I won’t lie to you by telling you that staying motivated during change is easy. It isn’t. Change can be exhausting and scary because of its inherent uncertainties. In 2008, I was laid off from a faculty position at a 2-year college. It was a job I put my heart-and-soul into for 5 ½ years. In many ways, it felt like a divorce or a loss of someone I dearly loved. I found myself going through the stages of grief. I needed to find a way to stay motivated during these major changes.
What can be done?
1. Remind yourself over and over again – the only thing you have control over is yourself. Since you can’t change the circumstances or situation, change how you think about it and how you react to it.
I was angry and the anger began to rob my energy and positivity. Once I turned my focus inward instead of outward, I began to feel hope. Instead of asking myself, “Why did this happen to me?” I asked, “How will I make my future exciting?”
2. Focus on one or two things in your life that bring you happiness or peace. This will provide positive energy so that you can keep your head above water in the sea of change.
Many times I reminded myself how blessed I was to have people in my life who supported me and loved me. To fuel my happiness, I set up a “Tuesday night with wine at 9” phone meeting with a close friend (Thanks Jess). Our conversations were full of creativity, laughs, and encouragement – just what I needed.
3. Ask yourself “What If?” Examine the worst case scenarios and then decide if the outcomes are something you can live with. If you can, accept it and move on. If you can’t, move to #4 below.
I realized the worst thing that could happen is I wouldn’t find work and would be financially ruined; however, I knew I had people in my life that would pick me up and carry me until I could stand on my own two feet. I wasn’t alone. The one outcome I couldn’t live with is living as a victim of my circumstance. Knowing this, I moved to #4.
4. Develop a contingency plan. It is time to be proactive. Plan for the outcomes you can’t live with. This will give you a sense of control over the inherent uncertainties.
I dabbled in a couple things that brought me great joy – peddling scrapbooking creations at craft shows and being in an in-home wine tasting consultant. This gave me time to regroup and decide on a long term plan.
Has my life played out just as I planned? No, it hasn’t. But the greatest joys in the change is that I will be graduating with a Masters in Communication in two months and also have my own business where I teach, inspire, motivate, and help companies and their employees realize potential. That’s pretty cool if you ask me!
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~George Bernard Shaw
(This concludes our Motivation series. Come back in April for a series on Teambuilding.)