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Page 457 TT MANAGE Managing for Motivation: Building Your Own Motivation Are you putting something off right now because you just haven’t felt inspired to tackle it? Self-motivation is critical for work success because it drives performance, particularly in work situations where you’re expected to apply good work habits and focus in order to be productive without constant supervision. Consider that self-motivated employees at the Hay Group, a global management and consulting firm, were 43 percent more productive than employees with low motivation. This finding supports employers’ desire to hire people with the career readiness competency of self-motivation. You certainly want to possess this attitude. 2 5 Here are some suggestions for honing your self- motivation (and getting to that task you’ve been putting off).3 1. Reframe your reason. Perhaps you’ve having trouble accomplishing an objective because you haven’t thought through why you’re really aiming for it. A goal to look for a job in a particular field because one of your friends is or because someone said it was exciting may not be enough to ignite your inner drive. Try reframing the goal in terms that invoke your own values rather than someone else’s: “I want to work in marketing because I think it’s a good match for my new media, communication, and social intelligence skills.14 2. Be realistic. Realistic goals aren’t necessarily easy ones; the American Psychological Association reports that when we set goals that are challenging, we’re 90 percent more likely to achieve them. Realistic goals are specific. “I want to get a good job in an exciting field” is broad. “I want to get an entry-level job with a marketing research company” is specific and, therefore, realistic. 3. Set interim goals. At the same time, you shouldn’t set yourself up to try accomplishing a big goal in one grand gesture. Break your big goal down into smaller ones, each with a date attached, to lay out a plan of smaller steps you can follow that all lead in the same direction. “I will draft my résumé by the end of this month,” and “During the two weeks after that, I will ask three people to critique and proofread it for me,” are good interim goals toward your ultimate objective of finding an entry-level marketing job. 4. Celebrate ongoing achievements. Applaud yourself for reaching each of the milestones you’ve set. Few things are as motivating as rewards, and since each step you accomplish in your plan is bringing you closer to your big goal, each is worth a celebration. Treat yourself to something you’ve wanted or take time off to do something that’s fun. You’ve earned it. 5. Hold yourself accountable. It’s one thing to celebrate success, but if there are no consequences for failure, motivation can drag. A mentor who encourages you and checks in on your progress can give your forward momentum a regular boost. No mentor? Create your own by simply letting a friend know your goal and keeping that person up to date as you proceed through your plan. A Dominican University professor recently studied 149 adults of all ages in businesses and other organizations in the United States and abroad. She found that well over 70 percent of those who used a weekly e-mail to report their goal achievement to a friend either completely accomplished their goal or got more than halfway there. Of those who didn’t check in with anyone, only 35 percent achieved as much. 6. Envision success. While you should anticipate setbacks (and forgive yourself for them), keeping the finish line in mind and regularly imagining yourself crossing it will soon become a mental habit that reinforces your positive approach and builds your professionalism and work ethic. 7. Create a “brag book.” Start a journal that contains notes about your successes. This aids your recall of “rock star performance,” which in turn fuels your self-confidence.? Self- confidence drives self-motivation and the associated desire to complete your short- and long-term projects. It also provides behavioral exles of your performance and career readiness competencies to discuss during job interviews. For Discussion Are you currently using any of these strategies? If not, which ones can you adopt now to achieve your most immediate goals?
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