Tag Archive | motivation

Changing Motivations: Finding What Makes You Lace Up Your Running Shoes

{Insert paragraph about how long it’s been since my last post, so much has happened since then, where has the time gone, blah, blah, blah, here.}

There’s a lot to be said about motivation, especially for endurance athletes. I mean, something’s gotta keep us moving forward as we pound away at the pavement step after step, mile after mile, year after year.  Motivation comes in many forms, and can vary tremendously – mine certainly does, practically every hour. No matter what motivates us, it’s that instrumental aspect of our being that propels us toward our goals and keeps us working hard even when the finish line isn’t in sight.

Sometimes, though, motivation becomes elusive and harder to grasp. It slips out from under us, leaving us feeling a bit lost and unsure of how to progress. Last year, an injury took a toll on the motivational factors that drove me to train hard and run fast. As my times increased and my races become fewer and farther apart, I started beating myself up over losing my desire to run. I felt I’d lost any motivation to run at all.

But, I was wrong. I never lost my love for running. My motivations simply changed. Instead of forcing myself out the door every morning to chase PRs and new distances, I found the desire to keep running from new friends who have become amazing friends that I can’t believe I’ve known such a short time. I discovered the contentment that comes from running without an iPod or a Garmin, to simply feel my feet connecting with the ground and feeling a sense of accomplishment simply from being active and outdoors. I learned that not every race will be a PR.

And while I wouldn’t change the last year of my relationship with running for anything, my motivation is shifting once again. I feel the urge to train hard and run faster once again. I want to cross a finish line with a smile, knowing I’ve pushed myself to achieve a new goal. I’m ready for the next challenge, and I think I’ve got all the pieces in place to enjoy the journey that’ll get me there.

While training for my first marathon, this blog helped me stay on track and served as one of the many motivational tools I pulled from during that time in my life. I enjoyed writing about my experiences with training, and – with some big goals on the horizon – I think it’s time to bring this thing back to life.

 

How Do You Stay Motivated?

ocean-waveSometimes motivation hits me at the strangest times: late at night as I’m falling asleep or in the middle of an important client meeting. A sudden wave of determination strikes and my thoughts race as I mentally develop a plan of action that will help me achieve this new goal. Within minutes, I have it all figured out. But, lately, I’ve noticed that if my goals aren’t career-oriented, the motivation to achieve them disappears as quickly as it surfaced.

In the work place, I am ambitious. I hold myself accountable. Every morning, I create a task list and I don’t leave until every last “to-do” has a check mark next to it. But being as motivated about my personal life as I am my professional one is something I’ve been struggling with recently. To-do lists and writing down my goals just aren’t enough.

I understand the importance of achieving work-life balance; I wish I could transfer some of the drive I have at work over to my other goals.

Take the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, for instance. Ever since I moved to D.C., I’ve been determined to finish this race. A week ago, I got the sudden urge to start a training program. So far, I’ve stuck to it, but in the back of my mind I’m wondering how long it will be before I lose the motivation.

It’s not just running. It’s starting a book club or finding an organization to volunteer with; it’s writing a novel or going on architecture tours once a month. When these ideas first occur to me, I am elated and passionate. But the momentum wanes as soon as I walk through my front door after a long, stressful day at work. Even though I know I’ll feel better after a late-night run or a morning spent volunteering, it’s maintaining the motivation to keep going for more than a couple weeks at a time.

For me, finding a work-life balance isn’t only about making sure I don’t overwork myself so that I have time for friends, family, and a social life. It’s having the motivation to achieve personal goals as well as professional ones. And, unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how to do ride the wave when it hits.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated after leaving the office?

Photo cred: treehugger.com

A Reflection: How Blogging Affected My Life

It recently hit me how dramatically my life has changed in the past year that I’ve been blogging. In twelve months, I have graduated from college, moved from Florida to the Nation’s Capital, left my family, interned at a prestigious public affairs firm, landed my dream job, and interacted with brilliant people from around the world.

Almost all of these milestones are a direct result of this blog. That may sound exaggerated, but it’s not. Launching my blog has significantly influenced my life in many ways, especially in my professional career, but more importantly – blogging has made me more appreciative of everything I have achieved so far and more willing to help others reach their own milestones.

