How to Motivate People You’ve Never Met

SA SEarch.jpg

My search for a full time job several years ago was miserable. I was stressed, strained, and still had to work. Ya’ll know how real those grad positions can get. Then came the the two placement exchanges I attended. They did nothing to calm my nerves. I was a hot mess. What helped?

For one, getting a motivational message from @ResLifePuppy. It was a simple, uplifting message that kept me going. At some point I decided to give back in my own way. I reached out to other Student Affairs current/future professionals and offered to send them personalized emails. This thing took off. I’ve sent over 200 emails as of today.

Click here to sign up, if you’re interested.

Here are a few things that have helped make this ongoing project a success: 

  1. We’re Not So Different – The job search can suck. I know this. You know this. So, I took this common struggle and decided to do something about it: leverage genuine positivity and the power of email to make the search process a little less painful.
  2. Keep it Simple – When people are facing a problem, they don’t want more work to do. One thing that’s helped with my various kindness projects is simplicity and a clear call to action. This involves creating a simple Google form, designing an eye-catching logo, and posting the project in the midst of an captive audience. Then comes the waiting. Fortunately, folks have been receptive in various social media circles.
  3. Mean It – This the best piece of advice I can give anyone when trying to motivate others. Don’t be fake – as some of my students would say. Tell people what you’re offering and let them know a piece of your story. Let your story speak through the work you do. I care about others in their search process. I think our field is full of skilled people and fantastic positions. Why should they have to feel miserable when seeking other opportunities? The majority of people who signed up for the project, indicated that waiting to hear back from employers is the most stressful part of the search for them. Interviewing came in second. It makes me happy to know that I can be a part of making their waiting time a little sweeter.
  4. Follow Up – The #SASearch Motivation project began in November 2015. Emails went out shortly after. Today, I followed up with all participants to do a check in and to see if they wanted to continue receiving emails. Following up is especially important when it comes to being someone’s personal cheerleader. It’s not enough to tell someone: You Got This. You need to be there when they feel like they don’t have it, and discover how you can be a resource. That’s showing care.
  5. Say Thank You – Each person that reaches out for inspiration and a boost of morale, has – in a sense – invited me into something personal. They take the leap to trust me, be vulnerable, and take in my advice. They don’t have to do this. It’s special when they do. And it’s important to always show gratitude to those who reach out to me.

So, how can I make your search process a little better? Sign up here or drop me an email at



  1. Awesome! How do you manage your time to be able to facilitate all these special, “feel good” projects? Tell me your secret (:


    1. My secret: Canva for quick and easy graphic design, Google forms and sheets for mail merging and data organization, and Social Media for marketing. Most of the time goes into building the project and developing the idea. Implementation is pretty simple because all the interfaces I use are user-friendly. There isn’t much community engagement during projects (which I want to change) as people usually get what they need and move on. Maybe creating Facebook groups for projects will enhance community engagement once the projects get bigger. So the secret really is taking time on the front end, find ways to automate and make work easier, and then implementing without doing to much overthinking.


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