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How to keep motivated

Published: 23 January 2017

How to keep motivated after a big event

Staying motivated in your career can be challenging whatever line of work you are in. Even for those that strive to improve their professional performance and reach for the stars on a daily basis, there will be times when work becomes mundane.

Sometimes changing the way we feel about what we are doing is as simple as seeing things from a fresh perspective or pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. However, sometimes we might need a bit more of a lift, particularly if we have just completed a mega pitch or other major project, which has been keeping us busy for some time.

For sports professionals, moving from one competition to the next is just part of the course and self-motivation is an art that is mastered at an early stage in their careers.

Alex Danson, Shakespeare Martineau ambassador and Olympic hockey gold medallist for Team GB, shares her tips on how to stay motivated after a big event:

Be inspired by others

For sports professionals, just being part of a team can be very motivating. It helps to make sure everyone turns up to training on time, as well as encouraging them to deliver their best individual and team performances. Even individual players have a team of people working with them to develop their skills and help them achieve their potential. Team work is evident in most workplaces too and when it is working well, as part of a rewarding and blame-free culture, it can be extremely motivating.

Find a mentor

When we think back over our careers, there is usually one person that stands out as someone who was a guiding light and helped to set us on the right path. For a sports person it might be an inspirational PE teacher who spotted their early talent or a parent who was willing to invest time and money to help them. Other people may recall how a former boss or work colleague helped to nurture and develop their potential. If your motivation is waning for any reason - perhaps because an exciting or all-consuming project has come to an end - it can be helpful to think what your mentor would do or say to you in this situation.

Be structured and stick to it

As any athlete knows, having a schedule is important. For a Team GB hockey player, this is likely to involve sticking to a rigid training schedule, eating healthily in the run up to and during competitions and making sure you get enough sleep. Many high-achieving professionals also claim to have a structured approach to life and believe this has contributed to their success. It makes sense - if you find a routine that works for you and helps you to perform to your best, you should stick to it. 

Be glass half full

It’s natural to feel down if things don’t go the right way. In the world of hockey, everything hinges on the result – you win or lose. Even when competing at a high level, coming second or third can feel like a defeat. Working with sports psychologists has helped everyone in the Team GB hockey team become more mentally resilient and understand that success doesn’t have to mean winning a gold medal. Sometimes you might not achieve this, but if you have performed strongly as team, inspired others to achieve and met the standards expected of you, this is what counts. For business professionals, it is important to see the small wins and failures of everyday working life as progress to a better future. This ‘glass half full’ mentality is infectious and can help to motivate others too.

Learn one thing 

After a big match or event, it is often helpful to have a debrief meeting to discuss what went well and what didn’t. In the business world, debrief meetings are sometimes forgotten, particularly if things have gone well. Regardless of whether the outcome of the project is what you would have wished for or not, it is helpful to identify at least one thing that you as an individual could have done better. Taking this approach can help to hone your skills and will ensure you continue to improve your performance.

Staying motivated can be a challenge sometimes, especially when something big and exciting comes to an end. If you focus on the team, look for inspiration in others, stick to your routine and stay positive, you will rediscover your mojo.

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