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How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

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    Maybe you’ve been trying to kick-start your business and it just hasn’t worked yet. Maybe you’ve just started but you’re already frustrated. Or maybe you’ve wanted to hit that next level for years and haven’t been able to get there. Regardless of your situation, getting motivated and on-track isn’t difficult. It’s staying that way that’s the trick. And when you’re struggling to “make it,” sometimes it’s even harder. You find yourself wandering, letting yourself get distracted, and wondering if you’ll ever really make your mark. Want to end the cycle of struggle? Master these tips and you’ll be virtually unstoppable.

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    First, know that this is a temporary state. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been where you are. All that you need to know is that nothing is permanent. All things change, even if it seems that they don’t. It’s simply a law of nature — nothing stays the same forever. The universe is constantly moving, evolving, and changing, and so are you. So instead of seeing this as a neverending path into darkness, know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and every day, it’s getting closer. And as soon as you get a new client, sell your first product, or hit that next target, everything within you will shift.

    Second, remind yourself what you’re fighting for. When you’ve been trying to make something happen for awhile, you can start to lose sight of the end goal. Instead of focusing on the reason you started this journey in the first place, you begin to focus on smaller, more immediate outcomes. For example, if you started your business so you could eventually free up enough time to spend with your family, but you’ve been working for a long time and haven’t seen the results you’d expected or hoped for, your goal may have shifted from “be with my family” to “make my business work.” This has exactly the opposite effect than you originally intended. By shifting your priorities, now you’re probably spending less time with your family.

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    Sometimes it’s helpful to create tangible reminders of the reason you started down this path.  A vision board may be useful, or just a statement, penned boldly and tacked to a bulletin board near your workspace. If you want to remind yourself of a forgotten goal and reintegrate it into your thinking process and mindset, set your alarm a few minutes earlier each morning and spend that time meditating on what you’re working towards. Reaffirm what you’re fighting for and you’ll find the will to fight is restored and renewed once more.

    Third, believe in yourself. It can be hard to believe in yourself when you’ve been trying to make something work for a long time. Sometimes you just lose faith in your own ability to make it work or see it through. One of the best ways to stay strong in your belief in yourself is to keep track of your successes, even the small ones. When you’re feeling down on yourself, go back to the list of successes and review them. Remind yourself that you are capable and you can make this work.

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    Another way to rebuild your confidence involves something social psychologists have known for decades — that our feelings about ourselves are frequently a reflection of how we think others perceive us. So take advantage of that! Read through your client testimonials and e-mails. Ask your clients for periodic evaluations and you’re bound to receive some fantastic feedback (and if there are some negatives, folks, that’s a great learning experience — it tells you exactly what you need to do to improve and make your clients happy). Even if your faith in yourself falters, others still believe in you.

    Finally, get help before you’re in crisis. If your business isn’t where you want it to be, if you aren’t making the leaps ahead that you want to be making, there’s obviously something going on. Before things go too far, before you get lost and become totally unmotivated, get help!

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    The problem may be with your business — it could be a branding issue, a marketing issue, or maybe just you aren’t giving your clients what they want.  Hire a consultant who can turn your business inside out finding ways to improve your results. The problem may also lie within — you yourself might benefit from some “fine-tuning.” Hire a coach and work through any roadblocks that may be getting in the way of your success. Hire a mentor and model his/her behavior. Or if you’re struggling with self-discipline and need a budget solution, ask a reliable friend to be your accountability partner so you both can improve.

    As you begin to master the ability to keep your motivation high, it will become easier to stay on-track. Moments of frustration will be fewer and farther between and, as you master your mindset, you’ll find that you actually achieve success and reach your targets faster.

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

    You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

    Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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    4. Show Initiative

    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

    7. Find a Mentor

    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

    Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

    The Bottom Line

    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

    “Half of life is showing up.”

    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

    Remember, your career is your business!

    More About Continuous Growth

    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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