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In need of a bit of motivation? This might help.

Motivation – the thing that gets us going and keeps us going.

Self motivation is a great skill to build and it contributes to self actualisation, one of the components of emotional intelligence. You need to be able to generate your own motivation if you’re going to do what’s necessary to get your goals.

Being able to generate motivation at will is also very helpful when procrastination and overwhelm show up.

So here are a few things that I use to generate motivation. Perhaps they’ll work for you too. You might also want to think about using some of them to help motivate others.

  • Motivation direction - try them both!

  • Your personal 'call to action'

  • Tap into your values for motivation

Motivation direction – try them both!

Imagine you're a donkey for a moment and someone wants you to move.

Are you mainly motivated to move by

  • the promise of getting a carrot - "Toward" motivated ? or

  • avoiding being hit with a stick - "Away from" motivated?

And if the answer's not obvious or you want to check, here's a little exercise to help.

Think for a moment about something that you’re already really motivated to do.

  • Write down all the reasons you are motivated to do it, until you can’t think of any more

  • Now have a look at the language that you’ve used

  • Do you focus more on the

    • Good things that will happen once you get it? or the

    • Bad things that you will avoid if you don't get it?

  • Your motivation direction preference is

    • "Towards" if your focus is on getting the good things, and

    • “Away from” if your focus is on avoiding the things you don't want.

It’s good to know what your preference is, as if you use too much of the wrong language you’ll destroy your motivation, but the right language will have you digging in and forging ahead, to get your goal.

A quick example of this in action…

My motivation direction is towards and my husband is away-from motivated.

When we first started playing golf together as a team of two, the difference in motivation directions and the impact of that became very clear to me!

When things were getting a bit tight in a match or I had a difficult shot, my husband started to use his “away from” motivation language to try and help me. “Come on Mary, you don’t want to gift them the match. You don’t want to walk off the course feeling like you didn’t give it your best shot” and so on.

All that did was irritate and demotivate me. And my “Come on, we can do this” language had the same effect on him.

As you can imagine, we had some discussion about this and we’ve now figured out the language we need to use for each other. What to say and not say, so we motivate rather than annoy each other!

So find out which way you are motivated and phrase your internal pep talk appropriately.

I also suggest you come up with some toward and some away from phrases so you can use whichever works on the day. Sometimes, how we are feeling will change what works best.

And remember, if you’re using the wrong language you may end up de-motivating which is worse than saying nothing!

What's your personal "call to action"?

What do you say to yourself just before you finally get out of bed in the morning?

If the phrase doesn’t come into your mind immediately, just make a mental note to check for the next few days.

You’ll probably find there is a common phrase and you actually use it more than you’ve noticed.

For example, mine is “Right then”.

  • It’s the phrase that gets me going when I don’t necessarily want to.

  • It’s what gets my feet on the floor in the morning, and

  • I use it when I really need to stop faffing about and push myself into getting on with something.

What’s yours?

Tap in to your values for motivation

This is really key to motivation.

Our behaviour is driven by

  • Our purpose - what we exist to do

  • Our identity - who we believe we are or want to be, and

  • Our values - what’s important to us.

They also drive what we believe about ourselves and the world, and the capabilities that we develop (find out more in my blog: Are you acting 'on purpose').

Answering the question ‘what is my purpose?’ or ‘what is my identity?’ to find something to use for motivation can be a bit tricky.

Asking ‘what’s important to me about...?’ is much easier and the answers we get are our values.

If we can tap into what’s important to us, it will drive us into action. We’ll feel motivated.

Let’s look at this in relation to what you do for money - your job, career or business. Pick whatever word feels right for you.

Think about what you do for money and ask yourself "what’s important to me about my job/career/business".

  • Write down all the words or phrases that come up in answer to that question until you can’t think of any more.

  • Think about what would make you leave your job and write those things down too as they often indicate what’s really important to you. “If I don’t have this important thing, I just couldn't continue doing that”.

  • You might find that some of the things you’ve written down ‘cluster’ or are different ways of describing the same thing.

  • Go through and adjust them until you have a more succinct list.

People normally end up with about 10 maximum after doing that.

It’s then a good idea to rank them in terms of importance.

  • If you could only have one of those in your job, what would it be?

  • If you could have just one more…

  • And so on.

If you can satisfy your top 3 values, you are likely to be happy. Something to think about and aim for...but how?

When it comes to motivation, the trick is to link what you need to do to one or more of your values. Approach your task in a way that satisfies or feeds those values.

For example

  • If people are really important to you, how can you link what you're doing to how it will benefit the people that are important to you.

  • If having fun is really important to you, how can you make what you need to do feel like a fun game?

  • If using your creativity is important to you how can you bring that to the monthly reports you need to create?

And so on.

Many of us have "making a difference" or some variant of it in our top three values and we each satisfy that in a very different way. If your motivation is waning and you remind yourself of why you do what you do and the difference you want to make, you’ll feel more motivated to get on with the task in hand.

If what’s really important to you is to provide well for your family, then keeping that in mind will help you find the motivation to carry on and do the things that you may not naturally want to do at work.

The same goes for any other value.

Keep your list of values handy for when you need a boost of motivation.
Find a way to apply your values to what you’re doing.

As with everything, some days one value might work better than another. Just throw everything at it and see what works best on the day...

Use your values,
phrased in a way that matches your motivation direction,
add your personal call to action at the front and
you’ll be on to a winner!

Right then, I’m going to finish this blog so that I can release it into the world and help people with their motivation!

If you’d like to like to explore how coaching can help you increase your motivation and job satisfaction, then please book a free call.

And if you'd like to try out my monthly emails that provide a roundup of my blogs as well as other insights, you can sign up here.

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