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How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

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How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

If you’ve ever read into the stories of most famous entrepreneurs or talented business people, you’ll find that quite a few of them share a common trait:

They were very unfulfilled at work and they needed to make a change so that they could position themselves towards a career path they were passionate about.

For some, it was more than possible to quit their jobs immediately and make the switch towards building their business or finding a job that worked better for them. However, not everyone has the financial stability that is required to do that and you may still need to work in your current job in order to be able to pay for your living expenses while you continue or start your education, build a side hustle, or work your way up in a different industry.

Regardless of what your future career goals may be, it can be difficult to stay motivated and present in your current job when you know that it is not what you want to be doing.

Are you having trouble gritting your teeth and getting the job that you have at the moment? If you are, here are some tips that will help you to find work motivation when you are unfulfilled:

1. Keep Your Mind on Your Purpose

The best way to stay motivated at work is to be super clear about why you do what you do — your purpose.

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If you aren’t sure your true purpose to work, you’re not alone. This article can help you figure this out:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Even if you think making money is the reason why you’re doing the job, you should think deeper and ask yourself why.

Why is making more money so important to you? Is it because of the family that you’re supporting? Or is it because you’re trying to make more money to build up your own business?

Find out the root of what you truly want and this purpose will become your drive to work.

2. Find the Positives in Your Role

No matter what your profession is, there are always positives to the job that you have. Whether it’s being to help others by building value in their business or simply being able to interact with intelligent people, you are guaranteed to find something that you like about your job.

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I would like for you to sit down and write down 3 things that you enjoy about your job right now. If you can think of more, amazing! If you can only think about three or even have trouble getting to that number, that’s perfectly fine.

Once you’ve finished creating your list, I want you to take that list with you when you go to work and put it in a place where you will be able to look at it frequently. When you feel unmotivated or unsatisfied, look back at this list of things that you enjoy about your role and focus on those things while you are working.

When you can highlight the positives of what you are doing, you can better focus on providing value in your position, even if you are not completely happy doing it.[1]

3. Focus on Your Goals and How Your Work Is Helping You to Reach Them

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at your job, you have hopefully found your next position and created a road map of how you are going to get there. Besides helping you to make your next move, these goals and plans serve another purpose: to keep you motivated at your current job by reminding you that it is serving your overall goal.

Ultimately, your current position is simply a placeholder and a way for you to maintain steady income while you plan your exit. If need be, keep a list of these goals or a reminder of your current job’s purpose nearby so that you are always reminded that, while it is not wanted at the moment, this job is more than necessary.

You could also provide further motivation with this tactic by keeping a calendar that counts the days until you plan to leave so that you are reminded to continue working hard until you are ready to leave this current role behind.

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Have trouble setting or achieving goals? This guide can help you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

4. Build Momentum by Achieving Success With Small Tasks

Think back to the last time you achieved something in your current position. It felt good, right?

No matter how out of love you are with your job, achieving success is still something that provides excitement when you are performing work-related tasks and being recognized and commended for them.

When one feels unfulfilled at their role, it is very unlikely that they are focused on being successful and achieving a lot at work. Unfortunately, this desire to do your work well can wane if you lose sight of providing value.

To get back into the swing of things, build your momentum by achieving small, simple tasks. When you see that you are more than capable of being successful in your workplace, that hunger for achievement will grow and you will be able to accomplish more difficult tasks with ease and with the desire to do so.

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Success breeds the desire for more success and if you are finding that you are having trouble motivating yourself in a job that isn’t your favorite, this is a great way to get back on track for the time being.

You can find out more about how to build momentum here:

How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

5. Keep Your Overall Emotional Quality High

Even if you were working a job that you enjoyed, you can’t perform well if your emotional quality isn’t in good shape. Whether you are too tired, not having enough fun in your personal life, or dealing with hardships inside or outside of the workplace, it negatively impacts all aspects of your job.

Before going to work and even during the course of your day, try your best to keep your emotional quality high. Whether it is putting yourself around co-workers that you love or helping them out, taking micro-breaks to recover from hard work and recharge, or by talking to a friend, a little bit of self-care goes a long way. If you’re happy, you’ll perform well. It’s as simple as that![2]

The Bottom Line

While you won’t always be in love with your job, you can always find the motivation necessary to power through the tasks associated with your role.

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If you have felt unfulfilled in your current position and are having trouble finding that motivation, use the five tips above to help you cultivate this work motivation in order to achieve more and push through poor performance.

More Resources About Motivation

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on January 19, 2022

What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, then you are using fear-based motivation:

  • “If I don’t get that promotion, I’m going to be seen as a failure so I better stay up all night to work on this proposal.”
  • “If I speak up for school reform, the internet trolls are going to get me, so I better be quiet even though I care a lot about this issue.”
  • “If I don’t exercise enough, I’m going to look like crap, so I better go to the gym six days a week, even if my body is killing me.”

Fear-based motivation is exactly what it sounds like—getting yourself and others to do things out of fear of what will happen if you don’t do it and do it well.

What you might not know is that while fear-based motivation might work in the short term, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your performance, relationships, and well-being.

Is Fear-Based Motivation Helpful?

