Motivation comes in many guises, and what motivates you is likely to be completely different to what motivates someone else.
It’s one or an entire collection of reasons for acting and behaving the way that you do.
In our third podcast this season, we look at who and what motivates us, share how we keep it going especially when energy is lacking, and discuss how what we do impacts those around us.
Here are our tips for feeling better and thinking positively: after all, we all need a daily dose of motivation.
Make a plan
It’s essential that you know what you’re aiming to achieve. Plans don’t need to be detailed or carved in stone, but you need them to help identify long and short-term goals. Without a plan, a demoralising aimlessness soon sets in.
It’s OK not to have all of the answers upfront – or identified the phases needed to fulfil your purpose. Working through what your options might be and how they might feel soon unearths what’s really important to you. This, in turn, will drive the behaviours and activities needed to keep you on track to reach the end game.
Change of plan
Life doesn’t always go to plan – COVID certainly taught us that – so it pays to look at different ways of planning and always with some flexibility in mind.
Organise in ways that suit you best. For example 90-day seasonal planning. If you’ve identified your business or emotional needs are influenced by the seasons – where you work differently during autumn and winter than in spring and summer – then this approach is ideal.
Dial up or down your motivational prompts depending on what’s going on in your life at any particular point in time. So, in the depths of a cold dark winter, introduce triggers that boost energy, innovation and creativity which can often slump as the year draws to a close.
We all suffer moments of self-doubt. Worrying that we haven’t done something, overthinking situations or underestimating how long something takes soon becomes a demoralising downward spiral.
Alleviate this unnecessary pressure by ‘editing your choices’ (wise words taken from Matt Haig’s book Notes on a Nervous Planet). Whatever your role, discussing and agreeing on realistic deadlines and deliverables manages everybody’s expectations from the outset and keeps your morale on track.
Stop, look and listen
Accept the fact that, as human beings, we’re allowed to have those days where we feel a bit meh!
Time spent watching uplifting films, reading books or articles (see our resources list below) and listening to stirring music or people who inspire you are all great ways to pause and reset completely.
Whittle down overwhelming to-do lists into one big and three little tasks to achieve daily. Avoid procrastination by using post-it notes (they offer a satisfying scrunch when each task is done).
Revisit your raison d’être by re-asking those all-important questions. Why am I doing this? What am I trying to achieve here? And if the answers don’t align with your original goals and purpose then you’ve given yourself carte blanche to stop and start over.
For many, motivational quotes are just the pick-me-up they need to recover from traumatic situations or rediscover their enthusiasm. Finding and sharing these gems of optimism bring comfort and companionship.
Well-constructed words wield power (the pen is mightier than the sword), resonate with us on a deep level, and incentivise people to believe in themselves and try harder.
Science has proven that the body can shape the mind. We recommend Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on body language and then practising your own Power Pose. It only takes two minutes to discover – and adapt – what your body is communicating to others and, most importantly, you.
For an instant, powerful injection of motivation: Make yourself big with legs apart, arms on your hips, shoulders back, head held high, open yourself up. This stance raises your testosterone and lowers cortisol hormones – you appear strong, in control and feel less stressed.
“Our bodies can change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviours, and our behaviour changes our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy
We’re only human
Being able to motivate another human being is a complex thing. It’s a leader’s responsibility to frequently check in with their team: to find out what’s going on, that they feel connected, engaged and empowered – which leads to motivation.
Putting all of the pressure on leaders to be motivators isn’t the right solution. Often, when you’re managing a team, you can get bogged down with everyday tasks that you have to deliver. In order for you to help them, it’s important to step back, sense check.
Human skills are critical because motivation means different things to different people. In the virtual world that we’re in, it’s important that we’re more intentional with picking up the phone for a chat, going for a walk and talk, or chatting over coffee. Get to know people and be mindful that everyone has different motivational triggers. For some it’s money. Others just a bit of attention.
What are you grateful for? In your life, your work or the small happenings in every day? By looking for the things you are grateful for lifts your spirits just as any motivational quote does.
You’re not alone
Motivation is strongly tied into having a balance between work and all the things that we have to do in our lives.
Your family, friends, community or ‘tribe’ can be a constant source of daily inspiration. It is those we gather around us that keep us grounded, focused and provide balance. They help you set parameters around spending your time beneficially.
Ultimately, we have to be accountable and responsible for our own motivation.
How do you get motivated and how do you keep your motivation going, so you can achieve your goals and make an impact?
Mel Robbins: The 5 Second Rule The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage (Audio Download): Mel Robbins, Mel Robbins, Mel Robbins Productions Inc.: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Hilary Scarlett: Neuroscience for Organizational Change Neuroscience for Organizational Change: An Evidence-based Practical Guide to Managing Change: Amazon.co.uk: Scarlett, Hilary: 9780749493189: Books
Stephen Bartlett: Happy Sexy Millionaire Happy Sexy Millionaire: Unexpected Truths about Fulfilment, Love and Success: Amazon.co.uk: Bartlett, Steven: 9781529301496: Books
Matt Haig: Notes on a Nervous Planet Amazon.co.uk : notes on a nervous planet – matt haig
Matt Coates: 7 Types of Motivation 7 Types of Motivation You Need to Acknowledge – Mindvalley Blog
Simon Sinek: Soft Skills are Human Skills There’s NO Such Thing as “Soft Skills” | Simon Sinek – Bing video
Amy Cuddy: re power posing Amy Cuddy: Your body language may shape who you are | TED Talk
Brené Brown Podcasts – Brené Brown (brenebrown.com)