We all have our own dreams of getting our passions out in the world. Whether it’s writing, starting a business, completing a degree, we all have that one thing we want yet don’t seem to have the motivation to get it done.
I’m not entirely sure how I have achieved what I have to date! So I chose to reflect and meditate on the concept of motivation.
At first, I wondered what motivation was and then how to keep it alive all year long, then the answer struck me…
So, what exactly is motivation?
We are all motivated by different things at different times in our lives.
You probably don’t like selling or asking for sales generally. When your bank account dips low, suddenly you are motivated, inspired and unstoppable in telling the world about your offers! (Yup, me too!).
Money though, according to Herzberg (mindtools.com), tends to be a short-term motivator. So as soon as your bank balance increases, you take your foot off the offer-sharing-accelerator and forget about money and motivation decreases.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (simplypsychology.org) there are five levels of needs to be met in order to keep motivated.
Once our basic survival needs of food and water are met, we are then motivated to reach the next step. Once that need is met we continue and so we move up the five levels until we eventually reach self-actualisation.
Great, we know the theory, what does that mean for us?
Let’s use an example.
You are inspired to light a bonfire. This is a great idea, you think to yourself.
Then you start working, get side-tracked, life runs away with you and before you know it the idea is lost in outer space. Months have passed and the bonfire idea has been completely forgotten.
The reason you have forgotten is that there is no real motivation to light a bonfire other than it being a nice idea.
Now, let’s pretend it’s a dear friend’s birthday. You are wondering what to do with her. Inspiration strikes and voila, you have an idea for a bonfire.
Before you know it, you are on the phone, enthusiastically organising and getting things done for the party.
You are motivated to organise the party as there is a clear outcome: your friend would be bowled over and guests would have a lot of fun. Plus your status as party-planner of note would be elevated.
It’s an idea that is worth the energy. You have a vision, some resources and so you put in the effort by taking action.
See the difference between the two ideas?
That’s great, but what do I need to stay motivated?
Having had a career in HR I’ve hosted a fair few firemen giving their fire safety talks. They all say the same thing: A fire needs three components to burn: fuel, ignition (heat) and oxygen.
Remove any one of them and the fire is out. A.k.a. The Fire Triangle.
In our example, the inspiration for the party is the ignition, the spark that lights the fire. The fuel is the amount of energy you (and those around you) put into planning the party, feeding the inspiration. The desire to make your friend happy and be seen as the party-planner of note is the action needed or oxygen in this analogy.
If one element is missing, you are all out of motivation. No party. No fire.
The yearlong motivational triangle…
So, to keep yourself motivated in achieving your dreams, yup, those things we mentioned at the opening of this blog, you need to have your motivation triangle in place:
The outcome you want to achieve is your vision (the ignition or inspiration), also the end result. Not money, rather the actual outcome: a healthy life, a thriving business and so on – like self-actualisation.
Keeping the oxygen flowing is remembering why you are doing what you do, the resources you hold dear and what you can actually do to level-up.
The mission or the actions that you take are the ‘how’s’. These are the fuel you put into achieving your vision to make it a reality.
Small actions are taken daily towards the vision and remembering your ‘why’… The more you feed your fire, the longer it burns.
Great, now share with me – what are you motivated to get out of the next 12 months? A book, health, travel… Sharing keeps you accountable.
Cheryl-lya is a Transition Strategist: helping women around the globe plan launch and grow successful sustainable businesses & careers. She is London based and runs workshops alongside one-to-one coaching. Contact her: call UK mobile 07527 303 911, or visit her website soulscompass.net Say ‘hello’ or share your joys via email: firstname.lastname@example.org