How to Remain Optimistic in Your Professional Pursuits

Isioma Ononye
6 min readNov 30, 2022


To win the game, see your career as a marathon and not a sprint

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

It is expected that when you are about to reach retirement age, things start to dwindle down.

However, even young professionals in their 20s and 30s may start to feel a lack of motivation in their professional pursuits.

This might be due to a variety of reasons such as a not-so-great, toxic work culture or a bad economy that makes it difficult to obtain a job.

A lack of motivation in the workplace can also be due to uncertainty about one’s next steps.

In this article, I want to provide tips and inspiration to those who feel stagnant in their occupation and professional pursuits.

Here is how to get your drive and motivation back based on my experience.

Try to Dip Your Feet In Many Different Things

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One of the ways that I stay optimistic in my professional pursuits is that I’ve been in many different work environments. I started job hopping when I was a student…

I had up to about five internships back when I was a college student. I interned for publishing houses, non-profit organisations and digital agencies.

Through the many internships I obtained, I was able to know what sort of work environment I like and what I enjoy doing.

Though I had studied English Literature with minors in Journalism and Women’s Studies, from my internships, I knew that the environment that I enjoyed the most was the non-profit sector and what had sparked motivation in me were causes for women’s empowerment.

Also, through dipping my feet in many internships, I also realised what skills I liked best. When I was a content creator with TASTE Daily, I was featured in their marketing video for their launch.

That was when I realised I was a natural on camera and it was also something I enjoyed doing. That passion is still being manifested today in my content creation on YouTube.

Also, taking on internships in many roles opened the opportunity for me to get my first role.

It was a role that combined the two things I love the most: Communications and Women Empowerment.

So I had a part-time role as a Media Relations Coordinator with a global non-profit organisation that supported women.

My tip for you especially if you are starting out and are uncertain and unmotivated due to a lack of jobs or a bad economy is to be open to what is in front of you.

If you can’t get a full-time role, be open to internships and volunteer opportunities that pertain to the field you want to be in.

Also, be willing to take roles that might not be in your field of study because you can learn something and it could surprise you in helping you to know what the next path for you to take would be.

Speak to People Who Know Better Than You

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Another way for you to stay optimistic in your professional pursuits is to speak to people who know better than you. That is essentially networking and I’ve written a piece before about networking for introverts.

Networking as an Introvert

Networking is encouraging because sometimes when we go through setbacks and delays, it seems as though the world is crashing in on just us.

Yet, when you take the time to hear the stories and experiences of others, you learn that you are not alone.

Everyone has their own story when it comes to their career. Everyone has their own experiences.

There are many different ways that you can network with others.

You can network with others by conducting research on LinkedIn. Focus on the field you are in or the field you want to be in. Also, pick the location that you are currently based in and search for professionals in that area.

Then, send them an email to have either a virtual discussion or meet in person.

Another way for you to network is through attending events. You can attend networking events to meet people who are doing what you aspire to do.

Stay Open-Minded in Your Capabilities and ‘’Shoot Your Shot’’

Photo by Brandy Kennedy on Unsplash

Another way for you to stay motivated in your professional pursuits is for you to stay open-minded. When you stay open-minded, you don’t limit yourself by putting yourself in a box.

It’s bad enough when others put you in a box, then it’s worse when you limit yourself.

Be willing to explore and expand on your skill set either through online learning or learning through an institution.

You stay open-minded when you take on a new challenge in your workplace that might be out of your comfort level.

You stay open-minded when you ‘‘shoot your shot.’’ In Nigeria, we use the term when it typically comes to dating and someone makes the first attempt at an advance. I want you to shoot your shot in terms of job opportunities.

Be willing to apply for roles that might seem beyond your experience or even in a completely different field. The worst that could happen is that you don’t get a call-back or you get rejected. It won’t kill you.

Shooting your shot is what led me to my current role in a non-profit organisation though my past experiences have been in media.

Have An End Goal In Mind

Photo by Caique Nascimento on Unsplash

You need to have an end goal in mind. Some jobs are simply going to be a means to an end for you.

The reality is that we don’t all just wake up and get our dream jobs. Life is not that easy. Sometimes, you have to take a role that you don’t expect so you can build your CV and make some money.

Sometimes, stay in that job that you hate because you are making good connections but be planning your exit strategy.

Having an end goal in mind is what will enable you to keep showing up and doing what is needed for the role even though your spirit has left the building.

Final Thoughts

Even as a young professional, you can hit a rut in your career. We are all human so life happens and sometimes, you are not sure where to go and what to do.

It’s alright and when you are uncertain, just chill out for a while and try to allow yourself to float.

Then, start to take those baby steps to get that fire back. As a child runs freely and oftentimes with no distinct destination in mind, you should also run free so that you get a variety of experiences.

Speak to as many people as you can to encourage learning and guidance in your journey and then when the direction seems to get clearer, go ahead and ‘‘shoot your shot.’’

Let me know in the comments section, how do you shoot your shot in your career?

P.S. If you need extra encouragement, you can get my E-Guide: Discovering Your Confidence: A Personal Guide.



Isioma Ononye

I write about finding yourself, self-esteem, christianity, mental health and communications. Join my newsletter here: