At the Simmons Group, we are lucky enough to work with the amazing Dreamers of the I Have a Dream Program of Southern Nevada. Recently, the Dreamers discussed the concept of personal mantras and inspiration. Talking to the Dreamers about what drives them to keep striving, overcome obstacles, and succeed in school and at home was an indelible reminder of the importance of motivation.
A quick Google search provides links to scores of studies that illustrate the positive impact that motivation has on workplace productivity. This much seems obvious – the more motivated the employee, the greater amount and higher quality of their work. So if we know that motivation is a major factor in driving productivity, why do so many of us struggle – individually and with teams we lead?
The short version is that the “what” is easy, it’s the “how” that’s hard!
For every study citing the importance of motivation there are at least 3 articles on motivation techniques. From tips and tricks to scholarly papers, it seems that everyone is looking for a way to motivate. The problem is, motivation is not a one size fits all concept. People are complex! It stands to reason that the things that drive us will vary just as much as our unique personalities.
So what can you do? Take a page from the Ancient Greeks. “Know Thyself.” In order to find true and lasting motivation you have to ask yourself one very simple, yet very hard question – Why?
Why do you do what you do?
If you can remember why you set down a path, it can help you to refocus on what is important about the work. Once you understand what drew you to your profession in the first place you can look at each task with fresh eyes. Even the parts of your job that seem the most mundane or uninspiring can have meaning when you recognize how they contribute to the greater mission. Even if you aren’t in your dream job, or even your dream career, approach each assignment with an eye on how it can impact your overall development.
Why is it important to you?
Companies and individuals use the word values quite a bit as a shorthand to describe what they are all about, but when was the last time you really sat down to think about what it is that you value? Having a clear understanding of your value system can provide a giant blinking arrow to your path to motivation and may illustrate why you are feeling uninspired. If you value the impact you have on others, assignments that focus on monetary gains may not be stimulating for you and can leave you feeling the desire to focus on anything else. Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, look at the task from a different angle. Understanding how the financial gain accomplished by a job well done will be used to improve the lives of your clients can give new meaning to your work.
Motivation is a deeply personal concept. Working with the Dreamers really helped to illustrate that point! Where some students chose a picture of their dream car as their personal mantra, others chose inspirational quotes or songs about what it means to be a fighter. No one choice is right or wrong – it is all about what helps them to remember what it is they are working for. Understanding what drives you is the key to finding your motivation. And a personal mantra can act as a great reminder!
Do you have a personal mantra? Or any tried and true tips for motivation? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.