Motivation can be hard to maintain, especially for CHWs. These strategies can help.
Motivation keeps us moving. But motivation can be easy to lose, especially when we're overwhelmed, overworked, and facing more stressors than ever before. For Community Health Workers (CHWs), there is the added stress of being a frontline worker and the emotional toll of working with clients who are struggling. But at the heart of every CHW is empathy, compassion, and passion. Try these simple strategies to keep you motivated.
Make a plan.
Having a career plan for the next six months, year, or three years can be incredibly helpful to keep you motivated. In that plan, be sure to include achievable and realistic goals (SMART goals). Do you want to get a promotion to CHW supervisor in the next year? Write that down! Then map out what you need to do from now until then to make it happen. That may mean attending specialized or advanced virtual training, finding a mentor in the position you'd like, or surpassing all of your performance goals. But having a clear plan and an attainable goal in mind will keep you motivated.
Remind yourself of your "Why."
Why did you become a CHW? Why did you join the organization you're currently at? Why do you wake up each day to do what you do? Chances are, you have intrinsic and extrinsic motivators attached to these questions. Maybe you became a CHW because you've experienced the struggles of your community first-hand and now have the ability to help. Maybe you joined your organization because its mission aligns with yours! Whatever your "why," keep those answers in mind to help yourself stay motivated.
Seek learning and growth opportunities.
One common reason we lose motivation is boredom. New information and skills are exciting tools to reignite your passion. And that excitement can help address some burnout or boredom you may be feeling. Make an effort to find classes, training, and learning collaboratives to join. In these, you'll not only learn new information and enhance your skills, but you'll also meet like-minded individuals. Hearing their stories from the field can keep you inspired, which can in turn motivate you.
Join a network.
Surrounding yourself with motivated individuals is an easy way to keep yourself motivated. One way to do this is by joining a CHW network, whether that's a state or national association or a different professional network. Not only is motivation contagious, but joining a professional network or association can provide you with more opportunities for learning, growing, and advancing in your career. A network we recommend joining is the Rural Community Health Worker Network.