Some folk are marvellous at self-motivation – bless them, and some folk need other factors to kick-in before they can get themselves motivated. We are each unique in this regard, often choosing a blend of ideas to drive us.
What is often a miss-conception regarding motivation – is its source – where does it come from?
For many years the traditional methodology of ‘carrot and stick’ appeared to hold sway. There was nothing quite like the threat of losing your job – to cause you to work harder or longer. And on the flipside of that coin – a monetary reward, which in some environments, is still used to increase performances.
But in a 21st century world, it has become clearer and clearer, that this industrial age strategy is no longer sustainable. Neuroscience can also confirm that internal motivators far outperform the previous argument that supported the carrot and stick.
So, where does this leave us, as we wake up each day, in this very different, virtual lockdown world?
How on earth do we motivate, if those drivers aren’t in place? And what if we have those drivers, but can no longer access them?
For example. I like to jog; I find it provides me with the adrenaline rush from the cardio workout and a feeling of accomplishment on completion. A run motivates me, but in a lockdown world that’s no longer an option on my current palette.
As we are learning, with so many aspects of lockdown – we need to call on both our creative and emotional intelligences – to unlock our potential.
If we are in dire need of motivation, then we will need to get below the surface of our immediate experiences and dig really deep – down to where it all counts – down there inside all of us, where our values, beliefs and purpose reside. In that deep, wonderful and powerful subconscious that defines us.
Where and how do I begin this dive?
- Your story. Start journaling what you are thinking and feeling each day. Journaling is the only technology that allows you to see, and importantly record, what you have been experiencing. If you are consistent about this, then over time a richer picture of who you are, will begin to emerge. Valuable data that was previously hidden from you will now be present for you assess and determine which actions you may wish to choose going forward.
- Your values. Write down what your values are and explain how you live each of them. When asked about values, many people simply recite a list of corporate text. They talk of respect, integrity and trust. Yet when asked to talk about how they live those – they really battle to expand. It’s because they don’t actually know what their values are. If a value isn’t lived by you (with a high level of consistency) then it isn’t a value of yours. It may be a value you aspire to and that’s ok but if it isn’t demonstrated in your actions – it’s only a dream. In exploring your values, you are adding to that bigger picture of who you really are and as before, the opportunity to alter certain behaviours.
- Your purpose. This is the key piece of the jigsaw. If you have clarity and certainty as to your purpose then you will rarely require calling on motivation, because it becomes intuitive to you. In those moments of challenge, through the simple act of seeing your purpose – the obstacles fall away, the battery is charged and you are ready to perform.
Finding purpose? Many people ask how’s that done?
I believe Aristotle summed this up neatly when he said – “Where your skills meet the needs of the world, there lies your purpose.” Centuries later that still works for me.
It works because it causes us to look into two spaces. The first, what are your skills? Are there any skills you have forgotten? Are there skills you have devalued? The second, and crucially, where do these meet the needs of others? This outward focus, speaks to service. It asks what do I do that could be of value to someone else? What is it I can offer that will be beneficial to my community and the wider world? Some people find purpose in their work others in their communities, wherever you find it, there it is.
With a focus on service, we detach the needs of our ego, in doing so we express a genuine authenticity toward others. Being of service to others causes us to feel good, which further motivates because it confirms our self-worth and self-value.
If its motivation you’re after then there’s a fair bit to consider – and a great opportunity to delve into that wonderful being that sits inside of you.
Don’t be scared and don’t allow any doubt or negative narrative to block your path. If, as you undertake this discovery – negative emerges – see it for what it is, it’s only a negative, limiting narrative. It doesn’t hold you, unless you hold on to it. So, see it for what it is, acknowledge it, and let it pass on by.
Rather focus all your energy on building a broader, bigger more colourful picture of the vastness of who you really are. Mindful that this is a process, no wrong or right and there isn’t a deadline. Be gentle in how you consider yourself, we are human after all, not some perfect algorithm without fault or error. Build your discoveries consistently day after day. Before long you will start to experience subtle changes to your thinking, questions will emerge that weren’t there to you previously. After a period, greater clarity and perspective become noticeable and with that you will develop a sound confidence. You have begun to reveal the authentic self and you are acknowledging its true value.
Neuroscience suggests that new patterns or behaviours can be embedded and adopted within a 21-day period. Is that timeline familiar in any way?
Then, it would appear that now is the perfect time to embark on a discovery of self. To really empower you to a fuller understanding of the drivers that run the awesomeness of who you actually are. With this new found knowledge of what makes you tick you can and will begin to show up as a better version of your previous self, tapping into that unlimited intuitive motivation.