Motivation is the spark…

Motivation is the spark, discipline is the fuel, action is the fire

One of our favourite coaching topics this week: Motivation.  In performance coaching sessions, we regularly hear: “I just don’t feel motivated at the moment”… or… “I wish I could find the motivation to do it”. How often do you find yourself saying something similar?

There’s no doubt that motivation is key when attempting to enact change or elevate performance, it truly is the spark. But often, that’s all it is. Plus, if all we have is the spark, it’s got to keep on firing to keep us going!

But, how do we find ‘the spark’, the motivation, when we don’t see it? In this virtual coaching, we’ll investigate where it hangs out, as well as how to create a consistent fuel source that moves us to action. But first, a hero story:

Picture the enthusiasm of the business leader, consumed by a vision of creating something unique and spectacular. They jump into action, driven by the adrenaline of their vision. Days turn into weeks and months, and then, faced with the realities of challenges, setbacks, and uncertainties, their motivation naturally begins to slip.

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

When their motivation begins to slide, they remember the importance of discipline, and a plan steps in. They overlay their plan, their ‘how to’, outlining what needs to be done, how often, and by when. The plan helps them to deploy focus and discipline, as well as outlining the WHY reminding them of their goal, and the choices they have made. That each step, however small, is still a step forward. Urging them to make small progressive steps routinely, regardless of how they feel.

Whether your plan is scruffy or intricate, it doesn’t matter, just have one!

Their new-found discipline and inner strength propels them forward, towards action. Even on the tricky days, when self-doubt and excuses kick-in, they take relentless action and….the vision becomes reality. THE END!

Self-discipline takes us from ‘intention’ to ‘action’

The story sounds good, but it also sounds way too easy. If it were that simple, we would have achieved our ambitions a long time ago.

Let’s look at the three critical elements that underpin this success story:

Where does the SPARK come?

  • A spark is generally the result of a moment of clarity – from reflection and thought, challenge and debate, or emotional connection and inspiration
  • Motivation feeds emotional elements such as autonomy; validation of identity or beliefs; ego and self-image; fear or protection
  • Motivation is always the active trigger point for desire and reward, or avoidance and consequence

How do we move from SPARK to DISCIPLINE?

  • Make sure your goal and objectives are clear. Focus on input and the output will come, e.g.”I want to write consistently”, rather than simply “I want to write a book”.
  • Make a plan; start small; develop habits quickly to gain confidence in the process
  • Be accountable to others, not just yourself
  • Prioritise, to avoid distractions and temptation
  • Know yourself – when are you at your most productive?
  • Plan rewards, to help you navigate the challenges ahead. Make the rewards more desirable than doing nothing, and staying ‘safe’

How do we move from DISCIPLINE to ACTION?

  • Avoid being hijacked by the inevitable curve balls – engage in risk analysis and contingency planning
  • Stay agile. Resilience doesn’t mean simply ploughing on in the face of adversity, be nimble and dynamic
  • Plan breaks and rest to avoid staying in first gear
  • Review milestones and progress regularly to maintain an active mindset
  • Remain the architect, not the victim. Know when external forces are beginning to take the lead
  • Re-engage with your WHY regularly to ensure that priorities dictate your schedule, not vice-versa

Discipline will take you to places where motivation can’t

You’re In Cool Company

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