Where to begin?

Answer: Your mind

Whether you are currently finishing up college, have recently graduated, or are currently in your career, there is one force that gets you out of bed in the morning: drive. A good way to determine the strength of this drive is would be to actually time how long it takes you get out of bed (joke). But honestly, how do you feel when you wake up? Do you stare at the ceiling until the fear of being late gets you up? Are you still exhausted from staying up later than your normal bedtime since “Friends” is now on Netflix? Or do you wake up refreshed (which SUPRISE is the purpose of sleeping) and have your clothes already set out the night before with your coffee already brewing? Answering these and similar questions can give you a solid gauge of where your mind is at which bring us to the next step: What drives YOU?

There are a million and one different motivational speeches, sayings, videos, quotes, etc. at our disposal today. Many of these have resonated well with a lot of people which is great. For me and for many others, they may have worked well at the start but I would not be able to recall 99% of these resources. The truth is, finding sustainable motivation through these different outlets can be overwhelming and sometimes a waste of time. In the end, the best thing to know is…pause for effect…yourself.

You know what has worked for yourself in the past and what has not. If not, it is time to do a little reflection! For writing this specific article, my most productive setting is in a comfortable seat with an energy drink (although I am slowly getting off of them), classical music, and a time block allotted of at least 2 hours. Take a second to reflect on what has worked for you in the past. Why does it work? Have you tried to replicate the specific scenario and test it again? If finding the right place to work most productively is not in your house or apartment, you may need to make some adjustments. Try that new hole-in-the-wall coffee shop down the street! If it is a few miles away don’t be overwhelmed and just go for it. The hassle that might result from the length of the trip will be trumped by the feeling you will get after a couple hours of uminterrupted crunch-time.

Play to your strengths. Have a little more confidence in what you are able and capable of doing. Look at where you are now and how far you have come. Those hours, days, weeks, or even months spent preparing for a project or exam. The hundreds of flash cards you made to pass that math or chemistry class. The conditioning you and your bladder went through with the gallons of water, coffee, or tea drank during finals week.

Begin with your mind. Assess your level of drive. Determine how you are best motivated in a sustainable and consistent way. And lastly, find confidence through past successes and obstacles you have overcome.

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Next up: A two-part series on making the next decision between college and career!

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