Saby Mitra, Kim Kaupe, Fiona Barnes, Cameron MacMillan and Rachelle Antoine.
From left: Saby Mitra, Kim Kaupe, Fiona Barnes, Cameron MacMillan and Rachelle Antoine.

How do you stay motivated?

Some days are harder than others. Hard to get up in the morning, tackle your to-do list and get in a little exercise or family time. It’s in these challenging periods that you need to find a little motivation to keep progressing forward, but how do you do that?

We Are Warrington podcast host Andy Lord ends every conversation with Warrington business leaders about what they do to stay motivated. See their top tips for motivation below and check out the rest of their podcast episodes for more insights.

Saby Mitra

Dean Saby Mitra

Saby Mitra | Dean, Warrington College of Business

 “That’s a great question. Even though my role is mainly administrative at University of Florida, I’m still a faculty member. And I try to go back to the reasons I became a faculty member, which is to do research and to teach. And so even though my role is primarily administrative, and if you look at my calendar today you will see Zoom meetings pretty much every hour of the day.

I still do try to keep up on my research as much as I can. I think it keeps me fresh in my thinking and up to date on current business environment and thinking. I think it also breaks the monotony of a purely administrative role.

And I like writing. And usually, I take on the writing part of the research while my co-authors often do the more detailed analysis. I also like the challenge of explaining complex concepts in a clear way. And so, I love to be in the classroom. And while I’m not teaching right now, it would be good to be with students in the future. That’s really why I became a professor, to teach and to do research. And I hope to continue that even as Dean.

And then it’s also important to take some time to recharge. If you’re all about work, I think your work will suffer, and you will be much more productive if you have a few things that you do in your life that you really enjoy doing. So, for me, it’s reading, I’m into cooking, I love to road bike and be outside. And those are things I try to continue as much as possible after a busy day or during the weekends so that I keep myself fresh.”

Hear more from Dean Mitra in his episode: Will data and smart technology turn against us?

Kim Kaupe

Kim Kaupe

Kim Kaupe (BSBA ’08) | Founder, Bright Ideas Only

“I think what keeps me motivated is probably what keeps a lot of us motivated and the shocking answer to that is not ourselves. And what I mean by that is you can tell yourself you’re gonna go to the gym every single day, ‘Oh, I’m gonna have six pack abs, I’m gonna look like Brad Pitt, I’m gonna,’ but it’s really easy to cancel on yourself and to not go to the gym ’cause you’re tired, ’cause you’re hungry, because you have one more email to do and you don’t go.

And then of course you don’t have the six pack abs because you don’t go, and you ate the cookie and whatever. But then when a friend is gonna meet you at the gym, you’re like, ‘Oh wait, my friend’s there and that’s real rude of me not to show up.’ And then all of a sudden, you’re dragging your butt to the gym because your friend’s there. So, when I think about motivation, my biggest piece of advice and where my head goes first is you have to involve another human because you can say all day or I can say all day, ‘Oh yeah, I just like wake up and meditate, you know, motivate yourself.’

Again, going back, I’m secretly lazy. I’m like an undercover lazy person. I need another human and chances are if you’re listening to this, it would be helpful or you also need another human to keep you accountable, to check in with you, to make you honest. So, I would say what helps with motivation is tell other humans your goals, what you’re interested in, what you wanna accomplish so that they can at least ask you how it’s going. Period.”

Hear more from Kim in her episode: How do you stay motivated in the middle of a pandemic?

Fiona Barnes

Fiona Barnes

Fiona Barnes | Director, Management Communication Center

“Well, what keeps me going is, one of the things I think you’re referred to right at the beginning of this podcast is, I hear constantly back from students that I’ve had in the past and they thanked me and there’s no reason for them to thank me. Well, she moves with me given I’m not along to giving them a grade. And they say what they learned from my class and how it is stuck with them.

So, from the finance expert in Chicago who emailed me six years after being in the MBA program, to say that his top client, and a multi-multimillionaire said to him I always open your emails because I know they’re gonna be clear and focused and they’re not gonna waste my time. And then the students who rewrite their LinkedIn profile, do an elevator pitch and contact me and say, I got the job. And I know it was because of what we did in your course. It made all the difference. And that to me, I mean– it makes it all worthwhile.

Way back when I first started teaching business communication, John Kraft asked me to present and he was the current Dean, to present to the Warrington College Advisory Board. And I presented, and I used the term soft skills, which is a very common, and I think denigratory term for communication skills, leadership skills, team building skills, which I think are really, really important and the hard skills, which of course implies that they are more important and tougher, the technical skills.

Well, this top business leader came up to me after I had spoken and said to me, ‘You know what? I never used the term soft skills.’ I said, really? He said, ‘No, I have a different term. I talk about survive and succeed skills in my company.’ And he explained it. He said that what I do is I hire people because they have the experience or the technical skills to do the job at the time. But I warn them that if they wanna move up the ladder, they’d better develop the succeed skills. And those are the skills like communication skills, in particular, he emphasized teamwork, leadership, etcetera. ‘Cause he says, that’s what’s gonna make you a good manager or a good leader. And if you only have the survive technical skills, you’re not gonna move up the ladder.

That story really made an impact on me. And it’s something that I’ve seen born out with my teaching. I see the people who can communicate their ideas well and effectively move up that ladder and move up that ladder faster. So, for me, that’s a great motivation. I know I’m making a difference.”

Hear more from Fiona in her episode: How can I be a more thoughtful communicator?

Cameron MacMillan

Cameron MacMillan

Cameron MacMillan (BSAc ‘07, MSE ’09) | Co-Founder and COO,

“Goals. I touched on goal setting but I’m very goal oriented, and I just write down a lot of thoughts. Like I’ve jotted notes down during just this talk. So, I find every, you gonna to have a lot of thoughts, and I think a lot of those are crap thoughts.

But, and as an entrepreneur you’re often like passionate and impulsive and you wanna act on a lot of those thoughts, so I try to write all my ideas down and then revisit them, like, let them sleep, sleep on them for a day or two, and then maybe take a week off, think about it some more, and then is the passion still grabbing me like a week from now, maybe I’ll remind myself a month from now, and because there’s so many opportunities out there and then those ones that just keep grabbing me, then that’s where I’m like, hey this is an opportunity I wanna pursue. I’ll start establishing goals and long-term goals and identifying how to work backwards towards achieving those.”

Hear more from Cameron in his episode: Leading the way in fantasy sports.

Rachelle Antoine stands inside the globe of the Gator Ubiquity Statue

Full-Time MBA student Rachelle Antoine (MBA ’21).

Rachelle Antoine | UF MBA Full-Time student

“Well, I work out. I wouldn’t say I work out hardcore. I have really awesome roommates who are with me. And so, they are either runners and they go to the gym all the time. For me, I’m more of a low key one, but I would say I dance a lot. Dancing keeps me happy. And especially when things are not going right. I started this trend when quarantine happen, where I would go on a walk, I call it my dance walk. It’s super interesting.

But basically, I walk down, and I start dancing. I have headphones on, I have my dance playlist and I start walking, if I hear a good jam, I start dancing, no matter who’s watching. And I keep going. And there’s just a freedom to be able to do that outside. Not really caring, and it’s been really fun. I’ve had a lot of awesome punks or friends see me and it’s awesome. It’s really a lot of fun.”

Hear more from Rachelle in her episode: From classmates to alumni, relationships matter.

Watch out for more episodes of the We Are Warrington podcast with Andy Lord the last Monday of every month.