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

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.

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.

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire 10 Reasons Why You’re Demotivated and How to Overcome It 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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