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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

How to Stay Motivated Even After You've “Made It”

When you started out in your career, you probably felt full of excitement and drive to do big things. But once you've been working for 10 years or so, there's a good chance you've reached some of your goals and already feel pretty successful. And while that's fantastic, it can make it hard to keep pushing yourself to reach the next level of your career.

This was exactly the conundrum that Fast Company recently put in front of a panel of experts. And—while they came up with a lot of great advice for staying motivated later in your career—the most interesting suggestion was the “looking back to look forward” method proposed by professor and writer Art Markman.

The idea is to try and imagine yourself in your 70s or 80s looking back on your life and consider what you would really regret not doing. He explains:

Studies on regret show that, when people in their 70s and 80s look back on their life, they often regret things they didn’t do (like never learning to salsa dance or playing a musical instrument) rather than mistakes they made or ventures that failed. You can use a little mental time travel to think about what you might regret. This perspective often helps bring to light other dreams that you can pursue as you move forward.

Read the panel's other suggestions for staying on track with your career growth, and then spend some time today thinking about what you would regret not having done in your life—and what you can do to make sure you never have to.

Photo of man on top of mountain courtesy of Shutterstock.