Professional Life

The One Reason We Fail At Succeeding: Hint, it’s not your bosses fault!

Tonight, I sat at the table with my son as he wrote his name and traced the dotted names of the rest of the family. His lines were sharp, rigid, and pointed. He then drew a dinosaur. His dinosaur made up of circles of different sizes and held together by two square legs.

I wondered what was going through his four-year-old brain. You could see the concentration in his eyes and the flexing of his jaw with every line he drew. While connecting the dots, he was making noises. “Woop,” as he made the hook on his “J.” “Swoop” as he made the final curve on the “S.” After finishing each letter, he looked at me with such pride. He was so proud of the good work he had done. He was looking for the affirmation in my expression to match that pride, and he found it!

The Realization

I sit here now reflecting on this interaction and realize that as adults and professionals, we rarely have that person to turn to and show our wide-eyed grin too. We even more rarely have that person to turn to and get a grin of affirmation in return. So, while this is what motivated my son to keep going, what keeps us motivated? What makes us want to keep going when our efforts seem to go unnoticed?

Maybe we are still four-year-olds, waiting for the affirmation that we need. For that person to recognize the hard work, we put into our jobs. The sacrifices we make to be there. Anything that would spark that joy that I saw in my four year old’s eyes.

Nearly two years ago I finished my MBA. It may have been the hardest thing I have ever done. Married, a mom of two under two, and a full-time employee to a new job. I had very longs nights and early mornings. It was hard for people understand why I was doing this to myself. Sometimes, I even forgot to be honest.

Find Your Motivation

The reason: I needed it. Not because of a job, even though I hoped to land a dream job. The four-year-old me needed myself to look at her and say “you’re doing great”! I needed to prove to myself that I was more than a statistic of a low-income family. To prove to myself that I would become more than I ever thought I could, and even more than all the others that doubted me thought I would.

This was my motivation the time. However, by the end of it, I was so overwhelmed from defending my reason. I was tired of the strain it had seemed to put on significant relationships. More so, physical exhaustion had taken its toll. I finished one ‘A’ from a 4.0 GPA. After graduation, I had lost my steam and my purpose. I focused on rebuilding the damaged relationships. I gave in to the negative voices I heard all around me.

The Cause and Effect

After two years of graduate school, I can honestly say I have failed to use my degree to its full ability. Eventually, I stopped telling myself that I was doing well and began to believe others when they said it was worthless. A feeling of self-doubt flooded me, and my self-esteem plummeted. I had my Masters but wasn’t good enough to use it. “Anything over bachelors degree was a money trap,” people said. With eighty-two grand in student loans, it is hard to think they are wrong at times.

However, here I am. Finding myself diving back into learning. This time, on the less expensive side!

I am looking into courses on Linkedin. I am also turning to Youtube for “refresher” courses. You can often find courses by college professors on here that are perfect for getting you back into a skill that you may have forgotten. Connecting with co-workers and other professionals for private classes is also an option.

The 1 Reason We Fail to Succeed…

We don’t fail because of the obstacles put in our way. We don’t fail because we have unsupportive family/friends. An unappreciative boss is not the reason either. We are the reason. Our own self-doubting, negative talking selves are the reason we don’t succeed.

We stop investing in ourselves, time or money. If we won’t invest in ourselves, why would anyone else want to? We don’t need a boss to pat us on the back and cheer us on. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have such an invested boss?

Never let anyone make you doubt your capabilities. You set your limits, and only you can lower them! How high are you willing to set them? How much are you willing to motivate yourself to achieve those limits?

Take Action

Start reasurring yourself with positive thoughts and affirmations. We have to believe in our worth, and that we are worth the time, the money, and the sacrifice. You are worth it all, and YOU ARE DOING GREAT! It is easy to turn your ear to the negative, but when you do, you start to believe it. Tune it out and look inside to find your motivation. If you need a face to smile back at you, look in the mirror and smile, dear! That is the best cheerleader you got!

Please share this post, I know that each one of you reading this know someone who is struggling to find their motivation right now. Show by giving them the opportunity to be motivated by reading this!

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