How to THRIVE in the New World of Work
In early 2020, everything changed for nearly every person on the planet. We were shaken and awakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it forced us to take a look at the way we’ve been living and working. What we thought we wanted, shifted. And what we thought we could control also shifted, constantly.
This constant shifting and change made the ability to adapt quickly an imperative. This is still true today. So, how do you thrive in a world of work, and navigate a career, where there is no normal and constant change?
According to Kim Fulcher, author, trainer, and performance coach, it comes down to three words: motivation, energy, and communication.
How to Stay Motivated
Motivation on the job has nothing to do with incentives or company culture—it’s actually about the fire within. Motivation is basically a combination of two factors: intrinsic, or within, and extrinsic, from outside sources. To stay motivated in today’s world of work, you cannot look outside of yourself since things are constantly changing. What if you’re motivated by your boss and then you discover that person plans to leave the company? Or maybe you’re excited about the company’s mission but that changes because of external market factors?
That’s why it’s important to tap into what fuels you from within. You need to find satisfaction in what you do and what gets you up in the morning, especially when work feels more like a daily grind and less like a calling. Many experts attribute the “great resignation” we’re experiencing in this post-COVID period due to the fact that people are looking for something more than “just a job.”
So, what makes you feel internally fueled up so that when things get tough, you’ve got that fire inside to keep going? Is it working with people? Solving problems? Or something else?
How to Maintain Your Energy
Many companies put health and wellness front and center during the pandemic, and for good reason. People are still dealing with the mental stress caused by all the uncertainty and upheaval.
Paying attention to and being proactive about managing your energy is critical in a world of work where change is the norm. Not only do you need to take care of yourself, but you also need to take care of your environment. With more people able to and choosing to work from home, having a clean, orderly space where the tools you need to do your job are available is key. You can’t perform at your best when you’re scrambling around the living room looking for something to write on, or when the family pet is causing a ruckus during a Zoom meeting.
Just as critical is what’s going on in your head, and how you’re spending your time. If you’re constantly thinking about what can go wrong or what you don’t want to happen on the job, how can you do your best? Your energy is directly tied to how you’re thinking. Of course, you want to be aware of potential risks but more than that, you want to focus on your strengths and your ability to tackle challenges. The same holds true for how you spend your time at work. If you’re running around handling tasks that don’t align with priorities and important projects, aren’t you wasting time and energy?
How to Communicate When There Are Conflicts
This brings us to a critical communication skill: setting boundaries. Boundaries are the line in the sand that marks your limits. Going back to the example where you’re overloaded with tasks that aren’t a priority or part of an important project; how do you communicate that the situation is not working? Clearly stating your priorities and what needs to change so you can focus on those will go a long way toward reducing resentment as well as earning trust with peers and management.
At the same time, many people shy away from conflict at work, which is perfectly normal. Learn how to ask questions instead. Simply asking for clarity removes any conflict. For example, “I don’t think I understood the objective here. Could you clarify a few things for me?” It’s much better to ask than to walk away with confusion or irritation.
Finally, when you need support, ask for it. Using your voice is a lot like using a muscle at first. It may be uncomfortable but the more you do it, the easier it gets. To build confidence in communication, ask for what you want, state when you need it, define what you expect, and be clear about what you will do to support the request.
The kind of change we’re in the midst of now requires the ability to adapt and be resilient. It’s not easy, and you’re going to make mistakes. Learning from them will be how you grow and be ready for new opportunities in this new world of work.
To hear Kim Fulcher’s entire keynote speech from Inkling Illuminate 2021, head on this way.