When it comes to professional development, I might be the poster child for how beneficial blogging can be to one’s career. Looking back at the recognition I have received in the past year because of my blog is very humbling. Since creating this blog, I have been offered numerous freelance writing opportunities and professors have asked me to speak to their students about blogging. As someone making the transition from college student to full-time professional, these experiences allowed me to develop skills necessary for a successful career in communications.

Last spring, I was awarded second place in the PRSSA/Edelman Outstanding Public Relations Student competition, and the nominating team mentioned that my blog showed how passionate I was about my education and the PR field. When my last semester of college was ending, I sought advice from bloggers who had re-located after college and, with their advice and encouragement, decided that leaving Florida to pursue my career in PR was the best decision for me to make. Then, I used my blog to develop a professional network on LinkedIn and Twitter, both of which earned me informational interviews at several prestigious PR agencies in Washington, D.C. Because of my blog, I landed a summer internship at one of the best public affairs firms in the country. There, my supervisors tapped me for insight into the digital space and pulled me into important client meetings I never dreamed I would attend as an intern. I met former congressional members and presidential press secretaries – and got paid for it!

After my internship ended, I needed to find a full-time job. I wanted to work at a forward-thinking company that understood social media. Connections I made and conversations I had through my blog and Twitter led me to my current position – my dream job – at a company that embodies those exact qualities.

Though these opportunities enhanced my resume and portfolio, they are not the reason why I love being a part of the blogosphere as much as I do.

Perhaps the most substantial impact blogging has had on my life has been helping me push aside my shyness so that I could talk to people with more ease and confidence. After receiving insightful comments on my posts from prominent professors and professionals, I felt my bashfulness gradually subside. With this newfound courage, I reached out to people I respected and admired; something I’ve never been comfortable doing in the past.

The hospitality and encouragement I received from my mentors blew me away. Blogging made it easier to connect and build friendships with intelligent people like Karen Russell, Robert French, Les Potter, Constantin Basturea, Paull Young, Melanie Seasons, and countless more. Their kindness showed me the importance of community and that building relationships is the foundation for everything, especially in PR and social media.

Considering all of the professional goals I have achieved in the past year, you might be asking why something like gaining courage has had the biggest impact on my life. Well, it’s the circular nature that resonates so well in the blogosphere. My blog gave me more confidence in my abilities as a writer and communicator, so I felt more confident reaching out to bloggers I admired, and when they were so open to helping me, I knew that I had to give back in some way, too. The blogosphere frequently reminds me how important the pay-it-forward mentality is: help and be helped, what goes around comes around, sharing is essential.

The communities I have gotten involved with through blogging made me realize how much I love helping people, especially college students and recent grads. Each week, I receive comments or e-mails from students saying my blog has helped them in some way, whether it’s encouraging them to start their own blogs or inspiring them to apply for awards that seem out of reach. These kind words are never taken for granted – in fact, they are often what keeps me going when I find myself frustrated with blogging (or even life in general).

Blogging has helped me achieve many of the goals I set for myself, and all of the wonderful things that have happened to me would not mean as much if I did not try to inspire other people as others motivated me during my rough times, life changes, and professional pursuits.

So how has blogging affected my life? It helped me come out of my shell so that I could somehow interact with industry geniuses, move to a big city by myself, land my dream job, and share these experiences with others who are going through the same things I did. For me, this blog is about developing confidence in my own voice so that I can help others in the same way others helped me. If being vocal online helps other people along the way, I’m more than happy to pretend that I am a gregarious extrovert who doesn’t even know what the word “shy” means.

H/T to the phenomenal team over at Brazen Careerist for holding this outstanding contest and motivating me to write the post that should have been written a long time ago. Those guys really know how to challenge me!

Take a Break – Quotes to Stretch Your Mind

I’m a quote fiend. I might even go as far as to say I’m obsessed with great quotes. Post-it notes with sloppily scrawled one-liners litter my dorm room. I’m the nerd who has to have a piece of paper and a pen near her when she reads or watches TV. Someone says or writes something thought-provoking, you can guarantee I’m jotting it down. Because this collection is overwhelming my cardboard box of a room and I’m probably going to be tossing them out soon, I figured I’d share some of the best. Enjoy!

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is far worse than the suffering itself, and no heart has ever suffered when it’s gone in search of its dreams.” – from The Alchemist byPaulo Coelho

“The best way is not to fight it, just go. Don’t be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.” – from Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” – from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

“We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.” – Edward R. Murrow

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.” – Guy Pearce in Memento

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.” – Audrey Hepburn