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14 Motivations to Help You Go to Work

14 Motivations to Help You Go to Work

We all have to do it, but that doesn’t mean that it comes easy… going to work that is!

Some days, we hop in the car and go out of habit and we’re at our destination before we know it. And the day has begun. Other days, we dread to put one foot in front of the other because we know with each step we take, it takes us a little closer to where we’re going to be spending the next eight hours. Those eight hours when your head isn’t “in the game” can be excruciatingly long, extremely dull, and leave you yearning to see the clock’s hands move just one iota.
For those days where you think you just can’t face going in one more time, I offer you 14 motivations to help you answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

1. Make your work-space an inviting space

Who wants to drive in to work knowing there’s a monotone-colored cubicle and matching desk accessories waiting for you? Create a space that is “you!” If you have an agreeable supervisor who doesn’t mind a few touches from home, dress up your space with plants or a few pictures of the people you love most. Put up motivating quotes on colorful backgrounds or print some out and frame them. Not only will you make a space you feel comfortable in, but your co-workers will see how you took ownership of an area and the things you chose to surround yourself with… you can motivate others in this subtle way!

2. Reward yourself for perfect attendance

Why not? We were rewarded as children. When we were attending elementary and high school, our job WAS school and we were rewarded for showing up. Make a point of being at work ten to fifteen minutes before you are required to and track whether or not you’re successful. “X” off every day you made it in early and give yourself a treat for five days in a row or whatever time frame you designate. I advise keeping this one to yourself though, sometimes there are clock-Nazis watching and taking their own notes too!

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3. You get to mentally challenge yourself

When we go to work, we get the opportunity to be challenged both creatively and intellectually. Problems are present every day. Being present in body as well as in mind gives us a chance to stretch our thinking and personally challenge ourselves to strive for success. Track these times when you feel excited by new approaches to performing your job – being able to reflect on these times will aid you in your ability to have an air of gratitude.

4. You spark your own creativity

Going to work allows us to think outside of the proverbial “box.” Each day you get in your car to go to work, try thinking: What will I learn today? Maybe it’s the chance and the training ground you need to learn how to be creative. Why not keep a little notebook and jot down when your idea was used or a portion of it? Tracking these things and bringing them up during performance evaluations could further your position within the company.

5. You experience positive interaction with others

Whether you view yourself as being a private person or not, interaction with co-workers cannot be underestimated. When we go to work and engage in conversation, work-related or about life in general, we are engaging in social behavior that gives us a sense of being connected with the human race.

6. You can help others

Our willingness to go to work earns us the financial capability to touch the lives of others through charitable activities. Because we show up at work, we are afforded the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone not capable of changing their circumstances on their own. We are able to “give back” because we work.

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7. You are able to provide for your family and yourself

Whether you are a member of a family or it may be just you, the cold hard truth is that you need to be motivated by financial responsibilities, the mortgage or rent, electricity, insurances, phone, and food. Your job enables you to afford the things in life that you not only want but you at the basic level need.

8. You gain self-respect

Going to work and obtaining a reputation for not only being dependable, but someone who people can trust boosts your self-respect. Knowing that someone relies on your talents and knowledge gives you value and makes you feel confident in the work you are called to do.

9. You enjoy a sense of completion

Whether you work at a fast-food chain or an executive office, there is a mission for that day. There is always something that needs to be accomplished. Participating in that work gives you a sense of completion because you know you were involved in the process to make the end result or product come about.

10. You establish a career path

Any job you hold should be viewed as a stepping stone to the next phase in your life. Look at your current position as a “testing ground” for the next big thing that will come along in life!

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11. You can afford a certain lifestyle

A powerful motivation to go to work is knowing that the money you earn can potentially afford you a lifestyle you want to enjoy. Do you long to travel? Own your own business? What dreams do you have that you long to fulfill? Showing up at work and planning for the things you want puts you on that path to that desired lifestyle – it all has to start somewhere, why not the motivation to go to work?

12. Go to bed earlier

I think by now we’re all pretty aware that we rarely get the correct amount of sleep that our body needs to restore itself for the next day. This results in multiple snooze-alarm-slaps in the morning hours and scrambling to get ready for the workday ahead. Eliminate this unnecessary stress and turn in early. It may take some getting used to, but you’ll feel better in the long run.

13. Prepare your lunch the night before

This very simple step can shave time off of your get-ready time in the morning! How nice would it be to just walk to the refrigerator and pull out the bag you prepared the night before?

14. Select and prepare your outfit the night before

Take time out to go to the closet and pick out what you intend to wear for the next day. If it needs ironing, do it before you go to bed! Again, a huge time saver in the morning! Once you’re done with showering and grooming, simply walk to your closet and take out what you got ready the night before. This eliminates the stress of picking something, ironing, and possibly running late especially if you discover at the last minute there’s a missing button or worse yet, a hole in your favorite shirt or blouse.

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The bottom line is: work is what we choose to make it. If you want to continue to dread it and find ways to escape being there, that’s a personal choice. But if you’d like to have peace of mind, grow as a person, and feel excitement about the role you play at your workplace then turn your thinking around and consider what you gain from being there besides just the paycheck!

Featured photo credit: epSos.de via flickr.com

More by this author

Cathy Robinson

Cathy blogs about mental strength, motivation and happiness at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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