Recently I had a real low in motivation, and it was pretty hard for me to put in the effort at work, which is something I do not experience often, so it was quite a bummer. Why? This is not something I would really want to discuss here, but to break it down: I had a few realizations about the company I work for and a few realizations about myself, which were tough for me to accept. And as it is: the first thing acceptance leads to is anger, disappointment and/or frustration. And I am not one to sit around in a situation I do not like. So there was one week when I almost felt like quitting. But then I asked myself: Do I want to just leave? Or do I want to stay and at least try to change something and thus learn about if I would be able to change things? The silver lining in the whole situation (yes, already now, only one week after): I learned a lot about motivation and this is what I want to share with you.
There are two types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation, which comes from within you. And extrinsic motivation, which you get from others or from the circumstances you are in. Luckily, the first kind of motivation is not something that is magically there or not. You have total control over your intrinsic motivation, because it depends on your mindset.
If you have trouble motivating yourself right now. This might help:
How do you motivate yourself in tough times?
All things are difficult, before they are easy.
Work with yourself / grow from or within the situation
Figure out what is frustrating you: Which desire is not fulfilled? What is it, that you need or want? What is overwhelming or making you feel helpless? What is blocking your progress? And then create a strategy: What can you do to help the situation? How could you contribute to the situation? Is there something you could learn, that would help you to handle the situation? What could be a first step in the right direction? And last, but not least, it always helps to ask: What can you learn from the situation itself? Taking a look at what is in our power and what we actually can do, changes our behavior from complaining (which is more of a victim to the situation attitude) to agency. Meaning being able to act and gaining control over the situation. And often really making a difference.
If it is not so much about you, but more about you struggling with being in a certain situation, then you might want to sit down and reflect on these questions:
Remind yourself on why you are there in the first place
- What is it, that made you get into the situation in the first place? There are ups and downs within every challenging project, and it is important to stick to a project through the tough times, to make it happen in the end. And it is an important skill to be able to push through and to be resilient.
- Is it a project that is close to your heart? Why did you start it? Is that ‘Why’ still important? Or did you lose track of it? What effect do you hope the project will have, ones it is a success? Is there a bigger picture that you could remind yourself of? We often lose perspective, when we get caught up in everyday life.
- If there is a purpose to the project: What could be a way for you to see / remind yourself of that purpose again and again? The right purpose is a major motivation factor, because it connects to your inner belief system.
If you cannot change the situation or your attitude towards the situation, there is only one option left: Leave. I am serious. Leave.
If you have no motivation at all, extrinsic factors only go so far and usually do not make you happy. You will not benefit from the situation. Others can feel that you are not motivated and will thus suffer from you being there. AND you could be doing something meaningful in the meantime.
How did I put this into practice?
As I mentioned, I am not one to sit around in a situation I do not like. So here is how I implemented, what I wrote above, for myself:
I asked myself what I was frustrated by exactly, and two things came up. First of all, I am not okay with some parts of the culture we are living in our team and company right now. And secondly, I was missing a few things personally. Luckily, these are things I am able to change. So I have decided to talk more about the things I do not like within our culture, but also to offer solutions on how we can approach it instead. This has worked quite well so far and the experience I make is, that most people feel the same way. As for the things I am missing personally, I have figured out strategies on where I could ask for it more, or do it within my free time.
Getting the biggest frustrations out of the way helped, but it was also not enough (at least for me) to feel motivated again. That is where the second point of this article came in. I originally came to Greator, because I love what we do. I can identify with our vision to help people to live their best lives, and I can identify with our core values. For me, it was (and still is) about helping people. Last month I got an amazing project, that we will launch soon and that will be important, not only for adults, but also for the generations to come. The potential this has, is huge! And I want to be part of this. I want to make this happen and make it happen the best way possible. This is not about me, but about the people that will benefit from this. About the lives that we can change. And this really motivates me, to put in the best work, I possibly can.
I hope this helped to give you an idea of how to implement the theoretical part of this article. And I hope you find your motivation and the strength to push through whatever it is, that you are struggling with right now!
All the best,