Give Yourself a Motivational Makeover

Don’t surrender to pessimism during turbulent times.

October 11, 2013
KEYWORDS achieve , goal , maybin
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Remember that disembodied voice on vehicles’ navigating devices that blurts out “recalculating” when you miss a turn?

Through the economic roller coaster of the past several years, people in all industries have been forced to regularly “recalculate” as circumstances dictate they adjust on the fly.

But there’s no sense in being a whiner about it, motivational maven Sarita Maybin said Thursday in an energized keynote session at the CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Uncasville, Conn. Rather, you can adapt, succeed, and thrive during turbulent times.

Consider these strategies to navigate change, Maybin said:

Think big picture. Always keep a long-range view, confident you can surmount inevitable setbacks. Make a mark inside your credit union by defining who you are and what skills and intangibles you offer.

Evaluate your network. Studies show you take on the traits of your five closest friends or associates. Do you need to upgrade your circle by weeding out the whiners?

Humor helps. Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying. Are you able to see the levity in a situation? Commiserating can help a group through tough times.

Change the pronoun. How do you coerce cooperation? How do you pull rank when you have no rank to pull? To avoid backlash, make a subtle pronoun shift that’ll produce a major change. Instead of saying, “You need to do this,” try “I need you to do this.”

Mind the three Ps to protect yourself against others’ negativity. Don’t take things Personally—it’s usually not about you. Most difficult stretches aren’t Permanent—remember that this, too, shall pass. And always retain your Perspective—how important is this development in the big picture?

What are your workplace motivators? Recognize your personal needs and address them. Sometimes, you can’t be fulfilled by your job. Try joining a committee at work, or getting involved in outside organizations and charities. For instance, Maybin joined the board at her local YMCA to feed her leadership fix.

Maybin also outlined methods to rekindle passion, in your professional and personal life:

Set a worthy goal, and meet the challenge. What’s the measure of a worthy goal? The end of any sentence that begins: “Someday I will … “ It could be taking a trip around the world, finally cleaning out the garage, writing a book, or building your dream house.

Remember the “two-sided coin.” Learning something new can be a shot in the arm. But so is showing the ropes to a new co-worker. The exercise helps you remember why you appreciate your job.

Rely on “Resiliency Resources” -- enjoyable activities that help us counteract some of the things we can’t control. For Maybin, that’s working out at the gym.

Serve. Helping others makes us feel better about ourselves. Volunteer for an organization that makes a difference in the community.

Maintain an attitude of gratitude. This is tough for natural ingrates, said Maybin, acknowledging membership in that group. A Type A personality, Maybin is wired to set a goal, achieve it, and then … turn her attention to the next goal. Take the time to appreciate and be grateful for what you have.

Find more coverage of the conference here and at News Now.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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