Preparing to start a new job can be intimidating. Especially when you’ve had over a month off. After wrapping up my graduate program, the holiday season sort of became a built in, extremely extended vacation before I started my new position. Sure, much of the time was occupied by a big move and a whole bunch of family, but the majority was me on a couch, watching Family Feud marathons.
Suffice it to say, I shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s been difficult to get myself motivated to go back to work. I’ve reflected on these three questions and clung to my answers in order to coax my missing motivation back as I return to the office as a full time SA professional.
1. Why does your work motivate you?
First, if it doesn’t, I think it definitely should. The assignments you are given may not always be great, and every single thing you do may not necessarily be enjoyable, but you should find purpose in the work you are doing. Now of course, the answer to this question will be different for each of us, so I won’t make a laundry list of the ways work may motivate you all, but for me it’s absolutely the fact that I feel myself operating in my strengths when I do what I do. Exercising the pieces of my personality and skill set that make me who I am in a job motivates me like no other. That can be hard to remember in the daily grind, so the trial comes in finding your why.
2. Who motivates you?
Okay, so I’m sure the obvious answer here is STUDENTS, which of course, is true. However, think one step further about the people in your life who have motivated you to become who you are and how their influences may inspire you to keep going. For me, alone in a new place, I think about my network of friends sprinkled from Colorado, to Texas, to South Carolina, who are rooting for me. For you, this could be a partner or family or colleague. I think its is massively important that we remember how valuable our work is for the students we serve. I also love to push myself one step further to recognize the other places from which I can draw motivation, especially if I haven’t seen students in a while!
3. What could be holding you back from being motivated?
This one was HUGE for me. In this instance, one of the biggest things holding me back was absolutely fear. Transition is incredibly challenging and I believe its a large contributor to the anti-motivation movement. Maybe you’re taking on a new role and the intimidation of new responsibilities has you scared straight. If there is discomfort between you and a coworker or an unsettling change at your institution. These things can be scary, uncomfortable, difficult, [insert your adjective of choice here]. All of that emotion may leave your motivation bucket a little dry. The first step to filling it back up again is to identify just what it is that’s holding you back.
How would you answer these questions? Are there other things you do to re-motivate after a particularly slow season? What brings you back to your happy place?
> BONUS <
Podcast With Chelsea O’Brien on Serving Veteran Students