Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: The simple trick for motivating yourself when you don't want to go to work

The surprisingly simple trick to beat the "I don't want to go to work" blues
The surprisingly simple trick to beat the "I don't want to go to work" blues

Let's face it, not everyone wakes up every day excited about going to work.

In fact, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says when she started covering careers a decade ago, she was "stunned to discover how many people actually despair going to work every morning."

"I can't put an exact number on it," Welch tells CNBC Make It, "but it has to be upwards of 20%."

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

The reasons so many people clock into jobs they hate day after day, she says, are usually money, kids and "all the messy complexities that make life, life."

That's why, Welch says, anyone struggling with morning despair should develop and repeat a simple mantra "that digs deep and makes meaning out of your personal messiness."

"It's a thesis basically," she says, "that takes you out of the bed you'd love to stay in counting all the ways you despise your job and up to 20,000 feet for some clarifying, calming perspective."

For example, she says, your mantra might include one of the following: 

  • "I can't get where I want to go next without being here now."
  • "These are my trade-off years; they won't last forever."

Starting your morning with this mindset can have a huge impact on how you feel throughout the day.

"I had a mantra once, back when I was working 50-hour work weeks as a single mom with four young kids," she says. "It was, 'Stay the course,' which was shorthand for, 'This is how kids learn the importance of hard work and sacrifice; I'm doing this for us.'"

Those words, Welch says, got her through many difficult mornings and days — but they're not a permanent fix. "I'm not claiming a mantra suddenly makes your life perfect," she says. "It's a coping mechanism, not a cure."

And in some cases, she says, "a mantra expires," and is no longer a useful tool for "making sense of your circumstances."

When that happens, it's "actually a good thing, because if your mantra has expired, your alarm clock is a literal wake-up call" that signals it may be time for a new job.

But until that time comes, Welch says, "let your mantra help you rise and shine. Repeat it to yourself with every sound of your alarm. It has the power to change your frame of mind, and the day ahead."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at

Video by Claire Nolan

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