Why is motivation important? This is something I ponder on periodically. There are times when I think it is vital to achieving success and other times when I don't think it's important at all - in fact, I think we are told it's important. This is what I have come up with so far...
Is motivation important?
If you type the question above into Google, it comes up with a load of articles talking about employee motivation and how important that is to the success of the business. You find phrases such as "motivated employees lead to increased productivity" and "workplace morale and employee motivation go hand in hand". I find myself dying a little inside as I read them.
However, I do believe that motivation is important to our success. Motivation is a combination of our values, beliefs and our goals/desires. It's a feeling. When we feel like we have control of any/all of these then we feel motivated to do take action in some way. It can be something simple like getting up in the morning to a huge complex action like moving house. It's why understanding your values and setting goals is so helpful.
The feeling of motivation
Where I think motivation falls down is that we don't experience the feeling of motivation all of the time...and that's completely normal and it's OK. I think it's easy for us to fall into the trap of feeling like we should be motivated and therefore beating ourselves up if we don't feel that way. There are two kinds of motivation though, internal and external.
Internal vs external motivation
I posted a quote by Marilyn Ferguson this week:
I believe that motivation is an inside job. In the same way that I believe we cannot persuade someone else to change, I don't believe we can motivate others either. We have to motivate ourselves. I have experienced the feeling of people trying to motivate me before and can tell you that if I don't want to do something, I ain't doing it. Not for bribery or persuasion or guilt. I am a rebel like that. In order to be motivated to do something for someone else, I need to be able to see how it relates to my values. We all do.
When it comes to motivating ourselves to take action, I believe it comes down to seeing the bigger picture. [Warning: I am about to give you (another) running analogy.]
I set myself a goal of running an ultra marathon this year and went with my brother's #goagain challenge. That, of course, requires training and that requires a plan! To keep it interesting I sign up to virtual (and occasionally real life) races so that I have a mini goal - it keeps me motivated. How? When it comes to going for a run in the dark/cold/wet and late in the evening and I don't want to, I remind myself that really want to complete the challenge. Let me summarise that.
I don't always feel motivated to go for a run...I feel motivated by my internal value of challenging myself to reach my own potential (my big goal).
Sometimes motivation can come from external sources e.g. trying to raise money for charity...but when it does, it's because it taps into your values/beliefs/big goals.
So yes, I believe motivation is important for helping us achieve our goals. However, it's more than being a productive employee because motivation is a feeling that comes and goes at any given moment. We may not always feel motivated to take action, that's ok. Take action anyway. The feeling of motivation may come back, it may not. That's ok too. Motivation is innate within us and when we're seeing clearly and aligned with our vision and values, it appears. Whatever you are feeling; you got this.
My top three tips to stay on track with your goals would be:
- Understand why you set the goal in the first place
- Create a plan of action so that regardless of how you feel you know what you need to do to reach your goal
- Take action according to your plan. Check it off and look back on your progress. If it's not working, revise the plan, not the goal.
What are your thoughts about motivation?