at your firm, or
in the industry, who can be an accountability partner that can review your
written goals and help keep you on track. Sharing your professional aspirations
with your manager can help you refine your goals and confirm your direction. Depending
on your firm culture, the thought of sharing your career ambitions with your
supervisor may be intimidating. If you are uncomfortable doing this you could
start the conversation by scheduling time with your manager to discuss where
they see you with the firm in 5 and 10 years (this question could also be asked
during a performance review). The response will give you an opportunity to see
how your goals compare and allow you to share your thoughts if appropriate.
Asking for feedback and being open to constructive criticism
provides another source of motivation. Proactively
seeking feedback will help you help you improve and grow both professionally
and personally. The Five Star Academy has a very simple and effective exercise
called Ascertaining Satisfaction that involves scheduling an appointment with a
peer to ask two questions: "What do I do well?” and "What could I do better?”
Asking these two simple questions from several of your peers will give you
valuable insight on changes you could make to improve.
Continual learning is an excellent way to stay challenged
and motivated. Take advantage of internal and external training and learning
opportunities. Attend firm lunch and learns, watch training videos, and utilize
firm resources. Research online
opportunities like newsletters, videos, websites, webinars and other tools that
can help you grow in your current position.
You can also learn by stepping out of your comfort zone. We
tend to feel safe in doing what is familiar, but this can also become boring
and lead to a lack of motivation. Accept a bigger responsibility or volunteer
for a project that forces you to stretch beyond your normal capabilities.
Motivation can also be found from those around you –
starting with the people in your firm. Build relationships with the people you
work with. Get to know them and be aware of their areas of expertise because
this may provide future opportunities for idea generation or collaboration.
Also make external connections through peer sharing groups like the Boomer Technology Circles
or the Talent Development Advantage,
industry associations and conferences to leverage the value found in sharing
best practices and lessons learned.
In addition to networking with peers, connecting with a
mentor is a rewarding way to stay motivated and accountable to your goals. No
matter what phase of life you are in, a mentor can be a benefit. The ideal
person will provide an honest perspective, give sound advice, encourage you to
grow, have your best interest in mind and take the time to listen and provide
feedback. This will also be someone who you look up to and respect. If you do
not have a mentor, consider seeking out the right person and starting this
mutually beneficial relationship.
Staying motivated is essential to staying ahead. Take the
time to consider your goals, communicate with your plans to those around you
and be open to constructive criticism.
After you are your direction is reconfirmed keep the momentum going
through learning and networking. All of these efforts will work together to
make the rest of your year a success.