In 2015 I shared this video in a post ‘Creativity & Motivation’. If you haven’t seen it, or want a refresher, please go watch it now, I’ll wait.

Every now and then I look back through my 950+ posts (!) here, I re-share some them on Twitter or LinkedIn. Just because I wrote it a while ago doesn’t mean it’s not still relevant or interesting. But this post struck a chord, again, as the creative streak within waxes and wanes. Being a creative thinker or someone who’s in a creative role (or any role for that matter that requires you to ‘produce’ similar outcomes whilst still bringing in something new or different) being motivated is difficult. It’s hard.

For me, I am more creative when I’m more motivated – motivated to be better, to be different, to do it well, etc. If I’m not motivated, I’m less likely to put the extra effort or attention. So how do I stay motivated?

Hmm, that’s a tough one to answer, especially as I’m not feeling very motivated yet. It’s the beginning of 2020, the first full week back at work after the festive break and the tiredness of the daily routine is kicking in. Some say January and the new year is the period of highest movement in job searches, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best time to change (the new year, back-to-work feeling – it’s not all bad, you’re just getting used to waking in the dark again). The beginning of the new year “provides as much opportunity to grow and develop in our current jobs as it does to land a new one.” (Alyse Kalish).

Does motivation, or the lack of it, equal interest (or boredom) at work? Whilst I may not feel the motivation for a cold Friday morning in January (laid up at home with a sore back) I feel I ought to have ‘it’. That doesn’t mean I’m bored. I’m just … meh. Let’s be real here, I’m not the only one – people are individuals and therefore we all feel things differently. And that’s OK. There are some around me who outwardly show the same January feeling I have, whilst others are enthused and invigorated by the break and raring to go (that might make the January blues for others feel worse, but that’s a different story). Just because someone ‘feels’ better than me doesn’t mean my feelings are less important, they’re just different. I can still function in my role and engage my colleagues, it just takes me longer to focus and perform to the standards I set myself.

Similarly, when you struggle with motivation, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost interest. Dr. Steven Berglas says that, when you think you’ve lost motivation or interest at work, you ought to “engage in more activities designed to ameliorate or eliminate the ‘target cause’ of your agency” – to work harder to overcome it. I’ve been there, tried that. It doesn’t work for me, but might for you. He clarifies this by saying it’s working smarter, not working more, will solve this and that working in “more in ways that are completely different than the ‘same old, same old’ that caused your malaise in the first place.”

How do I motivate myself? I do something different. I listen to some new music. I try something I’ve never done before. I drive a different road to get to the same place. I find motivation in doing something I haven’t done before and showing myself I can do it. My motivation this week came from Laura Ritchie and her post ‘Yes I can? YES YOU CAN!‘ about experience and realising that, well, yes you can!

As the header image for this post states … “You didn’t come this far to only come this far!” That in itself has motivated me to move on, get on with it. Let’s just wait until I can stand straight again, yes?

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash