Have you ever noticed how one day you are on cloud nine getting things done with adrenaline coursing through your veins and the next day just making coffee is a chore? Unfortunately, motivation is an inconsistent tool for most of us to consistently master and as leaders, we really aren’t that effective at motivating others. Guess what? You CAN master and learn to consistently remain motivated. There is some strong science behind motivation and you can use science to bring consistency to being motivated every day.
Not long ago I read the book Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does by Susan Fowler. I was fascinated by her book. I have always been the manager who encourages people to reach for goals and perform. I would dangle “carrots” in front of them with sales or service contests. I was a ”rah-rah girl” and coaching my people without customers knowing it during a client interaction. I thought that I had the motivation and creating success deal down. Man, was I wrong. Susan’s book really opened my eyes to what motivates teams long term. It’s not contests, bells, whistles, and games… it’s more than that.
Susan Fowler’s follow up book Master Your Motivation – Three Science Truths for Achieving Your Goals is a book that everyone should read. Despite the title, the book isn’t full of scientific theories and hard to read tactics. It illustrates how we really don’t understand how to motivate ourselves and others. We have been fed some wrong information over the years. There really is a science to motivation and like any new thing that we try (like a diet), it is easy to fall off of the cart. You really can learn to master your inner motivation and skills to be consistently motivated and have tools to motivate others.
There are three scientific keys to motivate and thrive:
1. Choice: You need to feel like you are in control of your destiny and that no one is pushing you
2. Connection: Your goals must have meaning to you or be linked to those you care about. You need to feel connected to others and align your actions and goals to meaningful values and your desired outcome
3. Competence: You WANT to learn and grow, not have it forced. You should demonstrate effectiveness in all that you do and build skills over time. Always strive to learn on your own schedule
All of this will require a change in your own outlook before you can coach others. We should all identify what our outlook is, shift our outlook, and reflect on our outlook from time to time. Our motivation can be squelched if our outlook is one of disinterest, external, or is imposed on us. Our optimal motivational outlook should be aligned, integrated into our purpose, and inherent in everything that we do. When we reflect we need to be in the moment and remain in a state of mindfulness.
Your motivation needs to always align with your values. You are in control and remember to consistently be willing to shift your values and beliefs as circumstances change. Remember, “Not all beliefs are values, but all values are beliefs”.
If your motivation wanes it is because there are too many distractions for us to remain consistent. They include:
1. Materialism and being motivated for the wrong reasons
2. Searching for happiness in all the wrong places
4. Changing what is important
5. Not asking why or asking too often
6. Notice your energy and why it is changing
Master Your Motivation is a must read for leaders and anyone who feels like they are on a trampoline with their motivation. The “scientific truths” will resonate with you immediately. Susan offers a variety of effective tools, real-life examples of people who have mastered their motivation, and suggestions that you can incorporate into your life every day. Pick up this read today!