Admit it, you’re in a funk and feeling a lack of motivation or excitement for your career right now.
You rationalize that your job isn’t that bad.
You tell yourself you just need to pay your dues to get where you want to be.
When you feel like things are out of your control, it’s easy to simply ignore the problem and try to focus on football or throw yourself into fun plans with your friends.
If you’re honest with yourself, then you’ll realize the constant fun and ignoring the direction you are going in your life doesn’t really bring you pleasure.
There is a way to get out of the rut and boost your confidence, without waiting for things to magically fall into place.
The Power of Progress
A Harvard Business Review study found that people aren’t driven by high pressure and fear at work. People are more productive when their inner work lives are positive.
They perform more when they are happy, are intrinsically motivated by the work itself, and have a positive perception of their coworkers and the company.
Now, how do you achieve a positive inner work life? This leads us to the power of the Progress Principle.
In the Harvard Business Review study, they found people were in a much better mood after they had made small steps forward toward a goal.
On the flip side, those who had a rough day and a poor mood usually experienced a setback toward their goals.
Our brains are wired to crave rewards and quick wins. When we don’t feel any progress forward in some way, it can feel defeating. There is nothing worse than feeling stagnant.
Minor Milestone Motivation Hack
Sometimes when you think about your goals, you imagine how good it would feel to reach a major long-term goal you have been dreaming about. These big wins are amazing, but they don’t happen very often.
The truth is, you can experience mood boosts from hitting small milestones that are part of the larger goal. These are small moves that may go unnoticed but are still necessary to make your way closer to grand prize.
There is one rule for the Progress Principle to work in boosting your confidence and motivation. You must find meaning in the work you are progressing toward.
For example, if you are a grocery bagger and you increase the progress of how quickly you bag groceries, then you still just see more groceries to bag.
That’s not very motivating, is it?
The first step for this principle to work is: You must identify what your meaningful goal will be. The overall goal must be something that you can get excited about. Don’t be afraid to think big.
The Power of Thinking Bigger
For some of you, thinking big is tough. You have your inner critic who doubts you will ever accomplish anything too significant.
When setting your large goal, the key is to not worry about how you will make it happen. You want to stick with a goal that is meaningful and exciting.
Let’s pretend you want to be a real estate investor. You may not even have a real estate license right now or any capital to invest. That’s OK.
Make one step today:
- Buy a book
- Research the process of getting your license
- Reach out to a friend in real estate
This doesn’t have to be a huge leap, just something small that moves you forward. When you do that one thing every day, you feel the power of momentum.
This momentum builds your confidence because you can now see where you are going instead of focusing on being stuck in the rut you are in. You are focusing on growth.
Growth toward meaningful goals is what ultimately boosts your confidence. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive or a college grad. The Progress Principle applies to everyone.
Making it Happen
Feeling stuck or stagnant in your career is deflating to your confidence. The key is to remember that you can control how you feel with your actions.
Don’t wait around for your manager or your company to pull you out of this rut. Take action today, and figure out what big goal motivates you.
Having a vision to move toward will make all the difference in your everyday confidence and motivation. Don’t let your self-doubt hold you back from achieving the confidence you deserve.
Once you figure out what big goal means the most to you, then take action today. Move forward one step and see how that makes you feel. I promise you’ll feel the power of progress.
The real power of the Progress Principle isn’t about the amount of progress. You don’t have to make leaps forward every day.
Just one small milestone. Every single day.
Over time, you will look back and be in awe of what you have achieved.
(Photo by Benie Vison / CC BY)