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How To Stay Motivated When Your Company Is Going Through A Crisis

It can be hard to stay positive when you’re an employee in a struggling company. However, there are things you can do to create motivation when things are difficult at work.

Motivation isn’t a switch that you can turn on or off. At work you’ve probably found that motivation comes pretty easily when the company is doing well, and your efforts are rewarded. When a company is in trouble, however, it’s not always that easy. You might be expected to take on additional responsibilities and pull extra hours, but without the recognition and compensation that you would have received when the company wasn’t in crisis mode.

Many workers today accept that job security is not as prevalent as it once was. Allison Gabriel Rossetti, an assistant professor of management/organization and psychology at the University of Arizona, says that when it comes to jobs,”There’s definitely been a lot more volatility.” When a company experiences volatility, it can bring a sense of uncertainty among its employees. “We know from a job-stress perspective that ambiguity and stress is going to hinder an employee’s well-being,” Gabriel Rossetti adds. There are steps you can take to maintain your motivation. With the right attitude, you might just be able to turn the worry into a career-growing opportunity.  LOOK FOR MORE WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE When you’re worried about the security of your job, taking on any extra work might be the last thing you want to do. But Gabriel Rossetti says that offering help when you smell trouble in the company is a great way to increase your motivation. She suggests telling your manager that you’re sensing some problematic signals, and that you’d love to help out in any way to move the company forward. By doing this, you’re focusing on solutions rather than ruminating on the problems. And when you feel like you’re making progress, even incrementally, motivation is easy to come by, as Jane Porter wrote in a 2016 Fast Company article.

GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INTRINSIC, RATHER THAN EXTRINSIC VALUES Motivation comes from wanting something. During tough times, it can be difficult to rely on extrinsic motivation like snagging that title change, or a bonus or raise that you might not receive this year. Intrinsic motivation, however, is easier to tap into. When your “why” for your work is more than just your paycheck, you can derive happiness in doing the work itself. In Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys To Energizing Your Work and Life, author Tom Rath cited a research that discovered West Point cadets who enrolled due to intrinsic motivation (i.e., desire to serve) were more likely to graduate, become commissioned officers, receive promotions, and stay in the military than those who enrolled to get better jobs and make more money. Gabriel Rossetti suggests asking yourself the following questions: “I entered this job and company for a reason. What were the values I saw here? What are some things I do in this role that reflects those values?”

FIND AN ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF WORK THAT GIVES YOU MEANING If the crisis has forced you to take on activities you care very little about, but life circumstances dictate that you need to stay in your company, find an activity outside of work that can give you intrinsic meaning. This way, you’re not coming to work deprived of that fulfillment and into an environment where everyone is on edge. And as Jared Lindzon previously reported for Fast Company, certain hobbies like improve can even train you to thrive in uncertainty.

FOCUS ON ONE SMALL SUCCESS A DAY When it seems like a company’s situation presents a barrier to your long-term career, it’s easy to focus on the things that you’re not accomplishing. But chances are, you’re probably still experiencing small successes every day, but you’re not seeing them as a “win” because you’re too focused on the “bigger” task of navigating the company crisis. Completing a project is a win, and so is making that difficult phone call when you really didn’t feel like making it. As Vivian Giang previously reported for Fast Company, “Small wins matter big. It’s that tinge of excitement that helps us move forward during that long, uphill battle. Small wins signal to our brain that progress is happening, and big results are just around the corner.” Now that’s motivation.


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