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10 Ways to Reignite the Spark in Your Career

After you’ve been working for a while, it can be tough to keep the passion alive. You may have started out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but if you’re like the rest of us, eventually you’ll hit a slump. This is especially tough in the business world because your career thrives on energy and enthusiasm. It can begin to feel like you will never get that passion back again.

Thankfully, all is not lost. Here are 10 easy ways to put the spring back in your step and find your fire again!

1.    Write It Out

Sometimes we get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take some time to sit down and really think about how you’re feeling. Whenever I’m overwhelmed and confused, I start with a list. 

Note the pros and cons of your job, and figure out what’s out of your control and what you can change… and then change it! 

Having everything laid out on paper makes it far less scary, and gives you a game plan for how to approach problems.

2.    Take a Trip Down Memory Lane 

Think back to who you were when your career journey started. Did you ever think that you would be where you are today? Really reflect on how hard you’ve worked and how far you’ve come. Try writing a letter to your past self, detailing everything you’ve achieved – and pat yourself on the back. 

3.    Define Your Goals

Just as important as remembering where you’ve come from is envisioning where you’re going. If you’ve lost your fire, it may be because you’ve become stagnant in your journey. Everyone needs a break from hustling, but it’s important to re-align your focus and set your sights on the things you want to achieve. Not only will it remind you of why you started in the first place, but it will motivate you to get back into your rhythm.  

 4.    Start the Day Right

It’s easy to roll out of bed and munch on some toast while you rub the sleep out of your eyes, but it doesn’t make for a particularly inspiring day. Get a head start in the morning by waking up half an hour earlier, doing some stretches or listening to your favourite playlist while preparing a breakfast feast. It might be tough at the start, but your future self will thank you!

5.    Spice Up Your Workspace

Put your Pinterest gloves on and revamp your station. It’s something small, but adding some extra little details can turn a claustrophobic desk into a space that you love working in. Add some special pictures, a plant or two, or – if you’re like me – a jar of jellybeans. Make it work for you and you’ll want to keep coming back.

6.    Schedule Time Out

Often when we’re slogging through the day it’s because there is no end in sight. Making time for yourself to relax is essential for motivation, energy and overall happiness. Leave your work at the office and spend some time reading, baking or seeing loved ones. Try and stay away from your phone and computer during this period – I love the internet as much as anyone else, but constantly chatting and checking notifications is a job in itself. If you can look forward to designated chill time, you’ll find that your day isn’t so scary after all.

7.    Pick Up a Hobby

A great way to put the spring back in your step is to find a new passion. Especially if you’re struggling to find your motivation at work, it can really help to throw yourself into something different and remember how great it is to learn some new skills. Whether it’s drawing, joining a local sports club or painting tiny figurines, an extra-curricular activity is a great way to reset your mind and make your day exciting again.

8.    Connect with Your Colleagues 

Tackling something is always easier if you have a team behind you. It’s really important to build friendships with your co-workers that extend beyond the coffee-machine. Try starting a new tradition like drinks on a Friday night or a morning catch-up with the team to bring your crew closer together. You’ll get to make new friends and share in the challenges of your job. Misery loves company, but so does happiness, motivation, and success.

9.    Get Networking

Socialising can take a lot of mental energy, but if you’re looking for a way to re-motivate yourself, meeting other people in your field is a game-changer! Not only will you form connections that could offer new opportunities, but you’ll get to interact with people that are in the same boat as you. Sharing goals and gripes will remind you that you’re not alone in this, and there are tons of people working to keep the fire alive. 

Meeting inspirational entrepreneurs can remind you of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, re-invigorating your passion for what you do.

10. Learn Something New

There is always space to expand your expertise and explore different aspects of your career. Not only will you be able to find new opportunities and expand your CV, but you might discover a completely new avenue that you hadn’t considered before. The best way to dive into a fresh start is to check out what online courses you can do – you will be able to study while you’re working and end up with accreditation and a brand-new skillset. MasterStart offers 11 different courses in management, business, leadership, and marketing. 

Check out your options and start a course that will change how you see your career and yourself. 

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6 Highly Successful People Who Earned Their Degrees Online

January, the Monday of months, has finally come to an end. We made it, y’all! And just like Tuesday morning brings the promise of increased energy, better focus and a fresh cup of coffee, February presents a new start and the opportunity to begin a life-changing adventure, wherever you may be in your journey. 

Here at MasterStart, we provide you with all the tools you need to kickstart your new chapter of success with 11 career-changing courses in management, business, marketing, and leadership. Online learning offers the opportunity to get your degree while still leaving time for your job, friends, family, and hobbies, making it just as good (dare we say, better) than conventional tertiary education.

Don’t believe us? Here are 6 highly successful people who studied online and went on to achieve more than they ever could have hoped for.

1.     Steven Spielberg

The man behind Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and Jaws has definitely had an unconventional college career. After leaving school, Spielberg started his degree in film studies at California State University. During his studies, he started working at Universal Studios and eventually dropped out to focus on his film career. Years later he returned to CSU and gained his online degree in Film Production and Electronic Arts. The best part? He pulled the greatest power move in history and submitted Schindler’s List in lieu of the 12-minute short film that was required for the course. 

2.     Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy may not be a household name, but he is currently the CEO and President of Frontier Communications – an internet, TV and mobile provider which is valued at over $5 billion. McCarthy has studied at not one, not two, but three different universities, including the University of Phoenix where he earned his MBA via correspondence.

3.     Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Bet you never saw this one coming, but it’s true! In the late 60s Good ol’ Arnie hopped off of a plane from Austria and enrolled in a number of correspondence courses at Santa Monica College and UCLA. In 1979 he furthered his online education at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and in 1980 he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Marketing. Schwarzenegger went on to become the Governor of California and, more importantly, the Terminator.

4.     Howard A. Schmidt

Yet another University of Phoenix alumnus, Howard Schmidt earned his Master’s degree in Organisational Management in 1998 through their online learning system. Amongst numerous other achievements, such as a career in the United States Air Force and a position as the Vice-Chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board after the 9/11 attacks, Schmidt served as the US Cyber Security Coordinator under President Obama until 2012.

5.     Paul Goldschmidt

The success of Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt, American Major League baseball player, is a testament to the value of hard work and ambition. In 2013, while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldy got his Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. In a commercial for the university, he states that completing his studies online allowed him to focus on his career and family while still earning his degree.

6.     Nelson Mandela

This list would not be complete without including Madiba, the father of the rainbow nation. Nelson Mandela held not one, but two degrees which he earned through correspondence learning. At the beginning of his career, Mandela got his BA degree from the University of South Africa and, during his incarceration in a number of prisons, he completed his Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree through the University of London’s distance-learning programme.

These individuals continue to inspire us with their hard work, determination, and success. Furthermore, they prove that no matter what time or place you are in, it is never too late to earn your degree and boost your success. Online learning allows you to gain your qualifications while still providing the flexibility that enables you to balance work, family, friends, and hobbies. 

2nd February is the last day to register for one of MasterStart’s world-renowned courses, so make this year count and don’t miss out on the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the heroes that have come before you.

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How to Hone and Harness Healthy Habits in 2020

We are three weeks into a new decade, and it might feel like we are back to old, regular rhythms in the office and at home. The New Year’s resolutions might have been lost already, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to implement practical ways to build strong, healthy habits to move us to succeed in the new year.

Take ten minutes out today to think about the habits you’d like to see form and consider the best ways to make that happen. Use the following practical steps to encourage habits so that healthy thinking and living quickly becomes your norm.

Create a daily schedule

When you think “schedule”, you might think of a mundane day-to-day checklist of monotony. However, it doesn’t need to be like that. At all. A schedule should inspire you to focus more frequently on your priorities so that you see bigger successes in your everyday life.

The easiest way to make this happen is to plan your day around the priorities (such as working on your most exciting projects) to be tackled first when you have the best, most focused energy. From there, schedule the rest. The more this becomes a habit, the less likely you are to burn yourself out on both a mental and emotional standpoint.

Build your network

“Networking” has the connotation of attending career expos, social events, and conferences. While those do add value, they’re not the only way to engage with like-minded individuals in your field. In order to broaden your career horizons, be sure to consistently build your network through platforms given to you. LinkedIn, for example, is an excellent way to connect with people and ideas to help build your career and your network. Make posting and engaging with content a habit and you’ll soon be reaping in the benefits!

