The importance of motivation

In my line of work, one of the aspects that often comes up is the topic of motivation. As a speaker, or in coaching and training sessions, I’ve found myself talking to people about how to motivate themselves as well as others. And there’s good reason. Leaders play a key role in motivating their teams so they can perform and be at their best. Leaders who are self-motivated tend to inspire and motivate people around them more effectively. Their focus, their energy, their thinking, rubs off on people, and it can be infectious.

Whether you are in a leadership role or not, being able to motivate yourself is extremely important. So that you are able to focus and excel in your tasks, achieve your goals, face challenges, learn new things, take in new experiences. For some people, motivation comes easy, for some, it doesn’t. Especially in difficult times. And that’s what this article is about- gaining insights on how to motivate yourself in difficult times.

First and foremost, what does a difficult time mean? It can mean different things for all of us. It could be having a bad day at work; it could be when you are faced with a few problems; it could be when you aren’t feeling too well- physically or mentally; when there are too many things to do and you are not sure where to begin. Whatever comes in the way of you being, feeling and operating at your best.

Whatever is your understanding of a difficult time, motivating yourselves can seem like a massive task during such a scenario. Then again, that is one of the biggest challenges in life- to lift yourself when things aren’t going well. Your ability to do so is key to your success and growth, and to be able to lead and inspire others as well.

It all begins with developing a mindset, that serves you in the trickiest of times. Without the right mindset, staying focused and doing your best can be hard to achieve even in the best of times. On that note, we look at approaches that strengthen your mindset, which empowers you to motivate yourself in any situation.

1. Your Purpose:

Take a moment and reflect on the purpose of motivating yourself in that situation. Our purpose is what drives us and fuels us to keep going, especially when times are tough. Having a clear purpose is key to staying focused and not holding us back. An analogy that comes to mind is that of a lawn mower. For a lawn mower to fire up, it needs a spark plug. Without it, the mower wouldn’t even start! Similarly, being clear on our purpose fires us up, and it helps us to surge forward, in the most difficult of times.

So next time when you feel stuck, remind yourself of why you want to move forward, and what it would mean for you. It can make a massive difference!

2. Self-talk:

A lot of how you go through any situation comes down to what we tell yourself. Do you question yourself and your ability to come good, or do you back yourself and remind yourself that you’ve got this? 

There are external conversations, of what people say to us and what we say to others. Then there are internal conversations- our self-talk, what we tell ourselves. And that is often the key to empowering ourselves. People who are self-motivated and resilient often have positive self-talk, where they believe in themselves and remind themselves that they are good enough to make it. Roger Federer once said “If you believe in yourself, it’ll take you a long way ahead”. And that’s what we often need when facing a challenging situation- strong self-belief that comes through in our self-talk.

3. Embrace optimism:

Being optimistic is an attribute that helps you overcome any situation and come out stronger. This is where you focus on what’s possible, take responsibility for your actions and move forward believing that things will get better.

At this point, let me make a distinction between optimism and positivity. Both terms are often used interchangeably. However, they are different. Positivity is merely hoping for the best or thinking that things are good when they really aren’t. When you simply hope for the best, there is a tendency to not take responsibility of your situation. The fact is, things seldom change without us taking the initiative. And that’s where optimism is different. It is accepting that things may not be ideal at the moment, yet believing that we’ll get there while doing the best that we can with what we have.

People who are optimistic tend to lift themselves and others in the most difficult of times. Their belief and determination to push through and make things better can often be infectious. Optimism gives us belief that things will get better, and that anything is possible.

To conclude:

We are all living in a very challenging time, with the pandemic disrupting lives and bringing in a lot of uncertainty for most of us. During this phase (or any challenging time), your mindset can make a big difference in how you respond. And it definitely plays a part in your motivation. I trust that this article provides you plenty of insights on how you can lift yourself, and others in difficult times. So stay safe, stay strong and stay motivated!