They say ‘where is the will there is the way’!
How to find the will? The vexed question of life comes up time and again in my coaching conversations. My first answer, to men: if you cannot get motivated, your life is too comfortable. For women it’s little more complicated. And better discussed in another post later. Wait, where are you all going?
In this quest for motivation the first stop is, of course, the will or desire which is the engine of everything on this planet called Earth.
When I am after something I go through the same stages of forming and realizing desire as everyone else. Some people are more aware of it and some are more skilled at it, but the process is the same nevertheless.
There are seven stages trough which a desire comes true and watch for the number five!
First. My desire would be based on my understating of the core values – love, knowledge and eternity – they are universal for all, but I experience them depending on my own vision of the world and level of personal development. Let’s say, for one love means service, for another it’s mutual satisfaction for the third it’s personal gratification. And so on. First thing is to write down as many desires as possible and then gradually eliminate those that are not yours. Believe me there will be only few in the end! I figure, I won’t get any motivation if the desire is not truly mine.
Second. Then there is emotional connection to these values. Happiness, loyalty, enthusiasm, acceptance, love, and so on. Nobody consciously strives for bad emotions and feelings, so I won’t name them here. The formula is easy – I be happy, when I have something I want.
Third. After the emotional level there are intellectual and logical constructions. I process my emotions into logical conclusions of good and bad and categories of acceptable or not. For me it was a known path for many – I go to such and such university/profession – I get this degree/medal/money – I do something, I have something, I be someone then I be happy!
The fourth step is visual forms and imaging of the desired outcomes. (How many times we are caught by the commercials especially TV ones? A happy emotion is attached to a picture and voila I want that car/house/holiday!) But outside the consumer life if such ‘outside’ still exists, great leaders are famous for having a vision of future and conveying to others with the certainty described in the step below.
Fifth. After the vision is formed I move towards intention – which is defined as a certainty or belief of real possibility of the envisioned result. This is the most notorious part lacking when I discover ‘I have no motivation’ – which means simply I don’t believe something is possible for me and therefore I’ll stay where I am: on my sofa/old job with a cup of tea/bottle of bear, etc. This is where working with a coach comes at the strongest. If I don’t have someone who constantly believes in me (like my mother when I was a child), I need to learn to do it myself – this is what a coach helps me do – learn to believe, find the reason I didn’t. It’s impossible to engage in action the next step, if I do not believe it will be beneficial to do. I can do anything when I see the result is almost here. When I run that 5k and the sign says ‘almost there’ suddenly I sprint, when the cross channel swimmer sees the first sign of the land all of a sudden she has more energy. Marathons is not my cup of tea, as you noticed. The other great motivator is of course – imminent death, also known as fear, a deadline, famine and so on. Most of the time fear is just another form of belief.
Action is the sixth step in realizing desire, no action, no results. Starting small is the answer. Running is such an overused example but it’s because it is effective one, if I run five minutes for five days, on the sixth I am guaranteed to progress to ten and then build it more. The right action is also a big deal, I cannot dig and expect to swim, I cannot keep the shop when nothing is selling for 20 years, just because I’ve invested so much in it.
Seventh. Results. They seem to be dependent only on the actions I took or are they? Finally, the history of previous success helps to motivate me for more and persuade others to believe I can. The feeling of certainty!
So, when I lack motivation it means any one or more of these steps is missed:
- No will/desire or the desire is not truly mine
- I didn’t connect to it emotionally
- I did not form a logical construction
- I have not envisioned the outcome
- I do not believe it’s possible, (one of the most overlooked but most important!)
- I didn’t act or didn’t take the right kind of action! I have no record of previous results to motivate me for the future ones.
The pinnacle of the motivation conundrum is the lack of belief or that certainty that my efforts will be rewarded the way I want. Simply speaking, if I expect – believe – something is possible I do everything in my power to achieve it. If my expectation is low I do not have any energy to implement it, my activity level matches the energy one, of course, and the results follow the pattern.
There are two ways to get to the action for me nowadays. First is desire (the above seven stages of it) I find the task is possible and the result is near, and I do it. This is a great way to realize most short-term goals, as the results are foreseeable, and the prize is an identifiable shiny trinket as medals in sports and diplomas in education, material purchases and so on. As life gets further, most things become a long howl with blurred or not so clear signs of progress.
I pursued ‘I’ll be happy when’ formula relentlessly, especially in my twenties when my physical power matched any crazy idea of mine by supplying endless amount of adrenaline to charge into any action. But when it runs out I want to find an alternative way – ‘I’m happy whether or not’. I am to start with the feeling and not wait for it as a reward.
It is trickier at first but more liberating. If I find the way to disconnect my performance from the result I am free. E.g. I do it not because I believe in the great outcome but for the fun of doing it. Or if I do it because it’s the right thing to do whether the result shows up or not. I feel different kind of power in me steady and happy in the now regardless of tomorrow. And this is a whole new territory to learn in life.