Set goals (and monitor them!)

An easy one in theory, but a difficult one to truly capture in reality. This habit is all about consistency in order to combat any lack of motivation by focusing on progress. As you see success, you’ll find that the more you achieve, the more you want to achieve.

Write down clear goals that you want to see happen in 2020 and schedule a check-in on your calendar once or twice a month so that you can see how you are doing with your goals. Remember: it’s more important to see long-term growth than quick (and short-lived) successes.

Build your soft skills

Ever met someone you took to liking immediately? Odds are, it wasn’t because they had bucketloads of money or stacks of achievements under their belt. It’s probably because they had excellent people skills. Clear communication, consistent ways of thinking, and sound logic. The soft skills are so crucial in our interactions with others that it should go without saying how important they are to our career success.

It’s Time to Make Time to Be a Genius

For the past 150 years, the majority of learning model types have barely changed. Think desks in neat rows one behind the other, featured all the way from pre-school to university. While we’ve seen movement in the method, nothing seems to have shaken the traditional model of education. 

That is, until Online EdTech stepped in.

The blend of online and traditional methods is being seen in more and more traditional public and private universities, and the trend is catching on quickly.

This is because students don’t just want knowledge. Rather, they want to know how to apply it. They are looking for skills that they can use NOW – in their world of work or to upskill themselves to improve their career prospects.

MasterStart is eager to explore how we can do just that – how we can equip students with very practical methods to use immediately. This year, we are excited to take registered learnerships to a fully online approach.

Learnerships, created within a field for those involved in the field, helps to develop the necessary skills for learners to excel in their industry. This means there is a focus on relevant and practical experience designed to teach the learner how to best perform tasks within their profession.

It has been found that learnerships have contributed to a decrease in the unemployment rate in South Africa, especially when learners are absorbed back into the company where they completed their programme. This tends to occur as the learnerships can be customised to meet the skills gap experienced by the employer or sector.

Online learning is particularly well suited towards flexibility, given the nature of some of the learning management platforms used.

However, I would argue that the emphasis from the training providers – and indeed the students – is still on knowledge and information distribution and acquisition. I believe that the measure is still that all-important certificate or statement of results.

I also think there’s more to it. I have been inspired by the trend that educational technologists, academics and futurists see becoming a major educational movement in the new year, suitably dubbed “Genius Hour”.

What is Genius Hour?

“Each week, employees can take a Genius Hour — 60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills. They’ve used that precious sliver of autonomy well, coming up with a range of innovations including training tools for other branches.”

Genius Hour

Genius Hour, also known as 20% Time or Passion Project, refers to the concept whereby employees spend one-fifth of their time at work passionately pursuing projects that interest them. This entails researching, learning, building and designing a product with purpose and innovative intent. As pointed out by Centeril, Genius Hour has resulted in two of the biggest, most well-known names in innovation in today’s society – Gmail and Post-it Notes. 

Online education, in my opinion, is ideally suited to encourage and foster the type of environment in which Genius Hour can thrive.

The online forums and chats function not only as space to ask assignment-related questions but can also offer a platform where ideas and thoughts can be shared by students. Genius Hour is set to be student-oriented and fully purpose-driven. That is, it needs to be part of the course learning design and cannot simply be an add-on. As a result, the online learning process should be collaborative and social in order to see the best results from students and their efforts.

Genius Hours’ innovative ideas should be shared and seen from a variety of angles, with no space for judgement. The concept of Genius Hour in education is said to be inherently creative and should remain so.

All I need to do is find an hour sometime this new year to work on my genius idea! Watch this space for gold…

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New Year, Better You

(turning your resolutions into revolutions)

It’s that time of the year again – time to set those New Year goals. At this point, though, you know the drill: You set a  goal (let’s say ‘no more carbs), stick to it for about a month (that is if you’re lucky).

Then later, you think back on the year that has gone, attempting to review all you’ve achieved. Few can list numerous achievements, but the vast majority of us can’t. Clearly, goals were set – and failed to emerge from there. More often than not, this is down to neglecting the goals. And that neglect needs to stop and the achievements need to start!

