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Distractions of any kind can derail us... right? Couple those distractions with a diagnosis of Career ADD or living a Career ADD Lifestyle that is leading you down the wrong path. How many of us are switching activities multiple times throughout the day, and at the end of the day very little is truly accomplished? Now imagine that the same distractors are impacting your work every day. Worse yet, imagine that you are struggling with making a career decision that won’t take you down the same path of unhappiness and failure. Are you stuck? Does your mind come to a screeching halt when considering job or career options, or does it move on to the next often negative thought and subsequent action that gets you nowhere? No, you are not crazy... life does sometimes get in the way. On the other hand, if you are seeing a pattern here – one that has continued for perhaps years, it is time to take another look at what may be the root cause and some tips to help move you toward Career Happiness! Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Take an HONEST look at your work life.

I’m talking about from your very first job, no matter what it was. Ask yourself this – How did it make me feel every day? Did I make little mistakes and could not figure out why I made them? Was I called on the carpet more times than I’d like to admit? Do I now lack self-confidence in my ability to secure work that makes me happy? Taking an inventory of our work lives is the first step to seeing a pattern in the way we have approached our careers. If you have Career ADD, it doesn’t matter if you studied for years for the job you now have, or for the one that you are now seeking, if issues of ADD or a Career ADD Lifestyle are part of your current make-up, the patterns will continue.

2. Get a diagnosis or take an inventory for ADD.

My best friend sent me the book Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, which I ignored for two years. Finally, after my divorce, I knew I had to take another look and, magically, was able to locate it on my bookshelf as if some force were directing me. There are dozens of books out there, but this was the one that made all the difference and helped me to truly recognize what was going on. What a relief! And after I went through a brief grieving process, started to notice more what I was doing, how I was reacting and then sought tools to help me.

3. Get support now!

This can either come in the form of an ADD coach, or with a career professional who understands the many challenges we face in our career and in our lives, and can help guide you to make choices that can be life changing. At the very least, find a trusted friend who accepts you and will be honest with you. Ask them to keep you accountable to manage your symptoms for success. So, here are just a few of the “symptoms” of ADD that have impacted you in the career realm: easily distractible, low tolerance for frustration, low tolerance for boredom, impulsiveness, forgetfulness, restlessness... and the list goes on. Career happiness image from Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.