So, You Think You Can Motivate?

So, You Think You Can Motivate?

  • Do you, your team, or your organization need to overcome obstacles and deliver results?
  • Perhaps, are you having issues motivating your team? Or even yourself?
  • Do  you need to know how to find those elusive “hot buttons” that ignite people into action?

Until a few years ago, I would have answered “Yes” to all of these. Then one day I had an epiphany.

I cannot motivate anyone! Nor can you! It is impossible!

Yep. You heard me. You cannot motivate anyone. Well, except yourself.


Motivation vs. Inspiration

On Motivation…

Motivation is very personal and comes from within us.  Let’s look at the definition.

Motivation – mo·ti·va·tion n: the reason or reasons behind one’s actions or behaviour (Oxford Dictionary)

Whether it is the primal drivers for food and perpetuation of the species (as in migrating salmon,) or you simply want to provide for your family, the reason motivates you. There may be external factors, but the driver comes from within.

On Inspiration…

Now what you can do is inspire others. Inspiration is initiated externally. At its root, inspire relates to “breathing in”. Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as:

Inspiration – in·spi·ra·tion n: The process or quality of being inspired; a person or thing that inspires.

That is we must breathe it into ourselves first. Breathe in the inspiration and then use it, as the body uses oxygen, to help us to live and wilfully act upon our surroundings.

Inspiration precedes motivation.  You need to be inspired and motivated to inspire others to become motivated.

“I have a dream!”

No matter the audience, when I have asked for a show of hands those who could tell me exactly what motivates the people around them at work, rest or play, there has been very few or no hands up. A sad testimony don’t you think. No wonder there is such a chronic need today for effective leadership development!

Now think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. He inspired a movement that was motivated to bring about cultural change.  That inspiration came about because Dr King connected with his audience. He connected with them at an emotional and spiritual level.

Martin Luther King passionately told people  ‘I have a dream!’ He did say ‘I have a plan!‘” ~ Simon Sinek

He was giving them the vision that inspired them. The intention was to pass them the baton to make it happen.  As leaders know, or most of them anyway, they cannot deliver the vision on their own. They need help.

Share the Dream

So, for you to motivate another, you must first share the dream. Communicate it clearly, consistently, constantly and creatively.

Next, help your motivatees to understand their purpose as it relates to achieving the dream, goal or target. Help them to connect with it so they understand their part and how meaningful their part is in the achievement.

Help them T.E.A.M U.P.

Together Everyone Achieves More Understanding Purpose.

Key Questions

Here is a question worthy of some significant consideration. Ask yourself. Ask your team.

If we do this in sport, why do we not tend to do it in business or even at home?

Your role is to understand your purpose. It is also to help your motivatees to identify their purpose and how their role fits into the inspiring bigger picture. Do this and motivation is beginning to take form.

As the late Jim Rohn said, “When the why gets strong, the how becomes easy.”

First Steps

Now you might be asking how do you help your motivatees discover their purpose? Everyone is born with a purpose. It is hard-wired into their DNA. Everyone has strengths and gifts that will support that purpose. Regrettably, most people never discover their purpose, gifts, or strengths. There are some great ways to dig deep, but here are some first steps to get going.

Another couple of simple clarifying questions to ask them are:

What comes easy to you?

What’s your dream?

These answers will begin to enlighten you (and hopefully them) as to what those “hot buttons” might be.

Now there is a piece missing. Do the following and you and everyone else nearby will know what the “hot buttons” are.

  1. Once completed, request that your motivatee then obtain a picture that represents each respective Personal Goal and post it where they (and you et al) can see it easily and frequently e.g. a photo next to their phone, computer or car sun visor or an image on their iPhone or as a screensaver. This provides a constant reminder of “Why” they are truly there – for them and for you and for the rest of the team.
  2. Now, as and when required, you can hit their “hot button” and reinforce their motivators. Ask a question like, “So, how are you getting on to attaining that dream holiday?” to reconnect them with their purpose. Or comment, “Now that you have made this project so profitable, congratulations on your raise! Now you will have the down payment for that house.” You get the idea.

No Excuses

So now are you motivated? Go get some coffee, carve out some time, sit down and start working on inspiring others. Ask “Why?” “What?” “Who?” Ignite yourself. Then ignite the team. You will be glad you did. Oh…And please let me know how you get on.

Bookmark So, You Think You Can Motivate?

Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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2 responses to “So, You Think You Can Motivate?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention So, You Think You Can Motivate? « Linked 2 Leadership --·

  2. I think there is a level of extrinsic motivation, but as expectancy theory tells us: getting it right is very complex.


  3. Pingback: Steps to Being a Leadership Storyteller « Linked 2 Leadership·

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