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  • Cate Robinson

Social work, motivation and musical chairs!


Musical chairs continues to be a popular game most often found in the middle of children's parties. At a recent community party, the children played first and then the adults. Interestingly the adults were just as determined as the children to keep chasing each other trying to get to the last chair. One might suggest that it is easy to motivate ourselves when it comes to fun things and even more so when we know that there is a prize at the end, however would we be so motivated to keep playing the game if there was no obvious prize?

I think it is fair to say that often social work staff feel that they are in a perpetual cycle of chasing. Racing to the chair before the music stops, feeling the momentary relief of achievement as they plant themselves down, before taking off again for the next round. This isn't always the most pleasant of experiences when we are talking about real life situations. The adrenaline may keep you going, but at some point your mind may start to say 'wait a minute...am I actually getting anywhere here?' The nature of social work is just this, we are human beings that work with other human beings and as such we change, they change, and the nature of our work goes on, to the extent that it might sometimes feel as if someone is adding chairs...not taking them away!

So how DO you stay motivated?

If you don't feel that you are reaching 'the prize' in your work, or indeed there is no obvious prize, make your own!

Celebrate your successes however small and celebrate them regularly!

Celebrating life is important in bringing us more joy, more hope and generally more optimism for our now and our future. We may not always receive praise when it is deserved, or recognition when it is needed, but we can always manage ourselves in such a way that we feel good about ourselves and our work just the same.

Carrot - stick - donkey - it works!

I regularly do this with myself. I stop for a lovely cup of coffee, I take myself for a walk to see the trees and the flowers and change my view, I catch up with a friend and feel the connection and distraction of the world of someone else, it is simple but effective!

What works for you may be entirely different and that is for you to consider.

The challenge is to raise your awareness, regularly treat yourself well and spark your own motivation in any which way you can!


Associate member of:

International Authority for Professional Coaching and Mentoring IAPCM 

International Positive Psychology Association IPPA

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