Covid-19 has really up-ended life as we know it and revealed what a VUCA world we really live in impacting many of us on a very personal level but also professionally. This is especially true for students graduating this year. One day you are full of hope ready to take on whatever the world throws at you and then, you are blindsided by the virus' fallout, the rug of opportunity pulled from under your feet.
But, human life is full of ebbs and flows and this dip in motivation is surmountable. Here are some strategies to keep your motivation going. Nothing lasts forever and neither will this pandemic so, what can you do to keep resilient and keep your hopes and dreams for your career on track?
1.Re-connect with your Why
Spend some time either revisiting or exploring what motivates you and drives you. The pandemic may have changed the things you previously prioritised or reinforced the drivers that you already knew you had. Weave these into a compelling narrative of overcoming challenges, connecting to purpose, and a more nuanced sense of self.
2.When do you do your best work?
We are not machines and humans are not wired to perform at maximum potential 24/7 so try to keep track of when you have the most energy in the day and when you’re the most inspired to work hard. When is it that you communicate most clearly and often? When do you feel extra creative? And when do you find it easy to work with purpose? Once you identify these leverage that data to your benefit by scheduling more things during these times so you can play to your strengths. Ramp up your selfcare as well.
3.Step back and see the Big Picture
Breathe and regroup - Set new SMART goals which will help you visualise how you can move forward- what are your new priorities? What new things need your attention and energy right now? Set a new plan of action because if you don’t know which way you’re going, it will be hard to know if you ever get there. Setting small intentional goals for yourself is making yourself accountable and having tangible results and progress against these benchmarks keeps you motivated to stay the course.
4.Consider Your Support Circle and Network
Self-motivation is all about you, but that does not mean others can’t impact it. Does your support circle empower you to stay on top of things or distract you?
This Big Pause has made us all more tech savvy so look at your online network and think about where it needs strengthening. What are the new relationships you need to be building? Reach out to new people and people you haven’t been in touch with for a while and see how they are doing. Leverage those connections - Let them know your news and see how you can support one another.
5.Time for a Re-Vamp
Think about updating your CV, highlight your achievements and show the value you can add.
Revamp your Personal brand, what is your digital footprint saying about you? Are you happy with your LinkedIn profile? Does it reflect your current career aspirations? Ask contacts to endorse you or provide testimonials for social proof of your skills and talents. Take action and find a mentor; if you already have one, become a mentor yourself!
Many industries have been hit extremely hard by the pandemic - perhaps this has led many to think about a career change. Are you looking to transfer to a new sector or change career entirely? Start researching industries and job profiles, use LinkedIn to follow organisations that interest you to find out what is topical and trending in these sectors and reach out for Informational Interviews. Map out your current transferable skills and strengths and start building your new career narrative.
7.Future Proof your career
Push yourself into your discomfort zone by stretching and challenging yourself to grow.
Are there new skills and strengths that you need to build? Research MOOC courses and LinkedIn learning to up-skill. Self-directed learning shows a growth mindset.
Volunteer where possible within social distancing guidelines. If you are lucky enough be in a job that is secure, don’t sit on your laurels, look to up-skill at and raise your professional visibility.
We are all stronger than we think -living through this pandemic makes us grow in our sense of personal strength and resilience. Our ability to weather this pandemic gives us a greater appreciation for what we have, it deepens our relationships, gives a renewed sense of life. Most importantly, in terms of our career, although it takes away certain opportunities, it opens us up to new possibilities.
The ability to be resilient, to thrive in ambiguity and change is going to be one of the key things that will help drive your career in whatever our new “normal” looks like so, be aware of your mindset, get clear on your goals and most importantly act!