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!


Getting what you want

Some people ALWAYS get what they want. I know a con artist who can charm and manipulate any man she wants, to get anything she wants, any time she wants. She’s got a whole arsenal – the smile, the pout, the sweet little kiss and the screaming fit. And she gets her way every time. We let her do it to us – we even say it’s cute. That con artist shall remain nameless, but I’m describing lots of people, female and male, in the population – people about four years old

I guess when you’re four, the world revolves around you. But fast-forward thirty years…. Now this person is your co-worker or your spouse. If she is still using that arsenal, still manipulating to get things her way, then there’s a problem. It’s a problem because she hasn’t grown up. She’s not cute now – she’s a whiny, insensitive brat. It’s a problem because it hurts people. She’s conniving and deceptive. She’s toxic.

Have you met men and women like our little friend here? I think we all have. It’s frustrating because like it or not, they often seem to end up winning out and getting their way. I’m not saying it’s bad to have things our way. To get things done, we’ve got to motivate people to act in certain ways. Sales reps want people to sign the contract. Managers want people to work hard. Leaders want people to follow. But there are several ways to do this – ways to get the results we want. In the next post I’ll take a look at three ways:  manipulation, persuasion and influence.