The Elusive Beast of Motivation

M otivation is a funny old beast isn’t it? Sometimes it rampages through everything you do, demolishing everything in its path, denying sleep whatever the hour. You cannot control it, it controls you! You find the motivation to get everything done and nothing stands in your way. You feel utterly invincible, electricity pulsing through your veins, unable to sit still and talking at ninety miles an hour to anyone who will listen. Motivation pounces and claws at every opportunity, every corner. It lurks behind every tree and thrashes its tail when you beg it to sit quietly for a moment and give you some peace.

At other times however, motivation is nowhere to be found. You call it pleadingly at first then commandingly. You hunt for it under sofas, behind rocks, up trees. You ask everybody if they have seen your motivation anywhere but they look at you as if you have gone slightly mad. Where is it?

Then there are the times when you have found it – but it is fast asleep. It simply will not get up. Motivation lies dormant, snoring. You can poke it, coax it, yell at it or attempt to heave it to its feet, but, no. It simply will not budge.

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking – William Butler Yeats

So what exactly is this beast called Motivation? Motivation is defined as either a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way or the desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm. So in this case we are talking about the latter: the desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm. It is this particular beast that changes in nature. Why is this?

I believe motivation is linked to other beasts: possibility, failure, financial reward or loss, integrity, love, adventure, security. These are just a few of its friends – or enemies. If motivation is playing with its friends then it is unstoppable, but if its enemies are around, forget it.

So how do you know whether you are working with its friends or its enemies?

Well, let’s be honest here. We don’t have a problem when motivation is playing all out, do we? So we’re really interested in who its enemies are. When motivation is absent or just asleep, you need to look around the issue. Has it run off because what you are trying to do frightens you and, therefore, it? Or is what you are attempting going against your integrity? Is your comfort zone being tested?

How do you switch your motivation from absent or dormant beast to the rampant driving force you need?

  1. Nurture it. Acknowledge that motivation has some enemies around it. Examine your values to see which ones are challenged by what you are trying to do, for example comfort, pleasure, security. The feelings that are surfacing and keeping motivation away are trying to protect you in some way, so rather than ignoring them, acknowledge there good intent but let them know that they are not going to stop you. (That sounds very new agey doesn’t it?!)
  2. Feed it. Find motivation some friends. Identify the reasons why you want to do this thing – in other words find it some friends. This may be identifying the values that will be met by doing what you are trying to do, for example taking care of your health, looking after your loved ones, building financial security.
  3. Coax it. Identify some rewards that will help tempt motivation out of its hiding place. There is nothing nicer than giving yourself, and it, a treat for a job well done or even started.
  4.  Shove it. Just do something! Anything! It will give motivation a good old kick start if you just start the process going.

Whatever it is you are trying to do, having the beast of motivation working for you is definitely the preferred option. I believe it runs deeper than just wanting to do something and that there are ways to find, build and strengthen motivation so that it works for you, rather than sleeping in a corner and making everything hard work. In short, I don’t think you have to wait for it to find you, you can go out and find it!

And if you need a little help finding out why your motivation has gone missing and how to bring it to heel, then please get in touch. I’d love to help so drop me an e mail or find me on Facebook