How to Stay Positive and Motivated at work
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How to stay motivated
There are days when you feel like Tess at the end of Working Girl…and then there are days when you feel like Tess at the beginning of Working Girl. To stay focused, jot down four successes (big or small, work-related or personal) at the end of each day, says Pamela Mitchell, author of The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention. Our brains are wired to cross something off and move on, but this will train it to take in your daily progress. “You have to build a new neural pathway,” she says, adding that the exercise “also shows you how something that you did maybe three weeks ago is paying off today.” Which sometimes is just the motivation you need.
How to ace an interview
Have you had more than a few job switches? A varied work history doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, says Jodi Glickman, CEO and founder of Great on the Job. A self-professed “perennial career-switcher,” she worked everywhere from the Peace Corps to ExxonMobil before launching her corporate-training and leadership-development classes. “[In interviews], I had to talk about what I wanted to do next and why I was the absolute right person to do it,” she says. “Every single conversation, you’re gonna lead with your punchline. You’re going to start with your destination, you’re going to look forward: Where are you going next? What are you excited about? Then you go to your backstory and connect the dots. And the beauty of this strategy is that you don’t have to memorize anything—you don’t have to know your 30- second pitch.”
How to overcome the negativity around you
Not getting a positive response to your self-improvement efforts? Resist the temptation to deliver your best Issa-from-Insecure bathroom rap clapback and instead try to understand where the criticism is coming from. Maybe your friend feels like she won’t be able to relate to you anymore or your BFF has been wanting to make a move to her dream city but keeps chickening out and is therefore resentful of your decision, says Toronto-based relationship therapist Natasha Sharma. These responses, while not cool, are normal. Humans are wired to avoid change—our brains are lazy. There’s also evidence that our pack-animal instincts kick in when these types of changes occur. “The further away someone moves from the ‘pack,’ the more of a threat they represent,” says Sharma. That said, we’re definitely not suggesting you have to live with this behaviour. “Tell friends and family who push back that while you appreciate and respect that they have their own opinions, it is unfair [for you] to be subjected to negativity or judgment,” says Sharma. “For individuals whom you are close to, if they have real concerns about a big change you’re looking to make, hear them out. For all the other naysayers: In one ear, out the other.”
Try this: strategic laziness
You could say that, between training Naomi Campbell, Riccardo Tisci and Bella Hadid (to name a few of his A-list clients), New York-based trainer Joe Holder (@ochosystem) is busy. So it brought us great joy to hear him extol the value of “strategic laziness”—essentially, taking a long, hard look at where you spend your time and energy. “Life is chaotic, and we think we can control much more than we can,” says Holder. “Know what you have to do, but also understand how much is necessary and do strictly that—no more, no less.” Reinvention, he explains, doesn’t have to be an overhaul of everything you are as a person. “Just change the aspects that need to change for you to become the person you wish to be. Take it from a position of self-love rather than self-hate.”
Refresh your mindset in 30 seconds
“Imagine you’re in a court of law and you ahve to prove a negative thought wrong. I’ll talk through it in my head and say ‘What are the facts? Is that really true?’ And then I’ll gather the evidence to put a case against it to say ‘That’s actually wrong and this thought is not that big of a deal.'” – Kate Petriw, co-author of Let That Sh*t Go: Find Peace of Mind and Happiness in Your Everyday
This article first appeared in the February 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.