Staying Motivated

Staying Motivated

Motivation – The general desire or willingness of someone to do something

As most of you know, I believe very strongly in – and have written a book about – the power of emotional intelligence. EQ is the basis for so much of what I do in my coaching work, and sharing it with others gives me great satisfaction — because as people begin to understand its power, they start to tap into their own EQ and I get to watch them grow. It never gets old! And the great thing is that EQ is not a set number, as IQ is believed to be. Everyone has the ability to improve their EQ over time.

One of the five dimensions of EQ is motivation. In The Power of EQ, I state that
“Motivation is a passion to work for reasons beyond money or status, demonstrated by a tendency to pursue goals with energy and persistence, and a strong determination to meet or exceed a standard of excellence.”
If you read those words carefully and slowly, I have probably just described what many of you aspire to. But sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated, especially if external factors are not supporting your efforts.
Most people only have themselves to rely on to stay motivated on a regular basis. Although we may be lucky enough to have the support of a spouse, boss, friends, relatives and clients, being truly motivated – on an ongoing basis — is something that comes from within. And sometimes, we just don’t feel it, and we have to dig deeper to find it.
Real World Motivation
In the retail world, for example, staying motivated is a critical success factor, and salespeople in particular can’t afford to have too many “off” days. A personality trait most salespeople have is a strong need to achieve, which is where they get much of their motivation, in addition to compensation and other external factors. I think most of us have a need to achieve, but depending on what we do for a living, we may not have to keep that need quite as close to the surface as sales people do. Regardless, in order to achieve whatever it is, we mustn’t let our motivation retreat too often or for too long.

But How Can I Stay Motivated? What do I tell my clients who need help staying motivated? One suggestion is to consciously think about or write down whatever they’re grateful for. A gratitude list is not the answer to everything, I know, but it helps keep things in perspective. I recommend it especially when fear or perfectionism is stopping you and you find yourself procrastinating.  Think about all that’s right with your job and your life and maybe whatever has you stuck will become less important.

Something else you might try is to look at some of the  videos on my website for some quick inspiration. Getting out of a Funk or Prioritizing Your Time might be helpful.

Some of my clients have told me that when they are feeling less motivated than usual, they sometimes employ my Time Management Tool as a way to put one foot in front of the other. The idea here is simple. Do something. Keep moving.  My ABCD list has proven to be helpful to many of my clients, and even to me! Just the act of thinking through each task, writing it down and having a visual reminder of your priorities can help motivate you.

When you really don’t want to work on a particular task, dedicate just 5 minutes to it to get you started. Set the timer, and promise yourself just 5 minutes. Often, starting the task is harder than actually doing it.

One of the factors that seems to affect our motivation is losing site of the goal. Everything you do in life is done to reach some sort of goal. So, take a moment to remember WHY you are doing what you do and you may feel inspired. Maybe it’s to provide a nice life for you and your family, or so you can retire successfully. Or, perhaps you do what you do because you want to make the world a better place – whatever your reason is, focus on it and you may find yourself energized.

Getting Unstuck
If we are not feeling motivated, we are usually feeling “stuck”. Doing any of the things I’ve suggested will surely help move you along, at least to some degree. But if you find it harder and harder to stay motivated, I suggest you take one giant step further and find yourself an accountability partner. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will get from Point A to Point B and beyond, simply by telling someone you trust that you’re going to do something. Human nature says that whether you tell a coach or a friend or a co-worker, you’re just more likely to do it when you’ve told someone you will.