We all have days where we are stuck for inspiration. We get to our desks with nothing but good intentions, but somehow things don’t just flow the way we want them to.
It isn’t that we aren’t enthusiastic about what we do, or that we just can’t be bothered. We just need that little kick of motivation to get going.
If you want to get things done, then the ability to motivate yourself (and, for that matter, others) is essential.
Recently I spent the day at Brands Hatch watching the British Super Bike meet. What fantastic racing (and a great spectators circuit if you haven’t been), and it really got me thinking about drive and motivation. These guys — some of them as young as 14 years old — push themselves and their bikes to the edge of their potential, race after race. And even after a nasty crash, the grid reforms…and off they go again. Surely, there are lessons here for us all.
I am always inspired by the guts, drive, and determination that these riders show. A desire to finish at the top of the podium.
But it’s how they get there that I am most interested in.
In our businesses, we all want to be at the top. We want to be successful, and we want to realise our potential. So, when that familiar feeling of “what shall I do now” hits you, take a minute out to think things through.
Tips for improved self-motivation
Here are some of my thoughts and tips for improving your motivation, to take you from an “also ran” to the top of the podium.
1. Clarify your goals
This is one of the most important of all techniques to apply if you want to succeed. Clarify what it is that you want, and why you want it. (Unashamedly stolen from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits – Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind).
If you don’t know what you want, then how are you going to achieve it?
Sometimes we are stuck for motivation simply because we don’t a clear picture of the end result and, thus, the steps on the way there.
Once you have the successful outcome in your mind, you are well on your way to building the motivation to get there.
2. Think Long-Term
Thinking of the long-term is a great way to overcome the small obstacles on the way there. Often in executing a long-term strategy there are hardships on the way. By looking past these and at the long-term picture, they can often be overcome quickly and easily.
If you wait and procrastinate further, these will become harder and more difficult to get past. Think of how great it will feel to have gone past the hard stuff. Get them done and out the way. Or, as Brian Tracy would say “Eat that Frog”.
3. Celebrate the small wins
Take time to enjoy the good stuff, the small victories you experience on the way. Set some milestones for you to celebrate when you get there.
These milestones are a great motivator in themselves, very real evidence that the long-term goal is being achieved and moved towards. Celebrating your small wins is also a great way to renew motivation providing you with positive feedback and reinforcing your good behaviours so far.
4. Reassess and readjust on the way
If you keep hitting walls, maybe it’s time to reassess the situation…and perhaps plan an alternative course. Continually coming up against the same obstacle can be very “de-motivating”. Readjusting your strategy may well be all you need to get past and get on. After all, there’s “more than one way to skin a cat”.
The end result is the key here. How you get there could come from a number of directions. Just because you planned one way, doesn’t mean that is the only way.
5. Evaluate (and re-evaluate) your goals
As you start to get closer to your end goal, take time to evaluate the outcome you are trying to achieve. It could be that once you are able to see the finishing line, it’s not actually the result you want. It may be that now that particular outcome is not as important to you as it initially was.
Evaluating your goals ensures that you are heading toward something that you really want. If you are lacking motivation to achieve your goal, it may well be that it just isn’t as important to you as it once was. It isn’t possible to give your best to a result you are not interested in achieving.
6. Don’t be afraid to change direction
If more businesses were better at this, they would be much better set to overcome the obstacles we all experience in our business lives – e.g. working through downturns and tough markets, changes in fortune and the inevitable changes in customer needs.