What a great and thoughtful question .... "how did you keep motivated and keep focus?" I've been a professional for many, many years and have had times when I wondered why and lost my focus. I have become very spiritual and that connection to stopping, reflecting, and being quiet has helped me. You have to remember your accomplishments - small and big - to keep yourself motivated. Focus ..... set a goal ..... sound familiar? Setting goals really makes us stay focused to achieve them.
I also read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Steven Covey - it's a great read. If you get the book, or just want to google - check out Habit 3: Put First Things First and Habit 4: Think Win/Win. I think you might find some nuggets of gold to help you.
As you get older, you have to find it within yourself to be motivated and focused .... start tapping into time with yourself now to begin that journey!
One of the best tools that I used both in college as well as in my professional life is to break a task or project into smaller, more manageable "sprints". A lot of times I find it difficult to motivate myself when faced with a huge commitment and you aren't really sure where or how to start. The problem seems almost insurmountable, so it's easy to become discouraged and tell yourself you'll start on it later. By breaking the project or task into individual sprints, I have been able to be more organized and have stopped procrastinating when I feel lost.
- First, start by identifying what you are trying to complete. Is it writing a paper? Figuring out what college or post-college programs to apply for? Completing a project before the deadline at work?
- Next, break this process down into smaller pieces that are required to complete the task (brainstorm ideas, research these ideas, organize the research and outline your thoughts, flesh out your ideas with supporting information, finalize)
- Complete each task individually, building upon what you completed in the previous step. Maybe one day you spend 30 minutes just listing all of your ideas for the project. The next day, you take an hour to do some research (I like writing information on individual index cards that I can easily look at when organizing my thoughts). Etc until you've completed this project.
- PROOFREAD. Make sure everything makes sense and always check for spelling and grammatical errors
What kept me motivated and focused in college was "money" and "marriage."
College can be expensive... and worth every penny.
I graduated from college in 3 years by always taking 18 units (and occasionally 24 units) and taking summer school classes at the Junior College to save even more money.
College costs are typically the same if you take 12 units or 18 units. So, you get much more for your money if you consistently take 18 units. (Why buy a 12-pack of beer when you can get 18 beers at the same price ??)
By graduating a year early, I also saved a year of living expenses - Room and Board. And I was able to successfully enter the workforce a full year before my fellow college friends / peers.
I was motivated to graduate early and stayed focused because of the cost savings of graduating in 3 years.
Lastly, while in college, I was dating my high school girlfriend. She would not marry me until I graduated from college and had a real job. Thus, I was truly motivated to get my degree early, graduate, get a job... and then get married. And, still married after 33 years.
It is easy to stay focused when you see the goal that you want to achieve.
Manuel, I see you are from Tucson. Go CATS ! Bear Down ! I am a big fan of Arizona and the universities in AZ. My two daughters both graduated from ASU and live in Tempe. Go Devils.
Emanuelle (Mannie)’s Answer
Hi Manuel...this is a great question. I've been out of school for many years but I remember being the most motivated and focused when I was working towards specific goals that I set for myself, and when I was doing and studying things that interested me. Many students believe they need to know exactly what they want to do after high school and that it's set in stone. While I thought I knew what I wanted to study, I listened to a mentor of mine and spent the first two years of undergraduate taking general requirements that would also help me decide what my ultimate major would be. Once I discovered that I was more interested in education and not pre-med like I thought, I set goals and made sure that I moved toward them. In actuality I changed my direction a couple of times over the years, which led me to graduate school, a career in Higher Education and ultimately a career move to Human Resources at a corporation where I am now. The best advice I can give you is to take a look at yourself and what you want out of your life. Set goals to get there and give yourself some rewards when you achieve them. If you think it will help find an accountability partner who you can check in with along the way. Finally don't be afraid to revisit your goals and if they change that's okay. Wishing you the best!
Growing up, my grandmother and father both drove me to be better. They were the original motivating factors in my life and always pushed me hard in school. It paid off! Now, as a devoted wife and mother, my family is what motivates me and keeps me focused every day!
In addition, I have an innate desire to succeed and excel.
So whether you have an outside party helping keep you motivated or not, the key is to internally drive yourself to greatness. Perhaps, try giving yourself positive affirmations every morning in the mirror. Another idea is engaging in prayer and meditation before bed at night.
Whatever which way you choose, just stay the course and if you hit turbulence along the way, don't give up! Keep positive people around you, and always remain self-motivated in whatever you do.
Great question, Manuel.
Years ago, I learned to stay focused on my 'why?' Asking yourself questions will help determine your own 'why'. E.g., Why am I taking this position with this company? Why should I go to this specific college? What impact do I want to make? Why do I work/study hard? Why do I need to learn this? Why do I need to give it my all? My 'why' keeps me motivated even when I'm tired &/or don't feel like giving it my all.
My 'why' is bigger than me.
Early in my career, my why was to put food on the table, a roof over my son's head, and to provide for him.
As I made progress and earned promotions, my why became even bigger. How will this impact my team & their individual lives? How can I help them to be successful? What's their why? Why should customers purchase this product? How will this make an impact on my customer's life? What's my customer's why?
Now, I travel all over the country. Teaching / training others and my why is to ensure I set my participants up for success for LIFE, both professionally and personally.
Your 'why' will get you up early, stay up late. 'Why' drives you to be better. Your 'why' will keep you motivated and focused to finish this/that, dream bigger, reach farther, than you ever thought possible.
You’re going to have to look at the whole big picture and realize in some ways this question is actually two questions in one:
“What motivates you in life…and what motivates you at work?”
At the foundation of either question is my family, faith and community.
Always associate your goals with strong reasons and keep reminding it to yourself, out of sight if out of mind remember this.