Staying Motivated When You’re Stuck in Neutral

If you feel stuck in your job, it can be exhausting just staying motivated every day. Now might not be the best time to make a job or career change, but does that mean you have to sit where you’re at and just tough it out until the skies open up and a better opportunity comes along? Don’t go quitting your job, but there’s plenty you can (and should) do right now to get yourself prepared for the day when…

Start preparing yourself now for the place you want to be, since many of the best opportunities will seemingly come out of nowhere. It’s important to pre-position yourself for that moment. “Luck” is really just preparation coinciding with opportunity.

Staying Motivated When You’re Stuck in Neutral
Staying Motivated When You’re Stuck in Neutral

Prepositioning yourself also has a way of creating opportunities that aren’t available to you right now.

Preparing for the Career Move

Even though you may not be in a position to enter your chosen job, career or business right now, there are specific areas you can work on now that will speed entry when the time comes.

Network and make connections that will help you make the move when the time comes.

Even if you have no contacts right now, begin reaching into the new field anyway you can. The internet offers networking opportunities in nearly any business you can imagine. This will be a way to collect valuable contacts, or even job prospects, before you even leave your current job.

You don’t have to get formal with this. Striking up a casual email conversation with an insider can be more effective than joining an organized networking group.

Enroll in any training or certification programs needed.

Some careers and businesses require certifications or completion of training just to get in the door. These programs can take months to complete, so if time permits, now might be the perfect time to begin. Now may be the best time if you already have a steady paycheck. Certain fields bar entry until you have satisfied the requirements.

Add or update skills needed for the next venture.

Most careers and businesses have certain skills that are specific to the field. Find out what they are and begin learning them. Will the new field require public speaking, different computer software, use of unfamiliar equipment? Learn them now, and it’ll cut the learning curve when you finally make the jump.

Look for part time work in a new field to get experience and make contacts.

If you’re anxious to jump in and get a leg up on your new career or business, one of the very best ways to do it is by taking a part-time job in that field. Not only will you get training and contacts, but working and earning a paycheck,  even a small one, will make the transition real. My wife recently transitioned into the jewelry business with a part-time job, and now works full-time with benefits. Her previous main occupation was completely unrelated.

If you’re having difficulty landing a part time job, try looking for one during the industry’s busy season when opportunities will be more plentiful. Seasonal work often has a way of becoming permanent.

Find a mentor and learn all you can.

Enter a new field and one thing is absolutely certain: you will make mistakes. Many of those mistakes can be avoided or minimized if you can become friendly with someone who’s already working in your desired field and who is willing to share the do’s and don’t’s of the trade. Avoiding mistakes can be a career- or business-saver.

Preparing Outside Your Career – Getting and Staying Motivated

Not all preparations are directly related to the new career itself, and many will involve preparing your personal life for the change ahead.

Motivational techniques—books, cd’s websites, seminars to keep the juices flowing.

If you’ve been on your job long enough you may be in that dreaded state of going through the motions. That’s not a good state of mind to enter a new career or business. Getting and staying motivated is critical in any new career, which is especially true if it involves production or creativity.

I learned the importance of motivation when I worked in sales. Early on, a good friend, who was a very successful salesman, shared that it’s important to find ways to stay motivated. He said that it doesn’t come naturally, and that it can be quickly crushed by a run of bad circumstances.

I’ve found that to be true in sales, as well as with blogging and freelance blog writing. Staring at an empty page on your laptop requires a healthy (and regular) dose of motivation.

For myself, inspirational music usually gets my creative juices flowing. I’m also blessed to live in an area that has breathtaking scenery, so a walk or a short drive can get me out of a funk. Prayer is a big source. The pastor at our former church in Georgia recently wrote this in an email:

”Be courageous in your life, and in the face of adversity. You are loved. You are favored. You’re able to live a life of freedom with a Heavenly Father who wants to take care of you. Look forward to the future and trust God.”

That statement is well supported in the Bible, and I have it plastered up on my desk. Fear is the ultimate anti-motivation, and we need to know that we’re destined to overcome it – if we seize the opportunity.

Failing natural motivators, take advantage of motivational blogs, cds, books and videos. I strongly recommend anything by Anthony Robbins.

Cut your living expenses in preparation for a drop in income.

More often than not, a career change brings a lower income. Start preparing your finances for this now. Much of the cost of living is habit. Adapt your thinking and actions to a lower income and that’ll be one less hurdle you’ll have to deal with when the career change comes. The better you can manage on a reduced cash flow, the greater the likelihood of success in the new venture.

Save up money and payoff bills to get yourself financially prepared for the move.

Much of the risk and anxiety that comes with career change can be reduced by a large bank account. If you normally have $5,000 in your savings account, be purposeful about increasing it to $10,000, or even $20,000. The more savings you have behind you, the more confident you’ll be when you strike out into the unknown.

Start a diet and exercise program.

Energy level is an overlooked factor in career success. People who have it are usually more successful than their peers because they have greater capacity to produce. Equally important, in starting a new career or business, you’ll absolutely need greater energy to deal with the stresses of managing a new venture. All of that is better accomplished if you’re in better physical condition.

Build up your social network.

If you’re going into a new venture, you’ll need strong social support. Any time we step outside our comfort zones, there will be stresses and unpleasant surprises. Having family and friends nearby can help insulate us from that stress. Building a network of contacts related to your new venture can help you deal with the unknown. I can tell you categorically that my ability to earn a living on the internet was made possible by a lot of people I never met face-to-face.

Don’t waste your time feeling trapped in your current job. Decide what you want to do, then get busy preparing yourself for the transition. It’s mostly about staying motivated, and moving yourself in the general direction of your goal in small steps. Get enough of these action steps lined up in the right direction, and the day to make your move might come a lot sooner than you expect.

Do you ever feel stuck in your current situation, to the point where you’re having trouble staying motivated?

( Photo by Bull Gator )

4 Responses to Staying Motivated When You’re Stuck in Neutral

  1. Good tips. Getting prepared financially for a job change or loss is key these days. Men change jobs on average every 4.5 years, for women it’s 3 years.

    Even if you like your job now, start planning for your next move now. Not if it happens but when.

    Gone are the days working for one company for 20 or 30 years.

  2. Good point, I suspect few are really taken by surprise at a job loss. Many play the denial game until the last minute, desperate to continue living “nomal” until it’s too late. Preparedness is lost in the denial phase.

  3. I have always said that the time to look for a new job is when you are still happy where you are. Like you’ve said and FB above, people wait until they are unhappy to start looking and by then it just goes downhill from there. Speaking of jobs…I’d better get back to mine! 🙂

  4. Hi Bev – I think the problem is that most people just amble along on their jobs, and have no real future plans. Dreams and wishes, sure, but no real plans. That’s how they get caught by surprise. I don’t know if you wait until you’re unhappy, or if you start the search when you see things that don’t add up. But if you have a dream you owe it to yourself to pursue it. You don’t have to do it now, but by preparing now, you move it closer to reality.

Leave a reply