motivating the whole you

Motivation can be an elusive thing, especially when we need it the most. Too many factors can attack our motivation, the biggest two being distractions and emotions. In today’s world of ‘shiny things’, we have constant distractions from our smartphone alerts to that new app we just downloaded, or the ever-addicting world of social media. For a quick way to get motivated in spite of all the noise around us, check out my earlier post on how the Driver energy can help overcome distractions.

The emotional factor that zaps motivation runs much deeper and thus requires a deeper approach to overcome. Our emotions play a major role in our day-to-day, or sometimes minute-to-minute, motivation. This can have huge implications on how engaged we are in our work, in our ability to problem solve, to think creatively, to collaborate, or to just get stuff done.

The irony I must share is that I intended myself to write this post days ago. I had the title and concept ready to go and then received bad news which greatly impacted my emotional state and zapped my motivation. I even said to my wife yesterday, “I have no motivation to write this blog post about motivation.” Oh irony, how I loathe you! “Well, you have a great opportunity to try your motivation activity and see how it works.” She promptly responded, and perhaps the only reason you are reading this post at all is a result of me taking her advice.

The problem with most attempts to get motivated when dealing with this emotional factor is that they are partial approaches, motivating perhaps only one or two aspects of ourselves. Nothing is more de-motivating than a failed attempt at getting motivated! Imagine instead an approach that motivated our whole selves. Research on personality has shown that there are four fundamental needs/drives that have to be met for us to be fully motivated. We saw how these needs showed up in creating a climate of engagement in a previous post. These needs directly correspond with the four energy patterns as measured by the FEBI, so we can use this frame to help us get fully motivated.

Here is how…

Real motivation starts with connecting more deeply with the thing you are getting motivated to do. What larger picture is this activity a part of, what is the purpose of your work? If there is no purpose, then perhaps your lack of motivation is telling you a deeper truth. The energy pattern that can support this first step is the Visionary, so enter this pattern first to start with motivation as big as the Visionary energy. Once you are connected to purpose, it’s time to hone in on what to do so bring up your inner Driver to gain clarity and focus about what needs to get done. Knowing what to do is good for short term motivation, but if you want lasting motivation you will want to make sure to track your progress. The Organizer pattern can help with this by setting benchmarks, tracking progress, and recognizing success. Now you’re ready, and hopefully motivated, to get to work. Here is where the last piece of the puzzle comes into play. When performing, find ways to bring in the Collaborator energy pattern. The rhythm, engagement, sociability and sheer joy of this pattern can make whatever you’re doing feel less like work and more like play.

Having just used this formula, I can tell you that taking the extra effort to become wholly motivated can make a huge difference. So next time you are struggling to get motivated, don’t settle for a half measure, motivate your whole self.

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