Hashtags, Twitter Trends, and Friday Feels
“#nobody #cares #about #your #hashtags.” Ancient internet proverb
Ask anyone who tries to meet a deadline – or worse, make a living – by putting pen to paper, and they’ll tell you — writer’s block is real, and it is inevitable. Even the co-authors of LOA! run into that proverbial wall from time to time, particularly when crafting a blog “from scratch”; that is, without a prompt, topic, or current event so manifest that we feel compelled to write about it. But what to do when your Word doc remains blank, and your deadline (self-imposed or otherwise) is fast approaching? There are the usual options: scan the news for headlines, ask younger family, friends, and associates what’s “hot” at the moment, and thumb through LOA! for the megahits to re-package in blog form. Or . . . there’s the “break glass in case of emergency” option, which is to check out what’s trending on Twitter.
No, this is not another Elon Musk column – surely you’ve had your fill of those over the last couple of weeks. And say what you will about Twitter, but if you want to know what people are talking about, that’s probably the best place to go. The Twitter “trends” organize the hottest topics – that is, what people on Twitter are talking about most at any given moment – by hashtags. So, what is trending? There is the usual pop star and celebrity stuff — no surprise there and who cares? It was apparently #NationalNursesDay, so of course, we salute all nurses for their service. There was also some stuff that even the younger half of the LOA! team had never heard of. But one hashtag – I won’t give away its exact placement on the list, but it was somewhere in the top ten trends – was #FridayMotivation. And that got us thinking about not just what motivates us, but perhaps a harder question: what to do when we struggle with motivation? Particularly, motivation at work?
Everyone experiences that motivational struggle at some point, and there are myriad reasons for it. And young professionals, despite being relatively new to the workforce, are not immune. Perhaps you don’t feel challenged at work, or that your work isn’t contributing to a greater good. Maybe you aren’t motivated because your organization doesn’t allow for upward growth or provide you with quality mentorship. Or what if the lack of motivation has internal roots? That doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad employee. Whatever the cause, lack of motivation is a problem to be tackled, head-on and ASAP, before it gets worse and costs you opportunities, relationships, and perhaps even your job.
As LOA! is primarily a skills-based book, it’s probably no surprise that we think the accumulation and ultimately mastery of new skills can be a powerful motivator. This applies in good times or in bad, whether you are happy with your current organization or not. Adding a new tool – say, the ability to absolutely crush a presentation, or better understand and translate what numbers mean, or edit and improve presentations due to your writing skills, or engage in courageous conversations – to your professional toolkit makes you a more valuable employee, not to mention a more attractive candidate if you are in the market for a new gig.
Since we’re all likely to change jobs, if not careers, multiple times over the course of our professional lives, stacking up new skills as if they are items on a quest is vital to your development. We would go even further and suggest that new skills make you a better, more interesting person as well. Perhaps a happier one, too. The journey to develop your skills, and master both your job and your business, is a challenging and ongoing process. As you gain skills and knowledge, you’ll increase your contribution to your manager, your team, and your company. You’ll also lower your stress level, enjoy your work more, and eventually, find your niche and do more of what you do best.
If you find yourself in a position of stasis, or in an organization or doing work that pays you but doesn’t motivate you, commit to adding a new skill to your arsenal. It doesn’t even have to be a professional skill although, of course, we suggest that you start there. Identify and develop a new skill that will serve you well at work by requesting new projects or working with people that already possess the skill you are interested in. There are plenty of online resources, from YouTube to actual university courses, that can help, and many are often free. If your job doesn’t motivate you, here’s betting that the attainment of new skills, and everything that those new skills can unlock for you, will.
I must confess that the actual tweets under the #FridayMotivation hashtag were a bit of a hodgepodge and did not represent a unified theme as I expected. Lots of motivational quotes, some religious stuff, pictures of dogs being . . . motivating, we guess? But the topic did get us thinking! And as a reward for all that thinking, and mostly because this blog is being crafted on a sunny Friday afternoon here in London, I think it’s now time to investigate #beergate firsthand.
Need a little motivation and guidance to get you on the right track to succeed in your career? Look Out Above! will help you get ahead and stay ahead.