Strategy And Motivation For Professional Development

Why you Need A Strategy

So you have put in a lot of effort in creating your goals and writing your plan, but now you need to make it happen. I will share with you a four-step strategy that can help you make your plan come into fruition. I will also share some motivation tips for when life comes in the way and you start to feel less motivated to work on your goals.

A Four-Step Strategy

Step One; Force Yourself To Take Time

The first step in this strategy is to force yourself to take the time needed to reach your goals. It is often not enough just to make a schedule, no you also need to make some decisions about the things that up to this point have occupied your time. After all, you still have the same amount of time available, and something has to be cut out or cut down for this to work.
Maybe you need to take time used to read for pleasure to be replaced by reading for professional development? Maybe time spent on social media, watching movies, or playing games has to be reduced or totally cut out? And maybe socializing with your friends has to be one night a week instead of three?
If you make an intentional decision to cut down on what gives you enjoyment, but not leads toward the end goal it will be so much easier to secure the time needed to reach your goals.

Step Two; Look At Yourself On The Other Side

Another step is to pre-write your resume as if you already have reached your goal. This will help create clarity as you have to pretend and formulate all the steps you “have” taken tp reach this point.
What did your work include during this time? What courses have you taken? Who was your mentor, if you had one? Did you do any volunteer work, and if so what did that include?
All of this will help you see the picture of what has to be done to reach that final goal.

Step Three; Utilize You Current Position

If you already are working in an industry you want to stay in, do the most of that situation by investing your time in what is called deep work.
Instead of focusing on the things you do on a daily bases and just trying to do more or do them faster, think about how you can create in-depth projects that will set you apart. Maybe you have ideas on how to improve on some of the procedures your company use, take initiative and talk to the management about your ideas, and be more self-directed.

Step Four; Build Your External Reputation

Maybe you are in the right industry, but the company you are working for is not big enough to create a lot of advancement opportunities. You then need to search within the industry, and to do so you need to build your external reputation. This can be done by for example writing blog posts for your industry’s journals, speaking at conferences within your field, and be active within your professional association.
But it is also important to take a look at your digital presence. Are you portraying yourself in a professional manner on social media? Do you write a personal blog, or have a YouTube channel, and if so will that help or hurt your professional reputation?

What To Do When You Lose Motivation

It Happens To All Of Us

After all this work, life strikes, and for one reason or another, you don’t feel the motivation any longer. And that leads to feeling discouraged, which might lead to procrastination.
So how can you stay motivated when this happens? I will show you seven steps that will help.

Step One; Visualising

Visualize your goals. Try to think about your goal every day and really visualize yourself and your life as you do so. How does your day look, what does a workday look like, how your leisure time is spent. All of this will help you get your motivation going.

Step Two; Review Your Plan

Carefully review your plan. Maybe you need to break down some goals or add some smaller goals that can help you get the feeling of moving forward again back. Don’t make any major changes at this point, the important part is just to make you get back the feeling of movement.

Step Three; Dealing With Setbacks

How you deal with these setbacks are important. We all will run into setbacks, but if we train ourselves to look at them as opportunities instead of struggles we can overcome them. Think of every setback as an opportunity. An opportunity to try your skills and learn new ones. Analyze your setback and learn from it for the future.

Step Four; Positive Self-talk

Learn how to encourage yourself with positive self-talk. Tell yourself that each task is a learning opportunity and you can do it. Create a positive situation for yourself and don’t let your own apprehension limit you.

Step Five; Develop A Routine

Having a daily schedule, and follow it, will help you turn your routines into habits. When activities have turned into habits they no longer feel like tasks that have to be done, they are just a natural part of your daily routine and demand no effort to.

Step Six; A Friendly Competetive Environment

Create a friendly competitive environment for yourself, find a couple of people that are working on the same or similar goals as you, and try to inspire and encourage each other when things feel impossible. Just as it is easier to keep on going to the gym when you do it with a friend, having a group of people that are working towards similar goals like yourself can be the difference between keeping your motivation up and giving up.

Step Seven; Reward Yourself

When it comes to rewarding yourself it can be important to do so not only when you reach a short- or long- term goal. If you start to feel that your motivation is shrinking, take a look at your weekly schedule, at the end of your week, and reward yourself for the small steps, for example.
If you have followed the schedule all week – reward yourself if you have had a major breakthrough during the week – reward yourself if you started work on a new step in your plan – reward yourself.
This will keep your motivation high and keep you going.

My Final Thoughts

It is not always easy, no matter how well we have planned and how organized we are, to stick to our plans. Life sometimes has a tendency to get in the way. But it is at these moments that we really can grow and get new insights about our self if we just are a little bit prepared.
If you want to see my video on the topic it is linked down below. In my next blog and video, I will talk about Career Personality Tests and Mastermind groups.