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How To Stay Motivated

As we move past a rancorous and extremely dynamic election cycle, confront a global resurgence of COVID cases and edge to the precipice of the holiday season, coaching clients and colleagues are wrestling with how best to continue to motivate, energize and inspire themselves and their teams. Challenging in the best of times, these areas have and continue to be a struggle for many of us in our work from home environments. How do we navigate feelings of overwhelm and sustained fatigue? Do we need to redefine our concepts of productivity? How do we effectively create sustained engagement and a desire to provide discretionary effort? What does it look like to thrive under these conditions?

This week we explore these questions. There is a range of reading and listening offering thoughtful points of view, as well as a variety of tools and tips to consider as we continue to confront these significantly challenging times.

You will also find two excellent pieces on the concept of male ally-ship and the role men can and should play in advocating for gender equity in our workplaces. In particular, the thought-provoking Harvard Business Review article 4 Ways Men Can Support Their Female Colleagues — Remotely by David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson with Consultants Collective members, Kevin Jordan and Lisen Stromberg.

As David and Brad explore the strategic and cultural benefits of effective remote ally-ship in their piece, they note that “world-class ally-ship at this moment requires an astute understanding of how and why women are uniquely affected in the remote environment, and the motivation to adapt key ally actions to the work-from-home world. Here are four strategies that male allies can deploy now to empower women and stem the loss of talented women from the workforce.”

As always, happy reading and listening! And please stay safe and look out for your families and your community.


Feeling Overwhelmed? Here’s How to Get Through the Workday. “When people are experiencing overwhelming, difficult emotions, their instinct may be to spend all day browsing the internet or to drown themselves in work as a distraction. But there are options between those extremes that can help you feel better, bounce back faster, and regain your confidence to handle whatever personal situations you’re facing.”

How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible. “You may not be able to stop the flow of negativity in your life, especially right now, but you can resist its toxic effects by making smart choices about who and what you surround yourself with, the mindset you adapt, and the information you consume. Not only will you be better off because of these choices — those around you will too.”

7 Months Into the Pandemic and I’m Losing Motivation: Not productive? No problem. “So what are we to do? Do those old tricks for busting out still apply? How do we stay motivated right now, seven months into a pandemic with no end in sight? Or, maybe more helpfully: How do we reconcile with the impossibility of maintaining full motivation and productivity as we settle into what will be our normal for the foreseeable future?”

Keep Your Weary Workers Engaged and Motivated. “Humans are motivated by four drives: acquire, bond, comprehend, and defend. Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams discuss how managers can use all four to keep employees engaged.”

How to inspire your team during a crisis without falling into toxic positivity. “The CEO of an agriculture tech company shares techniques for leaders and their teams to find genuine reasons for optimism.”

HBR Readers on Juggling Work and Kids… in a Pandemic. “…We reached out to working parents on HBR’s LinkedIn Group and asked them to share advice about how they’re getting things done in these impossible circumstances…We’ve collected 18 of our favorites here. Some of the main themes include setting boundaries and carving out time for focus; getting extended family involved; and embracing ‘good enough’ while remembering to play, laugh, and be present.”

4 Ways Men Can Support Their Female Colleagues — Remotely. “Leaders and managers —and the majority of men in most industries — are at a crossroads. We must decide to take personal action to evolve and improve ally-ship behaviors in remote workplaces so that talented women are retained and advanced…To achieve gender equity as we continue to live through this pandemic, the first step is to cultivate an awareness and understanding of the unique remote-work challenges that women confront now on a daily basis.”

Are You a Good Ally at Work? Ask Yourself These Questions to Find Out. “According to research from Lean In, more than 80 percent of white employees see themselves as allies to people of color at work, but only 45 percent of Black women and 55 percent of Latinx women agree that they have strong allies in the workplace. And only four in 10 white employees reported speaking out against racial discrimination at work.”

Getting ahead isn’t a nasty business, US study reveals. “Researchers found ‘nice, generous’ people advanced at work just as much as bullies.”

TED Talks/Podcasts

TED: The Way We Work. 3 Steps To Stop Remote Work Burnout. “Too much screen time, too many video calls and too few boundaries make working from home hard for all of us. Podcast host and writer Morra Aarons-Mele shares honest advice on what you can learn from the introverts in your life about protecting your energy and your limits.”

No Stupid Questions: Are Ambitious People Inherently Selfish?

Blog Posts

Ryan Holiday: How to Have the Best Week Ever. “Today is the most valuable thing you own. It is the only thing you have. Don’t waste it. Seize it. Live it.”

Seth Godin: When Can We Talk About Our Systems? “It’s comfortable to ignore the system, to assume it is as permanent as the water surrounding your goldfish. But the fact that we have these tactical problems is all the evidence we need to see that something is causing them, and that spending time on the underlying structure could make a difference.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

‘I got a whole new mindset’: the health secrets of people who got much fitter in lockdown. “Many of us have struggled to maintain our fitness in 2020 – but not everyone. Here, four people explain how they improved their sleep patterns, diet and exercise regimes.”

U2’s the Edge on ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ at 20: ‘It Was a Natural Moment to Reboot.’ “Ahead of a new deluxe reissue, the guitarist reflects on an album that reconnected the band with fans all over the globe.”

The Oral History of ‘Best in Show.’ “Looking back at the dog show–centric successor to the mockumentaries ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and ‘Waiting for Guffman’ on its 20th anniversary.”


“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.” – Vernon Jordan

Everything Is Going to Be All Right
Derek Mahon

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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  1. Uk Gospel

    Great article. Thanks.

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