Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Ball Boy Lacks Motivation To Try Out Again

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been dealing with motivation issues at my summer job working as a ball boy at a tennis tournament. Recently, there has been a massive overhaul in the ball boy rules, and as a result, the tournament administration is requiring veterans to try out again. For some reason, I have no motivation to try out, and I am not sure if it is out of pure laziness, my fundamental disagreement with the administration, or if I no longer want to be a ball boy. Do you have any advice for how I can understand the reasoning behind my lack of motivation? -- Tennis Boy

DEAR TENNIS BOY: Sometimes when you are in the position of “veteran,” having been in a role for an extended period of time, it can be hard to accept that you, too, have to participate in change. Somehow you believe that you should be given a pass, since you already know the ropes. I get it.

But the reality is, you are not above the law of your job. You have to fall in line, whether or not you want to. To make it easier on yourself, recognize that you do believe you should be given a pass. That allows you to accept your personal view. Next, think about how important it is for your organization to make sure that everyone who fills this role should be capable. To ensure that and to exercise impartiality, the tournament wants everyone to pass the same test. You can embrace the new rules and become a leader on behalf of the tournament. As a veteran, tell the others that this new rule is a good thing, as it ensures safety and proficiency.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was promoted and given a bonus at my job, and I’ve felt a strong sense of imposter syndrome that I cannot shake, making my new role difficult to handle. What do you suggest I do or think so I’m less self-persecutory, and this adjustment can proceed more quickly? -- Imposter Syndrome

DEAR IMPOSTER SYNDROME: I recommend that you focus on each task at hand. Instead of worrying, which takes you away from whatever you are charged with accomplishing, make a list of your duties. Identify the skills you have that will aid you in completing the tasks with expertise, and do the work. When your mind starts wandering to doubt, resist the temptation to succumb. Instead, refocus on what you have to get done.

Another suggestion is to anchor yourself in gratitude. Instead of worrying about whether you are qualified to handle a task, count your blessings. You were given this opportunity because someone believes in you and your potential. Be grateful for that faith and trust in you, and use it to propel you to do your best.

If nothing works, consider visiting a therapist who can help you work through those disempowering feelings and free you to leap into your greatness.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)