Years back a coaching client said to me that she was living in ‘Overwhelm-tion.’ She simply didn’t know where to start. I can really resonate with that.
The task list looks too long, giving you that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach; so it is easier to do nothing and instead make up a litany of justifiable excuses leaving you to live in the land of procrastination. Been there done that and got the T shirt!
Having been both a business coach and the beneficiary of a lot of personal coaching, over my life’s journey so far, I’ve collated a number of highly effective tools and techniques that can be used sequentially and/or individually, that have helped me to stay motivated and achieve great results.
These top tips apply to any context. However, as this blog has been specifically written for the amazing women in the 2to3days community, I have thrown in the odd specific reference to advancing your career.
1. Ask yourself: "What’s my vision?"
It’s impossible to get to where you want to get to if you don’t know where you want to go! Are you looking to move jobs or are you looking to return to work after a career break?
Park for a moment the journey and work involved to get there - jump instead to describing your ideal job by answering the following questions:
- What role would you be doing?
- Who would you be working for - big or small company, what sector, what type of business?
- Where would you be working?
- What would you be earning?
- How many days would you be working?
- What would working flexibly look like?
- How would you feel doing this job?
- What would those close to you be saying?
- What would it mean to you personally to get this role?
The key here is to be as specific as you can be, talk it out loud and above all, write it down.
2. Don’t try and 'eat the elephant' all in one go
So now you know where you want to end up, you need to make a plan on how to get there and this is where the motivation can get zapped. It feels too hard, too much, too many unknowns, too lonely etc.
To overcome this, you need to break the journey down into manageable steps and write all the steps down and do one step at a time - occasionally steps merge and you take a big leap forward, which is great.
Look ahead and visualise where you are heading. Don’t look down. Try it and you will see the difference it makes to your motivational mojo!
3. Write it down
Now that you have articulated your goal and the steps needed to get there, it’s really important that you write it all down and stick it somewhere where you can easily read it on a frequent basis. Writing things down enables a higher level of thinking and action.
When your brain is holding all this ‘stuff’, it slows it down. So free it up to be more creative, enabling you to take back control and gain clarity to process your emotions.
4. Identify and take control of your F-E-A-R
Stands for False Expectations Appearing Real!
The biggest mojo zappers are your fears. We all have them - the key is to not let them control you and to take away your motivation. So what are yours? Again, write them down and/or talk to someone about them. You will be amazed that the one thing that is plaguing you, isn’t so big when shared and you’ll also be surprised at how many solutions and offers of help you’ll get.
Once written down, rank them from 0 to 10 with 10 being really scary. Any fears with a score of 7 and above, have a think about that one thing you need to do to bring that fear down by 1, 2 or 3 points. This is where you need to trust your instinct - you may need to sit with it for a while but you know the answer - don’t be scared to voice it, write it down and then take the necessary action to quash that fear and let it go.
5. Get yourself a buddy
Someone who genuinely has your back. Someone you can rely on. Someone you can share your goal/ambition with and who will genuinely want to see you succeed.
Tell them how you would specifically like them to support you. This could be a call/email/chat - in a day/week/month’s time - to check in on your progress. Or it may be to read through your CV or LinkedIn profile, or to brainstorm how to increase your network or practise a mock interview.
Remember that sometimes, the simplest requests yield the biggest results.
6. When things seem tough, focus on the W-I-N
Stands for What’s Important Now. When you are feeling overwhelmed or lost, this acronym helps you to anchor yourself back to what your next step needs to be to keep you going forward.
7. Remember that people are like icebergs
And I don’t mean cold or distant. I mean you have no idea what is going on in their lives. Don’t judge a book by its cover or compare their life with yours, as frankly you don’t have a clue what is going on in their lives.
As Judy Garland famously said ‘Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.’
So be who you want to be and do what you need to do so that you can have what you want to have!