Big things take time. Whether it’s a challenging project at work, weight loss, getting your degree, or a job search, generally the more transformative the change, the longer it will take. The reason many people give up or settle isn’t that they lack passion for their goal, it’s because of how hard it can be to stay committed when you don’t see change happening. Add in obstacles and rejection and it’s easy to see how people can give up. So how do you maintain motivation for the long haul?
Stay Accountable. There will be times when it feels like nothing is happening, or that all the work you’re doing is going unnoticed. Prepare a strategy for dealing with this in advance, which you don’t have to handle alone. That’s why we’re so passionate about coaching, since it provides you with a support system to push through difficult times. But you don’t have to formally have a coach to keep focused on your goal. Maybe it’s a mentor, a friend, or colleague you can turn to when challenges inevitably pop up. I have a few friends that I’ve told in advance, “when I come to you with frustrations, I need you to remind me why I’m doing this! Don’t let me talk myself out of it!”
Name and Claim Your Feelings. Sometimes a little perspective is all it takes to bounce back from a disappointment. Verbalizing your feelings and putting them in perspective can help you see the problem may not really be as big as it seemed in your mind. Say you were passed over for an award at work. You may feel jealous of the employee who was recognized or angry that your contributions weren’t valued. Take a moment to say out loud (not by gossiping to a co-worker but to yourself or a trusted mentor!) the facts of the matter without adding in your own opinions. Sometimes this can help you see not every decision that doesn’t go your way is a personal slight, but that there are other factors involved which may have nothing to do with the quality of your work.
Avoid Comparisons. Racehorses stay focused on running their race by wearing blinders so they can only see what is in front of them. You have to do the same thing by intentionally staying away from making comparisons or putting yourself in situations that may trigger you to take a step back. We all have that person or organization we tend to measure ourselves against. It’s a natural inclination to try to gauge our own success against others, but you don’t have to allow your mind to go there. Block that person on social media so you don’t have to see their updates about how great they’re doing (newsflash- it’s probably not really as good as it sounds). Remove updates from that other business from your news feed so you’re not constantly drawn to comparisons. Don’t put yourself in a position to worry about what anyone else is doing except you. It can be hard to tune that out in a world where we’re so connected, but setting boundaries for yourself protects your mental health so you have the stamina for the long journey ahead.
Need some tips for overcoming rejection? Check out our blog post for ways to help you keep moving forward even when the result wasn't what you'd hoped.