Motivation is thought to be incentive driven behaviour, benefiting from financial reward, status, praise, to name but a few. It is often thought to be the hero that powers success, ‘she did it because she was motivated” or “she didn’t achieve the right results because she lacked motivation”.

My understanding of motivation is that it is fuelled by far more than the external motivators like goals and rewards, I believe there is a whole host of internal influencers underpinning motivation.

Motivation is what we see when someone is working towards a goal, determination, commitment; willingness, hard work, adapting and action are all visual components of motivation but they are just the tip of the iceberg. What we don’t see is the inner drivers, the inner workings and the history behind the development those motivation skills.

Mindset, attitude, perception and resilience are strong realms within motivation, how you think, see, act and bounce back from situations is integral to achieving your goals, these are crafted throughout life.

Your current situation is likely to be part of the reason for your goal, it may also be the thing stopping you from achieving your goal.  If things are not going as planned in your life, it may be negatively affecting your motivation, in turn your performance.  In the same vein, if things are going well, your performance and motivation may be at optimum. Throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood, life presents many opportunities to learn and develop. There is a question over whether personality is innate or nurtured over time, personally I think it’s a mix of both, we are born with some personality traits and others are developed over the course of our lifespan and are different even in children from the same family.

Emotions are seen as ‘soft skills’, a person’s emotional state, however, is a huge influencer of motivation. Someone who is emotionally disengaged will find it difficult to motivate themselves and others. They do not connect with life decisions and everything can feel like hard work, draining and exhausting. The motivation level of emotionally engaged people fluctuates, there are times when they are highly motivated and there are times when they lack motivation as their emotional state ebbs and flows. An emotionally empowered person is in tune with their emotions, they stay aware and manage their emotions to maintain good motivation levels.

Awareness or lack of awareness of your own emotional state can be either positively or negatively impactful on your motivation.

Life experience affects different people in different ways, even siblings who have grown up in the same household are impacted in different ways. Life experience is often the reason behind your self belief or lack of, in turn it affects your ability to self motivate and maintain motivation one way or the other. You will have experienced both positive and negative life situations, you can decide how they impact you and how you respond, react or behave and these situations can impact your levels of motivation. Life experience fosters decision making skills, beliefs and self esteem, together they create the foundation upon which you think and make decisions. How you think, or the filter you think through is integral to decision making.  People often have positive or negative filters which are influenced by things like anxiety, life experience, people, emotions, mental health, etc.

For example

A person with anxiety, thinks through a negative, fear filled filter, always trying to find ways to avoid situations that exacerbate the anxiety, staying within their comfort zone, or the comfort zone dictated by the anxiety 

Beliefs are often underestimated when we talk about motivation, mainly because we can be contradictory in our beliefs. What we hear and see from the person, may not be aligned with an inner belief e.g. a person can be highly motivated to train hard as an athlete because they want to win, be successful and be the best in their sport, they can also be afraid of success. The discussions the athlete has with their coach only reflects the external motivator “I want to be the best”, the inner belief ‘I am afraid of success’ is sabotaging the ability to achieve the goal when unacknowledged.  Whether the external motivator or inner driver wins heavily relies on the person’s ability or desire to acknowledge the underlying belief, it is difficult if the belief has been developed from a hidden message but not impossible, self awareness is key.

The problem arises when hidden messages have impacted a person over their lifetime and they are unaware of the influence on their beliefs. These hidden messages are often as unconsciously imparted as they are received, not recognised by either party. Hidden messages are those that are sometimes thinly veiled in a compliment “you are the one with the brains” (hidden message: your sister is prettier), or they are in the actions of others.

For example

A child brought up in an abusive environment, receives the message that dad’s needs are more important, the child has no self worth and puts other people’s needs ahead of their own, resulting in unhealthy relationships in adulthood. Equally a child whose parents put effort into one sibling develops the belief that they are second best.

We all have an inner voice, the inner critic focuses on your negative life experience and beliefs the inner cheerleader focuses on your positive life experiences and beliefs. The inner critic eats away at your self belief and can impede motivation, it is constantly lying to you, causing doubt, telling you that you are not capable, that it is unachievable, it offers no evidence of why you will fail but while you listen to it, you will not achieve what you want to achieve. The inner cheerleader, lets you know just how capable you are, it provides evidence of previous successes and pushes you to succeed. There is an air of realism with the inner cheerleader, which enables you to face any doubts head on and recognise opportunities to succeed.

Any of the above can fuel your motivation or hinder your motivation. Developing self awareness of the inner drivers as well as the external motivators will enable you to become more effectual in your management of your motivation, allowing them to work together rather than contradict and conflict under the surface.

Self awareness is key for optimum motivation and conquering blocks or barriers, get in touch to talk more about emotional empowerment and motivation.