I love being challenged. Of course sometimes an easy win is very welcome. However, most of the time I try to challenge myself, both at work and in my personal life. Challenges provide a sense of purpose, they keep you engaged, motivated and push you to be better. Challenge is great, but even better when you are surrounded by the right people. People who can push you and support you in what you want to achieve. You need your team. At work your team consists of your manager and direct co-workers. In your personal life, it’s your family and friends who are there for you.
Getting the support you need
Before you can explore new things and go after the challenge you desire, you need to have a solid base. Let’s look at your work environment. Here your manager is the most important person in your life. They are there to provide you with everything you need to do succeed and excel at your job. A very experienced manager may sense what you need and there are basics. However, it is important that you know how to communicate what you need.
What is it you need? Maybe you feel like you lack something, but don’t know exactly what or how to explain it. It can be difficult to put to words what it is you need. It may be no more than just a feeling. Maybe you’re looking for more clarity on what is expected from you or you lack some kind of structure to your day. For me the following three are the key support systems that everyone needs to be able to do their work well.
1. Clear explanation and goals
You need a clear explanation of the scope of your job and of the expectations that come with it. Understanding what success looks like in your role, is crucial to performing well. If you don’t know your goals, how can you be expected to reach them?
2. Regular feedback and coaching
In order to grow, you need regular feedback and coaching. Both positive and constructive feedback can help your performance. Are you not getting enough feedback or are you missing direction? Try scheduling a one two one every week (or every other week) with your manager. This doesn’t have to take long. Just an update is all it takes.
3. A positive work culture
In your job you want to feel valued, respected and motivated. Your manager needs to create a supportive work environment, where you feel safe to experiment and grow. Hopefully your colleagues are just as driven and excited as you are to explore innovation. Together you’ll be able to get your team on another level.
Challenge as a motivator
Challenge is an essential ingredient for staying motivated and engaged at work. I’d rather have a full schedule with ambitious projects, than to do some simple tasks. However, challenge doesn’t just come to you. You have to seek it out and go for it. Here are some ways that I try to challenge myself.
1. Follow the latest innovations
If you are working in Digital Marketing like me, you know our field is very dynamic. Keeping up with new technology can be a challenge in itself. I enjoy attending conferences to stay informed and to feel inspired to try new things. Next to that, I enjoy writing articles like these to share knowledge. It is a way for me to really deepdive into different topics. The best way to master a subject is to teach it to others.
2. Expand your skillset
Learning something new is a challenge and fun. Consider taking courses or trying out new tools. For example I recently obtained a nanodegree in Data Analysis and Visualisation with Power BI from Udacity. A very practical course where I acquired skills that I could immediately apply, and so improve quality of work and contribution to the team. Would you like to do the same? You can find more of their online courses here.
3. Take on complex projects
If you want to push yourself futher and expand your expertise, I can definitely advise to take on more difficult projects. It can involve working with a different team and many stakeholders or it can be a project with challenging technical requirements. Taking on these kind of projects will help you grow and improve the quality of your work.
Challenge is essential
In short, challenges provide a sense of purpose, they keep you engaged, motivated and push you to be better. It is an essential ingredient for staying motivated at work. By following the latest innovations, taking on complex projects, and expanding your skillset, you will find exciting challenges that push you to improve your skills and innovate. Hopefully reading this article will provide you inspiration and guidance. I would love to find out how you stay motivated at work. Please share your experiences in the comment section below.