Reigniting your motivation at work

It’s fair to say that for many of us, life has felt like it’s been on pause for quite some time. But as things slowly return to whatever normal is going to be, many people are struggling to get their mojo back at work.

Whatever the reason you’re struggling with motivation at work – whether it’s because you’ve had a planned career break, are struggling to adjust to the new demands as we emerge from the pandemic, or you’ve just had other priorities and now want to re-focus on your career – here are some of my tips for getting your focus and energy back.

Taking stock

Step one for reigniting your motivation is to take stock of where you’re at. What has changed for you? And what remains the same?

You could find yourself with a new hybrid working routine, balancing the demands of a commute for the first time in more than a year. Or you could be adjusting to the news that you will be permanently based from home and wondering how to craft a routine that works in the long-term, rather than feeling like you just had to get through to a certain end point.

You team might have changed. There could be new colleagues and you might have lost old ones without the chance for a proper goodbye. You might be working with people you’ve never met – and may never meet in person if you’re all permanently based from home.

Has the scope of your role changed? Maybe you’ve been asked to take on extra responsibilities as your organisation re-shapes itself.  If you’ve started a new role, you might be learning about both a new organisation and the demands of the role itself.

In figuring out what’s changed you might identify some personal development opportunities to help you hone your skills or develop new ones suitable for the situation you now find yourself in.

Figuring out what helps your motivation at work 

Having taken stock, the next step in reigniting your motivation is to think about what will work for you right now. That could be very different to what worked for you back in early 2019.

This means you need to look within at your intrinsic or internal motivators. This is about knowing your purpose, your why (why you do what you do) and your personal success criteria (what success looks like for you).

Intrinsic motivators are things we gain personal enjoyment or satisfaction from doing. I recently explored motivation within a leadership programme with a group of managers. We saw a shift upwards in job security as an important factor post-pandemic along with an increased appetite for flexible working and wellbeing support (which weren’t surprising). However, many of the true intrinsic motivators (articulated by Herzberg’s Motivation Theory from the 1950s and 60s) were still true. Things like interesting work, feeling involved, and making a contribution along with personal growth and recognition were all very important. across the group but clearly everyone was different.

Next, think about your role and make a list of things you do which play to your strengths. When I talk with my career coaching clients about strengths, we define strengths as being things you  enjoy, that energize you and you are good at. Finding a role in which you spend the majority of your time playing to your strengths will help you to feel motivated and fulfilled, as well as to easily see how you’re adding value.

You might want to dig even deeper want to use tools such as MBTI, a profiling tool which helps you understand more about yourself and your preferences. (If you’ve never done a profile, I can help you with that.) And understanding your values, what’s really important to you, can help you understand what kinds of work you find fulfilling and what will leave you exhausted and unsatisfied.

Tell people what you need to be at your best

Once you’ve figured out what works for you, make sure to communicate that information to your manager. Them having this information will help make conversations easier. Be open, talk about how you are feeling and what you need from them to help you get back to your best. I always remind people that we don’t come with a user manual, so giving your manager an insight into how you like to work, what you enjoy, and the tasks at which you thrive is crucial to maintaining a good working relationship.

Now weigh up what’s feeling difficult. What can you do about these things? At the start of lockdown many people struggled with learning to use online video platforms as a way to do meetings; now for most of us, using them is second nature. Are there apps you can use to help you manage your time better, for example? Or is there an online platform for planning projects collaboratively now you don’t get together with your team each day?

Recruiting champions and cheerleaders

Even when you have a really good grip of the all things I’ve described, there will still be days when you feel jaded and lacking in motivation. These are the times to turn to your cheerleaders and champions.

You could find these people anywhere, but once you come across them, be sure to invest time in them, ensuring any support is two-way.

Cheerleaders will celebrate your successes with you. But more importantly, they will help you when you’re struggling. They are the friend who sends you a message ahead of that important presentation. They’re the colleague who checks in with you after a difficult meeting. They’re the people you want to share your good days and your bad days with, knowing you’ll feel better when you do. It’s often reciprocal, and you’ll be their cheerleader as much as they are yours.

Champions will help you with your career, giving you quality feedback about the development areas that will assist your next step, pointing out new options, and acting as your sponsor among senior people to help you secure new opportunities.

Both of these types of people will help you rediscover your mojo, whether you talk explicitly to them about feeling a bit jaded, or whether you just reconnect to have a more general conversation about your career.

It’s time to take our fingers off the pause button and hit play again. For dedicated support with reigniting your motivation at work, give me a call on 07765 894040.


Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

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