How to Stay Motivated When You’re Not Feeling Very Motivated
By: Dr. Sampada Deshpande
Every so often, I’ll get a message on Instagram (IG) asking ‘how do you stay so motivated? You are such a hustler.’
I don’t know when I became a poster child for motivation? Because the reality couldn’t be any further from that description. What you see on IG or LinkedIn, is probably the best version of anyone’s life. We are all going through the same motions every day, some highs but also many lows. Some days, I am just looking forward to going home, putting my feet up on the coffee table and watching, “Kim’s Convenience.”
Surprised? Why? Nobody is perfect, and we all crave the same comforts. This is a common element that unites us. Yet the question I sometimes get on IG, makes me wonder about the answer too. How do people stay motivated?
Here are a few things that have helped many before us, and may help you:
Work with a coach
I have personally had only two experiences with coaches, one was not so great (and I got out of it quickly), the other is my current coach. To put it lightly, she has changed the way I think about my career. My coach inspires me to try different avenues, gives tangible data points, genuinely encourages me even outside of our professional coaching relationship and advocates for me. Having a professional coach can be a source of motivation like no other. All of us could use one.
Have a peer support group
Founded by Shivani Kamodia DDS, Creative Collective (CC), is a women’s group of inter-disciplinary healthcare professionals who are actively pursuing passions outside of their chosen careers. In California, these monthly meetings with the CC have been instrumental in my career growth over the last year alone. It has also introduced me to a network of people who I know will have my back. Another such group is the New Dentist Business Club- friends from far and wide, who are united by the common goal of owning a dental practice one day. I encourage you to seek out groups such as these in your local area. When you find peers who you can lean on for support, and who can help you work through problems, you don’t feel as alone. You feel supported and emerge stronger. That, itself is motivating.
‘Take short life-changing courses’
This one is from my dad. It’s hard to define what life-changing can be, but the idea is to learn something new. It need not be about implants or sedation, it could also be about improving your communication skills, upping your game at gardening, or becoming better at practicing mindfulness. The importance here is on short courses – maybe ones that last a week, or a few days, require you to take some time off work, and allow you to completely immerse yourself in an educational experience. The last such course I took that I absolutely loved was the Business Masters course at Breakaway Seminar. Few would describe it as life-changing, but for me, sitting there and listening to Scott Luene, I immediately felt motivated and couldn’t wait to go back to my associateship. I wanted to begin implementing things I learned that weekend.
Have a life outside your career
I know this is hard for many of us who have spent a majority of our lives working towards becoming a dentist. However, life is about more than just your career. It’s also about family, friends, music, exercise and art. I try to bike with my husband at least a couple of times a week after work. Every Saturday we take a longer bike ride together and explore a new neighborhood of San Francisco, where we live. This Saturday morning bike ride sometimes is the only thing getting me through a long work week. And, I’m grateful for it. Now, I’m not trying to participate in bikeathons or Ironman races, (although life is short, and why not?) but, all of this is fun. And, fun motivates us too.
This one may seem pretty obvious as well, but community service, teaching, and answering people’s questions can be motivating. The surprising thing is giving is so much more motivating than receiving. It jump-starts all these happy hormones in our bloodstream. So even if it is volunteering as faculty at the local dental school for a half-day a week, working at the free clinic, or vaccinating the rest of the community against COVID-19, try to find a way to give back that works for you. It’ll leave you happier and more motivated.
Disclaimer: Sampada is the founder of New Dentist Business Club
Dr. Sampada Deshpande is a general dentist based in Seattle. A foreign-trained dentist from India, Sampada earned her DDS from the University of Washington in 2018, where she is also a current LEND trainee. Outside of clinical dentistry, she enjoys hosting the New Dentist Business Club, going on hikes with her husband, and reading books on Finance & Management. You can reach her directly at @dr.deshpande on Instagram or visit her website www.sampadadeshpandedds.com for more information.