Make this the year you finally achieve it. Keep it realistic and avoid making your goal outlandish. Make it something that will challenge you, but something you can also achieve if you buckle down during the course of the year.

New Year, Better Workspace

One of the most common career-related New Year’s resolutions is learning new work-related skills.  

Learning a new skill is probably the most ideal approaches to take your career to new heights, so it only makes sense for this to be on the top of every professional’s list of resolutions. Be that as it may, how can somebody even begin learning another skill? By making a plan.

We should set both professional and mental goals for ourselves. There are ways you can better your character and in general self. Try to be more giving, more understanding, and so on. These goals are something we should always work toward, yet celebrating the new year is an incredible suggestion to grow and develop as an individual.

So instead live by the mantra, “a new year, a better me.” Don’t say “new me,” or as certain individuals joke, “same me.” We should persistently try to better ourselves, and what an incredible reminder New Year’s is for us to do as such.

Set goals, never settle.

Better yourself this year, and the next, and the one thereafter.

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20 Ways to Succeed in 2020

Start your year out the right way and gear up for long-term achievement! These twenty steps will help point your compass towards success.

1. Plan Your Day to Plan Your Life

Set aside five minutes each morning to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and set your intention for the day.

2. Ask The Right Questions

The quality of our questions has a significant impact on the quality of our lives. Make a habit of asking yourself things like, “What’s good about this situation?” and “What can I do to enjoy the process of solving this problem?”

3. Discover and Commit to Your Values

Do you know what’s really most important to you? Make time to reflect on and list your highest values in order of priority, elaborate on your reasons for including them, and place them somewhere you will see every day.

4. Use Your Frustration to Fuel Your Dreams

Feeling dissatisfied with something in your life can actually push you to do something about it. Harness this source of emotional energy to proactively improve your situation rather than let it get you down.

5. Ask for What You Want

It can take a great deal of courage, but you never know what you can get unless you ask for it. 

6. Join A Community of Shared Interest

Finding and connecting to people who share your passions can go a long way in helping you achieve your goals.

7. Close The Stress Cycle

Use things like exercise, meditation and engaging with loved ones to bring your body back to a place of homeostasis after a stressful period or situation. 

8. Change Your Vocabulary

Pay careful attention to the words you use every day, as these will shape your thinking and perception. Learn to approach and reframe situations in a more positive and proactive way.

9. Commit to Finishing What You Start

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a myriad of tasks, commit to concentrating on finishing just one or two for a set period of time.

10. Get Outside Every Day

Sometimes a quick walk around the block is all it takes for a fresh perspective.

11. Incorporate Play

Rather than using your weekends to catch up on work, set aside dedicated time for fun and adventure. You’ll likely feel much better for it come Monday morning!

12. Practise Self-Compassion

Create a vivid image of your inner critic and continually remind yourself that you need not listen to this toxic voice. 

13. Ditch Comparison And Competition

Remember that – regardless of what social media may suggest – none of us have picture-perfect lives. Stop wasting your time chasing carefully edited ideals.

14. Learn to Say No

Say yes to yourself, your success and what matters most to you by setting healthy boundaries with the people and activities that drain your energy. 

15. Confront The Cause of Your Worries

One of the first steps to conquering your anxieties is to become aware of the way that past events and memories could be triggering an unrealistic fear of the future.

16. Leverage The Power of Your Imagination

Take some time to visualise the best possible outcome to a situation before approaching it. 

17. Immerse Yourself in An Activity

Work to regularly achieve a state of flow by seeking out tasks and experiences that you know you find enjoyable and stimulating on a daily basis. 

18. Remember to Move

Even getting up for five minutes every half hour is enough to offset the negative mental and physical effects of sitting on an office chair all day.

19. Capture All Your Tasks, Ideas And Reminders in Trusted Collection Tools

The mind is for having ideas, not holding them. Make use of external tools like notebooks, apps, software and more to help free up your limited mental energy. 

20. Develop New Skills And Interests

Expand your personal horizons by learning something new or brushing up on the skills that will help you elevate your career and life.