In my brief association with Atlas Corps (as a Fellow, Class 46, starting July 2022), I have met people from around the globe. The Orientation Week was an incredible immersion into this vibrant, widespread community of social change makers. My fellow fellows are from diverse backgrounds – education, environment, public health, and agriculture, all united by the shared goal of making a meaningful social impact. The alums are equally impressive, and they led some sessions sharing their present engagements, the adversities they had to overcome, their circumstances, fears, their future desires and motivation. Which inspired me to write this blog.

What do you do when you cannot find a way out? Everything around is ok (ish) or maybe not, and you’re just not feeling it. No amount of caffeine or inspirational quotations gives you that jolt strong enough to pull you out of that rut. Here are some insights that were shared:

Discipline over motivation

If I were to put success in an equation form, I would say success = motivation + discipline + opportunity; 

In these three factors, you only have control over discipline. While motivation produces an essential emotion and is temporary, it gives you the drive; use this drive to establish a routine. Discipline will get you tangible results. To participate in a marathon, you must gradually build up your stamina by practising daily.

Set yourself a routine and goals accordingly: Where do you want to be one year from now? Three years from now? And five years from now?

Wind from within

Some tasks or even stretches of a time are sometimes entirely onerous, effectively killing your drive. In such times, remember why you started. Failure, stagnancy (or even success, for that matter) is not a death sentence. Break your goals into sub-goals. Make plans but leave room for uncertainty. Keep marching, onwards and upwards.

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Reach Out

Motivation can be found in the unlikeliest of places. My colleagues shared some incredible instances of simplistic situations that left them buoyant and inspired. An ex-fellow mentioned how his grandmother, who had overcome all imaginable adversity for her children, taught him the values of agility, resilience and most importantly, patience. Another colleague shared that her supervisor’s empathy, vulnerability, and authenticity in a difficult situation was a breath of fresh air that she needed to get grounded and regain her focus. Another fellow mentioned that a casual chat with a peer; led them to the realisation that there are shared problems. You are not alone!

This was only a snippet of wisdom shared in the kick-off week, and this is only the start. I shall return with more reflections, thoughts, and stories from this incredible Atlas Corps journey. Until next time! Ciao!

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