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  • Carla Collis Gesite

How to Get Back on Track When You're Not Feeling Motivated

At the beginning of the year, you were gung ho about your goals. Couldn't wait to tackle them!

Somewhere along the way, though, you lost that enthusiasm.

And you're not making the progress toward your goals that you'd hoped.

You want to give up on them. Please don't!

We'd like the journey toward a goal to be a straight line, but it seldom is. Oh, we'll stay on course for a while. But then we get distracted and feel discouraged and lose our momentum.

It's all part of the process.

Ok. That's all well and good, but what can we do to get back on track?

Simon Sinek, a top leadership guru says to start with "Why." Link to his Ted Talk:

Examine Your "Why"

When your motivation wanes, go directly to your Why. Go deep with it:

  • Why did I set this goal?

  • Why is that important to me?

  • And why is that important?

  • And why is that important?

You want to get to the root of your Why, the ultimate benefit of achieving your goal.

Once you do, ask yourself,

Is my Why big enough?

If yourWhy isn't truly compelling, you're not going to be committed to your goal. Because it's easy to find excuses when we don't want to do something, isn't it?

Once you examine your Why, you may decide it is big enough. In that case, focus on keeping it at the forefront so you'll keep the momentum going.

Or you may decide your Why isn't big enough.

In that case, either rework the goal or abandon it altogether -- because, otherwise, you're not going to be motivated to reach it.

An Example

When a client commits to an action but consistently doesn't follow through, we revisit her Why. Maybe it's a goal she doesn't truly want to pursue. Perhaps it's something she believes she should do but isn't ready to least for the time being.

Take Amy (not her real name) for example.

Amy wanted to ask her boss for a promotion for over a year. But fear kept getting in the way. So...

  • We talked about the many reasons she deserved a promotion (repeated outstanding reviews, new responsibilities she'd taken on, client reviews, etc.)

  • Amy researched the average salary for people in similar positions within her industry.

  • She created a dashboard depicting her most important contributions.

  • We role-played various scenarios to prepare her for meeting with her manager.

She set a meeting with her manager to talk about a promotion. We were both so excited!

And then...She didn't pull the trigger. She didn't even bring up the topic of promotion!

We re-grouped. And Amy decided to bring up the promotion at her annual review meeting.

They met and, once again, she didn't follow through.

Amy had seemed so motivated, confident, and excited about the plans we came up with. And I had no doubt she was going to secure her promotion -- and soon! So, what was getting in the way?

I suggested she revisit her Why. The conversation went something like this...

  • Why did you set this goal?

My title & pay should be in line with my responsibilities.

  • Why is that important?

It's the right thing for my employer to do. I only ask for what's fair.

  • And why is that important?

It shows they respect me and what I do.

  • And why is that important?

Who wants to work for someone they feel disrespects them?

I deserve to be respected and compensated for what I do.

  • And why is that important?

I want to be proud of what I do and where I work.

When I do, I'm more motivated. I do better work.

I enjoy my work more. I'm happier.

Amy was so focused on not being compensated fairly that she lost sight of the real reasons she wanted her promotion.

Her ultimate why? She wanted to do great work, enjoy it, and be happier, in general.

With that as her focus, she felt more confident and motivated to ask for the promotion and raise. She asked for it, received it, and was all the better for it.


Next time you find your motivation waning, take a good long look at your Why.


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