Motivation is a difficult thing to nail down. We can see the results of it – people dig in and work toward a goal unceasingly until they achieve it; they are given a task at work and they attack it with energy; athletes endure torturous practices to compete and win.
We can also see the lack of it. People burn up an entire weekend in bed or watching TV neglecting tasks around the house; they are given tasks at work and they procrastinate; they have no goals. And that seems to be the biggest factor in motivation – having goals for today, for next week, next month and next year.
We can help others who are not motivated by very specific methods, and we should, if only for a very selfish reason. When we work to motivate others, we end up motivating ourselves as well. Here are some things that all of us can do.
Ask Open-Ended Questions of the Unmotivated Person
When you ask such questions as, “Is there something you have always wanted to do, for how long have you wanted to do this, why do you want to do this?”
As a person answers these questions for you, s/he is beginning the process of having a goal. The funny thing about doing this with someone else is this: you begin to answer those questions for yourself, and you can feel some excitement welling up inside about a goal you may not have thought about for a long time.
Help the Unmotivated Person Devise a Plan
This type of planning is particularly hard for a person who is recovering from a setback – a job loss, a divorce, bankruptcy. But making a plan is the first step to getting motivation back again because the individual can see something on paper with specific steps to take. Sometimes, it really is a matter of seeing that first step so you can begin.
Most of the time of step one of any plan will involve some self-education. Whether someone wants to change careers, pursue a hobby, travel, become a better partner, or start a new business, there will be the experience of new learning.
Success in learning something new brings confidence, and confidence is absolutely critical for motivation.
As you encourage an unmotivated person to take that educational path, you may realize that you must take that first step as well. So, together you look for the resources to learn what you need to – you register for that online course or seminar; you join a group that can help you learn. The excitement grows.
Teach the Unmotivated Person to Visualize
What is the end result when the goal is reached? Any goal? Encourage the person to describe the end point when the goal is achieved. Where will she/he be? What will she/he be doing? What will she/he be wearing and look like? Who else will be there?
Once that is described, ask the person to get a visual picture of all of that in his/her mind. That picture can then be brought up at any time by closing the eyes, getting quiet, and bringing it into focus.
As you teach someone else to visualize, you realize how rusty your own visualization is, and you are motivated to get back to that great practice once again. And whenever any negative thought patterns bubble up (I can’t do this; what will others think; I’m too busy with other things), that visualization can dispel them pretty quickly.
Provide the Encouragement to Keep the Ball Rolling
There may be several steps to achieving the goal, and staying motivated is tough. Checking in with the individual with lots of praise for current success, and encouragement to move forward to the next step, is important. And every time you check in with that person, you will also automatically be checking in with yourself.
Be the Energizing Force
Lack of motivation is coupled with a lack of energy. Even if you do not have buckets full of energy, you must act the part.
If someone wants to open his/her own flower shop or pet store, and you feel that they are waning in motivation, you be the one to knock on that door with 3-4 potential sites to go look at.
Here is what will happen to you. Generating that energy will actually give you energy, the energy that will make you want to go home and see what the next step in your own plan is and how you can take it.
Motivation must be nurtured daily. It is nurtured by having a plan, immersing oneself in new experiences and learning, visualizing the end goal, and maintaining an energy level that gets things done. When you work to motivate someone else, you will find yourself nurturing your own motivation too.