I don´t want to be pushed or scared anymore! (Details inside)
March 20, 2013 8:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I be more creative, self-motivated and stick to my goals?

The title might be a little inappropriate, but I don´t have a better way to describe my situation. Let me explain: I´m a successful 40-year-old male, married, no kids, with 18+ years of experience in IT related matters. Two months ago I landed my dream job: I work for a blue-chip company and I´m really happy with it.

Nonetheless, all my life I have had someone or something "forcing me" to do things: study, be on time, organize my schedule, learn and develop new skills, etc. When I was a kid and a teenager, my parents did this for me. They were very strict and I had to comply. I was a star student at school, but when I started college, I began to fail since nobody was there to "keep me going" and finally, after trying three different majors, I ended up dropping out completely. Afterwards, I manage to get some good jobs thanks to my love and passion for technology and my ability to learn things by myself, but in general terms, I´m very inconstant and irregular. Some of my bosses had to get rid of me since I started everything with lots of energy but after a short time, I simply gave up: lost interest and started to procrastinate, always ending in fights with my colleagues, my boss and finally having to get a new job.

Right now, I´m kind of more organized, but still I almost always need someone telling me what to do next. Fear has always been my main motivator and right now I feel I cannot make a mistake and lose this job, specially now when I´m 40 and the economy is so bad. I´m thinking in re-starting college as well but I´m fearing I will give up in the short term with my motivation vanishes...

My question is very simple: How can I achieve a greater degree of autonomy and self-motivation, as well as improve my initative and creativity to be a valuable employee and keep my job? For the record, I have lots of hobbies (music, kites, photography, reading, language learning, etc.) but I usually don´t stick to anything for long. I´ve been reading a lot of self-motivation books lately, but none of them has rung a bell yet... I´m exploring the CBT approach to see if it fits me.

If you need further information, I´ll be happy to elaborate more.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Matrod to Human Relations (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever been tested for ADD?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:20 PM on March 20, 2013

Yes, I even bought a Neuro/Biofeedback machine to train myself and focus my attention. It has helped somehow, but I don´t have a serious ADD disorder (according to my research and my NF training results). I try to practice meditation daily as well...
posted by Matrod at 8:25 PM on March 20, 2013

Have you considered getting an actual test for ADHD?
posted by oceanjesse at 9:35 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've heard good things about a book called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
posted by Dansaman at 5:12 AM on March 21, 2013

Yes, I even bought a Neuro/Biofeedback machine to train myself and focus my attention. It has helped somehow, but I don´t have a serious ADD disorder (according to my research and my NF training results). I try to practice meditation daily as well...

These are good things that can supplement, but not replace, a diagnosis of ADD with medication. Talk to a doctor about this. Even if it's mild, the right medication can work miracles.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:26 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

These are some shots in the dark:

The self acceptance project at Sounds True, it just started and is pretty good so far. If you're anything like me, you'll have some pretty negative self assessments of yourself and your past.

Reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics might help you aim your projects and goals towards a flourishing life- not just moving out of fear.

The book War of Art speaks of resistance as a factor in blocking creativity. Carol Dwek's work helped give me a bit of new perspective on learning.
posted by jade east at 8:44 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

In many ways, you sound like me and alot of my fellow co-workers. When it comes to our jobs, we all generally need "outside" pressure like deadlines, or the threat of a poor review, to motivate us. It does sound kind of juvenile, I guess, but I think it's pretty typical.

You say that you "almost always need someone telling me what to do next." But is someone telling you to get into kites, music, or photography? Probably not, because those are your true passions. So I don't think you should sell yourself so short just because the latest IT project at work isn't filling you with excitement. It's a job, it's why they have to pay you to be there!

The part of your question I'll address is the very end, how to be a valued employee and keep your job. My advice is - your job is to make your manager's job easy. If your manager can count on you to follow through on stuff, not be a whiner, and generally be a low-maintenance employee who consistently delivers solid (doesn't have to be excellent) work products, then you will generally not have to worry about being fired. The second best thing you can do is to simply be pleasant to be around. Work is also a social thing, and just being friendly and positive (even if your are just acting sometimes!) will go a looong way to job stability and overall harmony.
posted by see_change at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2013

Hi and thanks for all your answers. It seems my situation is a combination of mental disbalance with social issues. I'm working on it right now and noticing changes. I'll report back.
posted by Matrod at 6:10 PM on July 13, 2013

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