Do You Ever Get Discouraged?

Do You Ever Get Discouraged?

You work hard, try your best, and still, things don’t work out as you hoped. You plan, prepare, think ahead — and yet, something unforeseen comes out of nowhere and creates another obstacle you have to overcome. Life, both at work and outside of work, is difficult (at times, at least.)

What is discouragement, really? 

Discouragement literally means, “without courage.” We lose that fighting edge to “go get ’em” and attack the challenges of the day. We lose heart. We are worn out. We wonder if “it” (our goals/our vision) is worth all of the time and effort we are putting into trying to make things happen.

Anyone who has goals they are trying to reach (if they are honest about it) becomes discouraged. The obstacles to overcome loom large and seem to be multiplying (versus going away as we deal with them). We don’t seem to be making progress and wonder if all that we are doing makes any difference at all.

When You Need to Be Encouraged

Sometimes, we need encouragement.  While it may feel “weird” to some, the best way to get some encouragement is to let people know that you are discouraged. Here are some factors to consider when you are seeking encouragement.

If you are fairly close to a colleague, I think it is reasonable to say something like:

“Just wanted to let you know, I’m pretty discouraged and not feeling too valued for what I do. I don’t want to be a whiner, and it is not your responsibility to make me feel better, but if you have any input or suggestions, I’m open.”

This at least opens the door for the other person to give you some feedback (hopefully, positive and supportive) OR for them to follow-up and ask you more about the situation – they may be totally surprised at your comment.

At the same time, trying to start communicating appreciation to others at work may be a good step, as well – to start modeling the type of communication you’d like from others.  No guarantees but it may “prime the pump” for others to start being more supportive.

If you are new to the group, not especially close to anyone, or if there has been tension with your supervisor, I would not recommend the above.

Rather, I think it may be better to look for support and encouragement from friends and family – letting them know that you are pretty discouraged at work, and any support / encouragement they can give you would be appreciated.

Finally, if you feel overwhelmed by the negativity in your work environment, I’ve written two resources that should be helpful.  The first, Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, gives practical suggestions on how to survive an unhealthy workplace.  The other is my book, The Vibrant Workplace, which gives tips and resources for helping your workplace become more positive and supportive.

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