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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Know Thyself to Recover from Demotivation

In many activities, and most certainly in the process of a job search, it is common and expected to hit valleys of enthusiasm, or feel de-motivated. 

The human psyche constantly moves through cycles of energy or enthusiasm for any activity we undertake - our work, exercise, chores about the home. Quite frankly, we will not be able to pro-actively "level out" these peaks and valleys nor should we. 

What we need to do is understand what emotions and experiences are driving those highs and lows so that we can respond to them in a self-constructive manner.

A fascinating "big data social media" study released by social sciences researchers in 2011 noted that regardless of where you live and what you do, your enthusiasm - your motivation level - is going to naturally cycle through the day, week, month, and year.

The science behind this is explained in a variety of articles and studies and to sum it up, it's normal - there's nothing "wrong" with feeling un- or de-motivated at times. What that signals is that there is an underlying cause for the feeling that requires your response in a timely manner. 

Ask yourself why?

So key to addressing lows or "dips" in your motivation is understanding why you are feeling that way. This can be complicated, and sometimes a bit scary. And let's be frank, I'm not a psychologist or spiritual advisor, I just play one on TV. 

However, to share with you what I've learned through my current process of job transition is that it can often be easier to catch up on missed episodes of your favourite show on Netflix rather than knuckle down to the job search, but if you get at the root cause you will get re-energized and move forward with increased enthusiasm that shows through to everyone you meet.

Taking on new challenges can be exciting and invigorating at first - the motivational peak. But once under-way, the risks or concerns - what might go wrong - start to creep up, and your motivation can (and usually will) slump. Planning ahead for those slumps will help you move through them with minimal impact, and keep you moving forward.

"Plan...and use slow-down periods to re-energize..."

Expect that you are going to hit some lows, some lack of motivation. Plan some time during the motivational peaks to assess what the motivating factors are, and consider the risks that you might find demotivating - then plan, and use those slow-down periods to re-energize, focus, and move yourself forward.

Human emotions - generally - follow the "universal rules" of cause and effect. Take pause to consider the cause and you can affect the effect.

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