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Getting And Keeping Motivated. The 5 Minute Career Coach July 2010
July 01, 2010

Helping Career Changers Around The World

July 2010


Welcome to the July 2010 edition of The 5 Minute Career Coach.

What's in this Issue

The article this month was prompted by a question from a member of the 5 Minute Career Coach Community asking about motivation. Click here to read my response.

With best wishes

Quote of the Day

"Are you so busy filling your daily obligations that you put off to some future time those things that will make you feel good?"
Sanaya Roman

When you always put others first you risk going through life never finding the time to express your own special talents. Is that a risk you might regret not taking?

Getting and Keeping Motivated

Clare visited the How To Change Careers website recently and sent me a couple of questions about managing her career change.

One of the key issues for her was how to keep the energy and motivation going to push her career change through.

This is a perennial issue for career changers because, much as we wish it could just happen overnight, the reality is that making a complete change of direction with your career can take time.

So what are the best ways of keeping going? Here are my suggestions for keeping the career change show on the road.

Find someone enthusiastic and energising to support you
I think this is one of the most important factors in seeing change through successfully. Who do you know who has that energy and buzz about them? Someone who will be excited about your ideas and who will give you positive feedback.

This person may not be your nearest and dearest – those closest to you can sometimes hold you back rather than push you forwards! What about a friend, a work colleague, someone who you know socially?

Once you have identified this person, ask them to agree to telephone or meet up with you regularly to keep you on track – and maybe you can do the same for them on a different issue of theirs? Read more about having a Career Change Buddy here.

Are you a 'towards' or an 'away from' person?
Explore the kind of thing that does motivate you. You may find that you tend to fall into one of two camps here. If you have 'towards' motivation, you build up a strong image of where you want to be and this picture pulls you forwards.

With 'away from' motivation, it is the dislike of something negative that is pushing you into action. Many career changers start with 'away from' motivation – they just hate their jobs! But this motivation can be hard to sustain – if your job just improves a little, then the push to change weakens.

On the other hand, if you can work (maybe with your Career Change Buddy) to build up a really detailed picture of how you would like your working life to be, then this image can give you an ongoing magnetic pull to keep you moving.

Break it down into small steps
Career change can feel like an enormous mountain to climb – there is so much to think about, so many resources to check, people to talk to... It is very easy to get overwhelmed by it all.

So break it down into the smallest steps you can think of. This means that they are all achievable and so you get the feeling of making progress easily. Take a look at my description of reverse engineering to see how you can do this.

Acknowledge your progress
This links closely with the previous point about small steps. If you are taking small steps, then record them in a notebook at the end of each day or week. This allows you to look back over them on a regular basis and see how far you have travelled on your career change journey.

You may also want to set benchmarks with your Career Change Buddy which allow you to celebrate as you reach significant points of your career change journey.

Check what your 'gremlin' is saying
Your gremlin is that little voice inside that holds you back, saying things like 'You'll never make it', 'You're not good enough', 'You mustn't make a change till you know exactly what will be right for you.' These messages can be extremely powerful because they arise from very early conditioning.

But you can and should challenge them. What was relevant to you as a child will very probably not apply now! Take a look at this page on the How To Change Careers website. for more information on overcoming these thoughts and beliefs.

Be kind to yourself
Are you the kind of person who drives yourself very hard, who feels you have to be there for everyone, meeting their needs before you even think about your own? Maybe that is why you haven't got the energy to work on your own career?

If you really are exhausted, take a look at your lifestyle. There could be practical steps you need to take such as adjusting your diet, getting more exercise, having a little quiet time just for you. If you have any doubts about your health, check it out with your doctor. Let's face it, you make time to get the car serviced, but when did you last have a service? Make sure you are fit for the career change journey.

These are some of the main motivation issues, but take a look at the How To Change Careers website too - you'll find more tips on career change motivation there.

And if you'd like to read my answers to Clare's other questions, just go to the Career Answers page on the How To Change Careers website.

Your 5 Minute Coaching Session

Challenging questions are one of the key tools coaches use in helping clients to create change.

Each month I offer you a mini coaching session by asking you a challenging question to think about. The questions I ask are designed to get you thinking in new ways and hopefully gain insights that may open your mind to new possibilities for you career and for your life.

Here’s a biggie in relation to career change

"What's stopping you?"

You might start with a quick response like 'I can't afford it', but try asking the question again and again. This is how you get down to the really fundamental responses that show you where the sticking points really lie. Once you have identified them, you can begin to challenge them, check if they really are the blocks you think they are and find ways of working round them.

Recommended Resources

Luciano Passuello

Litemind is a blog dedicated to exploring ways of using our minds efficiently and it is one of those sites that I find I keep popping back to.

It is a brilliant resource of articles that will appeal to you if you are curious about how we think and why we think the way we do. Luciano’s blogs are not superficial overviews, but show his real fascination with thinking deeply about thinking. He covers topics such as creativity, goal setting, time management, motivation and problem solving.

Gaining some insight into topics such as these is invaluable for career changers and can help you spot some of the thinking traps you may be falling into without realising it.

Just to give you a flavour of the kind of thing Luciano writes about, take a look at the following posts:

Overcoming Procrastination Instantly Using Self Talk

Framing Changes Everything

Topics du Jour: Give Your Life Direction in Less than 10 Minutes a Day

I think you will agree that they are interesting, thought provoking and contain ideas that will help you with your career change.


More recommendations
If you would like to see more recommendations for books and similar resources, follow the link to the Career Change Books page of the How To Change Careers website. Do keep popping back to it as I am adding to it all the time.

And if there are books and resources that have inspired you and that you would like to recommend, there is a place for you to do so on that page.

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