As a millennial working at a nonprofit here in DC, I feel like there are just a few big changes that I need to make to take me from being an “okay employee” to “employee of the month.” And that makes me wonder – how long do want to be employee of the month here? Should I be rethinking my goals? In my job? In my life? I’m just not quite sure how to change what I’m doing.
So, I’ve been thinking through three steps: practicality, inspiration, and motivation.
Practicality. We graduate high school, college, or maybe even complete a higher degree. Yet somehow, we don’t know how to manage our finances, use Excel, file our taxes, write a cover letter, effectively network, or take out a mortgage. I have a stack of random information in my brain that doesn’t make my everyday life more useful or more creative. Somehow, formal education hasn’t given me either the big picture or the practical details on how to live. The internet has lots useful information, but I often don’t know what I’m missing! I need the big picture. What knowledge and skills are important to have in our everyday lives – whether technical, or social, or entrepreneurial? And is there a way to avoid slogging through unnecessary education and debt to answer that question?
This leads me to Inspiration. Inspiration goes beyond the things you really should know, to what you could create yourself. New things. It’s that moment when you see a quote or a picture, and you suddenly have a new idea. Intellectual inspiration creates non-traditional processes and pathways. When the outside stimuli becomes an internal compulsion, you’ve found inspiration. Inspiration is the “oomph” behind new businesses, new recipes, and new art forms. How can we use our practical skills to create and foster inspiration?
Finally, it’s all about Motivation. You can have a world of inspiration and know how to “get there”/“learn that” without ever doing it. You have a new product idea, but can’t find time to show it to your boss. You thought of a great pasta dish, but you’re afraid of experimenting. You love to dance, but there’s not really a career in that. This is when you need motivation. Motivation is creating a mental and physical environment that shows you how to put the big picture and the details into action – anything from using a visual to-do list for work, to calling yourself an artist before anyone buys your work.
What practicality, inspiration, or motivation do you need to think through? Are you actively applying these things in your current job? Do you enjoy your career? Maybe we need to rethink how we approach our goals so we don’t have to keep asking these questions