What’s Sapping Your Motivation? Find out!

Google the word “motivation” and you’ll get back over 265 million results. It’s a hugely popular self-help topic for at least one reason: motivation is difficult to sustain over the long haul. It needs to be nurtured by the right conditions, sustained by an environment that reinforces and energizes the activity you undertake to achieve your goals. Too often, however, we find ourselves in an atmosphere at work, at home, or at school that does the opposite. It drains our motivation and leaves us exhausted.

What kills or builds motivation will be different for different personality styles. See where you fit in the list below:

  • Delighted by Details – if this describes you, then one major drain on your motivation is being put in a position where you have to act before you completely understand the situation. You enjoy getting all the facts and comprehending all the implications. Until you’re satisfied that you know precisely what will happen as a result of an action, you’re not ready to make a move.
  • Like to Take it Slow – if you’d prefer a steady, even pace, then sudden changes in direction will sap your motivational energy. Interruptions and pressure cause you to shut down. You need an environment in which you’re allowed to take time to adapt to change. If change is forced on you, you may react with passive negativity.
  • Driven to Achieve – for you, the least motivational atmosphere is one in which you’re given direct orders without getting a “say.” You much prefer to be in control and in charge, especially in situations where your leadership can be recognized and appreciated. When you feel pushed and bossed around, you don’t shut down. Instead, you push back. The conflict quickly drains any positive motivation.
  • Loving the Social Life – if you’re a talkative, relational person, then what messes with your motivation is the feeling that you’ve been rejected. You enjoy developing rapport with others, giving and receiving affirmation in equal measure. The unexpected sting of being criticized or put down will deplete your positive energy.

 If you can relate to one or more of the behavioral styles above, watch out for the motivation-busters listed. If you can, try to insulate yourself from the negative influences that consistently weaken your resolve. Choose to spend time with people whose positivity has an uplifting effect on you. If possible, express your desire for a change in the environment. If you’d like more time to think through a problem, ask for it. Want more control and responsibility in a project? Volunteer to lead it. Sometimes you can’t escape or change the difficult atmosphere. In those cases, try to take the long view – remember that the pressure can’t last forever. Hang in there!


The simplest success plan – part 3


At the end of the last post, things looked pretty sad. It seemed like I had failed miserably. That’s when success skill number three kicked in. Something inside me said “don’t give up… do not give up!” There was one more thing to do. I went to every house where I’d left free samples. I knocked on the door, offered my business card, asked if they liked their papers, and asked them to subscribe. Maybe it was the business card…. Maybe it was the neatly folded papers…. Maybe it was this 4 foot 9 inch tall kid trying so hard to close a sale. By the end of the week, I had 40 subscribers. I called the Circulation Manager, and she sounded like she was going to cry. “Do you know how much you’ll earn every week with that route?” How much? “Twenty dollars, plus tips. And I bet you are going to get lots of tips.”

And she was right. I had more than $100 in a month or two, and almost always made $10 a week in tips. I was a success! So much I need to know about success, I learned in 5th grade. That’s when my hunger motivated me to become an achiever.

What do you hunger for? What do you want to achieve? I may not be smarter than a fifth grader, but here’s my advice:

Number one – set goals
Number two – have a plan
Number three – don’t give up… never, ever give up.

The simplest success plan – part 2


In the last post, I’d done some goal-setting. But goals aren’t enough, are they? Here’s where the number two success skill came into play.  If I was going to get a job, it wasn’t going to just happen. I needed to have a plan. And I did. I asked the paper if I could get 50 newspapers a day for a week, myself. My plan was to give people a free week of the paper and then ask them to subscribe. If I could get 25 to sign up, I could start my own route.

When I asked the Circulation Manager about buying papers, she said, “Young man, if you’ll deliver 50 papers for a week without getting paid a nickel for it, I’ll give you the papers for free.” Deal! My parents went along with the plan, but they warned me – don’t get your hopes up. I was at that age – still naïve enough to believe. When you believe in your plan, people want to help you. My Uncle Bobby owned a print shop and he printed me a free box of business cards: “KENNY GONYER – NEWSPAPER DELIVERY – 485-9320”

I was in business! Now I was going to work hard and do a better job than Ginger ever did. Every paper was neatly folded and left at the door, dry and safe. My houses got their papers early Saturday morning, before Ginger was even out of bed. Well, I worked for a week, then called to see how many people had subscribed. A few. Not enough.

Okay…. I cried. I’d gotten my hopes up and worked so hard, and all for nothing.

Continued tomorrow….