“When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tide’ll turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe
Searching for a job after an extended career break can leave you feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. We often find returners have no idea where to focus their job search. They find themselves applying randomly for jobs which becomes demotivating as nothing seems to fit or work out. Alternatively, you can get stuck in “either/or thinking” where you fix on only two options and then become demoralised and give up when neither work out.
We all know that effective job search requires effort, energy and sustained motivation. But how to maintain motivation in the face of setbacks, disappointments and the sheer length of time needed to pursue options, is the difficult part!
At Women Returners, we recognise that a clear focus for getting back into the job market and also strategies to maintain motivation are needed.
We work with returners to help them identify a good rationale for exploring particular career options based on what they want and need in any job role. We also help you to formulate action steps which are behavioural, specific and motivating. We understand the psychological blocks that can reduce your motivation to carry out actions after the coaching has ended, even though you were committed at the time.
Here are our top tips for maintaining motivation:
- Imagine yourself 3 months in the future when your enthusiasm for action is dwindling. What would you like to tell your 3-months-from-now ‘self’ to keep up motivation? Alternatively write a motivational letter to yourself and ask someone to post it to you in 3 months’ time.
- Remind yourself of your autonomy in choosing which action steps to follow; no one is telling you what you have to do. That notion can be empowering in itself.
- Revisit the end goal and remind yourself of its importance, especially if the action steps feel removed from what you are aiming to achieve. Consider linking the goal to your sense of identity, self worth and values.
- Identify role models who have achieved their goals through their own hard work and effort. Use the same techniques that they used.
- Remember when you succeeded in achieving your goals in the past. If you did it before you can do it again!
- Make it easy to achieve action steps by physically removing all distractions and having all the materials you need to hand and elebrate. Reward yourself with treats for periods of concentrated activity and actions accomplished.
- Find a group or a buddy going through the same experience and motivate each other. If you’re in the Women Returners network, our LinkedIn group can help you to find the returners in your area. It’s also a good idea to identify your return-to-work supporters.
- Break down steps into manageable chunks and make them specific and achievable. And find a way of physically marking off action steps when achieved. One technique is to physically throw away action post-it notes to symbolise completion.
- Visualise the steps you will take to achieve your goal.
- Finally just ‘get stuck in’ and commit to action and momentum will build! As Goethe said, ‘whatever you can do or dream you can, boldness has genius, power.’