One of the questions I get asked a lot, “How do you stay so motivated all the time. Especially when you were trying to get accepted to CRNA school.
To be honest, there were definitely times when I felt like this would not be the path for me. But I would always go back to the feeling of joy at the thought of just being a CRNA. For some reason, my motivation and determination is always in overdrive. Especially when I put my mind to it. It is just part of my DNA.
But what happens for some after a few months, or even years of being on whatever type of journey they are on? You end up losing some of that will that brought them there in the first place. Now it just seems like everything you put into it was just a waste of time.
The first year of my CRNA journey was difficult because I was just finding my way and trying to figure things out. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to go from being a Surgical Technologist to an actual CRNA. Even when explained to me it seemed out of the realm of possibility. All I knew was I fell in love with the thought of providing anesthesia.
However, in 2014, I realized my desire to become a CRNA was still on my heart after 2 rejection letters. It was now or never. I was dialed in with an even greater sense of determination. It no longer became if I get accepted, it was when I got accepted into a CRNA program.
One of the things I kept coming back to during my own journey was “Why” did I want to be a CRNA so bad. It became apparent to me I loved everything about anesthesia. I loved being in the operating room, being challenged every day, and most importantly being a patient advocate at their most vulnerable time.
Being a CRNA also allowed me to provide a better life for those that depend on me- my family. Anytime I began to question whether or not I should give up being a CRNA; I would look at my “Why”. This is important to sustain you during those difficult times.
What does your “Why” look like
What does becoming a CRNA mean to you? Does it mean you will not be stuck on a job or in a career you hate? Does it mean you will not have to give up on your dream of being a CRNA? Does it mean you will not have any regrets later down the road? Does it mean you can stop struggling to make ends meet?
At the end of the day, think about what you lose when you give up on your “Why”. In my opinion, it all boils down to quitting is not an option, therefore you need to stay motivated.
The goals you need to set
Once you define your “Why” or “Whys” in my case, begin to think about your goals. I would recommend creating a list of short term goals, mid term goals and long term goals. Although I had goals, I didn’t always write them down. But if I did, my goals would be something like:
1. Short term goals: Obtain my BSN degree and CCRN certification
2. Mid term goals: Get 2+ years of critical care experience, pay off debt and/ or save money
3. Long term goals: Apply to nurse anesthesia school
Yes, these may be lofty goals. But again, remember this is a journey and not a sprint. Therefore, it is important to know your “Why” in addition to listing your goals and know completing your goals may not happen overnight. Obtaining your BSN and gaining valuable critical care experience, are both helping you get to your #1 overall goal which is to get accepted into a CRNA program. Also, you can work on as many goals as you want to as long as you complete them.
Creating S.M.A.R.T goals
You have probably heard of S.M.A.R.T goals. While writing down your goals, list as much detail as possible for each goal. If you want to become a CRNA, you need to set goals. In fact, when setting your goals be sure to write them down on paper so you can see them. Your goals should be very:
• Time bound
Also include action steps listing how you can achieve them. Make use of this downloadable action plan to begin defining your goals.
Be certain to “SEE” your progress
One of the ways I stayed motivated during my CRNA journey was by seeing goals being marked off as complete. Because sometimes it feels as though you are not making any headway. No progress at all.
Being able to “SEE” the progress you made will not only motivate you but it will sustain you throughout your CRNA journey. Are you staying in the pursuit to be a CRNA? Are you completing your goals in the allotted time? Sometimes your goals may not be completed in the time you had set or they can change all together. Therefore, your CRNA journey might change because the goals you set changed. This is ok.
In fact, I experienced this as well. Leaving ICU for a less competitive unit was not part of my original plan. It was definitely something which weighed heavily on me at the time. I knew a job change could really impact my desire to become a CRNA. Therefore, with each goal be sure to continuously reassess things as needed. Track your progress often so you don’t lose sight on your journey.
Continue to push and stay motivated
Now, take a break, sit down and define your “Why”. Next, begin to list your highly attainable goals. Yes, I said attainable because they are just that. I promise defining your goals will lead you to a plan to become a CRNA. Whenever you feel like you want to give up, look at your “Why” and list of goals.
P.S- This month I focused heavily on getting you motivated. But next month we will focus on budgeting and saving money. Because if you know me at all I am all about saving money and staying on a budget. It’s no fun relying on credit cards and borrowing money while on the pursuit to become a CRNA or whatever you desire. Trust me I would know.
Before we get started next month, check out my favorite blog, The Budget Mom. It will become yours pretty quickly as well. Talk soon!