MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you stay motivated at work? is written by Perry Yeatman, CEO of Perry Yeatman Global Partners.
The truth is I love my work. I pretty much always have. However, that’s only because I picked a career I am passionate about. So first and foremost, make sure you choose a career you love—it will be much easier to stay motivated through the tough times when you’re already in a job that’s meaningful to you. Don’t pick a job for your parents and definitely don’t pick a job purely for the money.
Sit down and really think about your skills and talents—what do you want to get out of a career? Then, pursue a job that lets you bring your unique gifts to bear in ways that regularly make you feel challenged and valued. If you do that, you’ll probably love what you do. If you love what you do, you’re more likely to be great at it. And if you’re great at what you do, finding motivation is much less of a problem overall. Nevertheless, there will always be days when you can’t seem to find the motivation needed to keep moving forward. When you find yourself procrastinating or avoiding a specific task or assignment follow these three steps:
First, recognize exactly where you are lacking the motivation. Address the issue head on. Then, think about what motivates you. For me, that means making it personal. So I take that task and set a deadline for completing it. I’ll share that deadline with a co-worker and commit to it. This way even if I don’t want to do something, I’ll have to because others are counting on me. This may also explain why I was drawn to competitive rowing in college–the ultimate team sport. I never would have made it to the dock by 6:00 AM every morning if there weren’t eight other women waiting for me–eight women who literally couldn’t start practice until I showed up.
Lastly, if I still can’t find the motivation I need I’ll let it go for the time being. Instead, I’ll promise myself that I’ll tackle it first thing the next day. Before you even think about doing anything else the following day, force yourself to knock out whatever it is that you’ve been avoiding. The earlier the better, so you have the rest of your day to focus on your other work–which also happens to be the tasks you enjoy doing more.
Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: How do you stay motivated at work?
The art of staying motivated at work by Beth Fisher-Yoshida, director of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at Columbia University.
The best lesson I learned from joining a board by Juliet de Baubigny, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
5 secrets to stay motivated at work by Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Equinox.