If using fear as motivation comes naturally for you, you aren’t alone. Our brains use fear to keep us out of trouble. Normally, you want to move away from what feels harmful towards what feels safe.

This brain function is important when there is a genuine threat to your well-being, like if there is a rattlesnake on the hiking trail. Your brain will use fear to motivate you to move away from the snake as quickly as possible. But when you use fear-based motivation to accomplish your life and career goals, the constant state of fear puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and can end up working against you.

The Darkside of Fear-Based Motivation

Take, for example, when your trainer at your gym motivates you during your workout by yelling things like, “Bikini season is coming! You don’t want your cellulite to be the star of the show!” or “Burn off that piece of birthday cake you ate last night!”

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Sure, you might be motivated to do ten more burpees, but what is going on in the back of your mind? You probably have an image of a group of people standing around you at the beach laughing at you in your bikini, or you feel guilty about eating that piece of cake and criticize yourself for not being able to control yourself.

Reliance on Negative Thinking

For most of us, this type of thinking causes stress and can bring down our energy levels and mood. The reliance on negative thinking is the problem with fear-based motivation. It forces us to put our attention on what is wrong or what could go wrong instead of anticipating and celebrating what is right. This, in turn, narrows our focus and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.

When your brain senses a threat, whether it’s a rattlesnake hiding in the grass or the possibility of being laughed at in your bikini, your brain will move you into a protective stance. Your vision narrows and you prepare to fight, flee or freeze.

You can probably imagine what this looks like in the case of a rattlesnake, but how does this impact your bikini experience?

The High Cost of Fear-Based Motivation

Imagine that you plan a beach vacation with your friends three months from now. The first thing you picture is sitting on the beach with your tummy rolls and cellulite. You immediately sign up for three months of boot camp classes at the gym and banish all sugar and booze from your diet. You are determined not to make a fool of yourself on the beach!

Will the fear of not looking like a supermodel under the beach umbrella motivate you to get in shape and eat better? Possibly. But at what cost?

For three months, every time you picture yourself looking “less than perfect” in your bikini, you feel fear of being ashamed. Shame makes you want to hide, and that makes it harder to find the motivation to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

You become so focused on how you are going to look on the beach that you lose out on all the fun and joy of life. You pass up on going shopping with your friends for new outfits because you aren’t at your goal weight yet. You stop doing the things you love to do to spend more time at the gym. You avoid family gatherings where you will be confronted with tempting food. You over-train to the point of hurting yourself.

The Healthier Alternative to Fear-Based Motivation

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in your bikini! If that’s important to you, keep your goal in mind but change the way you motivate yourself. Instead of using the fear of feeling ashamed to motivate you, try using love-based motivation.

Love-based motivation uses love instead of fear to lead and inspire you. It comes from a different part of your brain than fear-based motivation. Love-based motivation comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for joy, creativity, and passion.

5 Questions of Love-Based Motivation

There are many ways to deploy love-based motivation. The trick is to use one or all of the following to motivate you towards your goal: empathy, curiosity, innovation, vision, and heart-centered action.

Here are five questions you can use to motivate yourself using love-based motivation.

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1. What Would You Say to a Friend?

Chances are that you talk to your friends in a much kinder way and with more empathy than you talk to yourself. You wouldn’t tell a friend, “you better starve yourself and hit the gym three times a day to look good in that bikini!” Instead, you would probably say something like, “I’m so excited to go on this vacation with you! I can’t wait to spend time catching up while sipping margaritas on the beach.”

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend.

2. What Are You Curious About Learning That Might Help You Get to Your Goal?

More often than not, achieving our goals is more about the journey it took us to get there than the goal itself. Curiosity makes journeys more fun. Perhaps you are curious about doing a triathlon but you don’t know how to run. If you spend three months learning to run, you would get into better shape and learn something new.

3. How Can You Get to Your Goal in a Way That Feels Good?

Using the “Yes, And” game is a great way to come up with innovative ideas for working towards your goals. If your first instinct is to go to the gym six days a week but you aren’t jazzed about it, find something that you like about that idea and make it better.

For example, if what you like about going to the gym is that you work up a sweat, what if instead of the gym, you join a dance class where you can learn some new moves to show off on your vacation?

4. What Is Important to You About Your Goal?

When you dig into your goal, chances are that you’ll find a deeper meaning. If your goal is to “look good in a bikini,” ask yourself why that’s important to you.

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For example, “I want to look good in my bikini because I want to have fun on vacation.” Then, ask yourself how much having fun on your vacation depends on how you look in your swimsuit.

5. What Heart-Centered Action Can You Take That Will Help You Reach Your Goal?

Whether your goal remains bikini-focused or changes to ways of having a good time on your vacation, choose an action that you can take that feels like it is coming from a place of love instead of fear.

For example, suggest to your friends that you take scuba diving classes as a group before vacation. It will get you moving and bring your friends together.

Long-Term Happiness and Satisfaction

Fear-based motivation may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term happiness and satisfaction. Fear isn’t designed to be used for long periods, and you will eventually tire of the fear and give up on your goals. Love, however, is designed for longevity.

Finding your motivation in a place of love will fuel you to reach your goals, whether your goals are about feeling good in a bikini, getting a promotion at work, or speaking up for what you believe in.

More Tips on Boosting Motivation

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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