Whether it’s the travel industry dealing with the changing traffic lights, or other continuing pandemic restrictions to adapt around, businesses of all sizes continue to face a variety of challenges. It is understandable if you feel that accessing your internal motivation is a little harder than it used to be. Perhaps it is time for reboot.
It’s important to remember that much of what we feel is actually a decision we make.
Ancient wisdom indicated as much. Early ideas—going back to Greek and Roman philosophy—have been confirmed by modern research. A great deal of the science around positive psychology and happiness, for example, has roots in ancient philosophy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is largely drawn from the teaching of Socrates, considers the origin of mental disorder, including a lack of motivation or absence of mojo, to lie not in brain chemistry but in our irrational beliefs. Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Men are not disturbed by things, but by their opinions about them.”
I’ve written three Meee in a Minute books on ‘micro-moments’ for life, work and family. Micro-moments offer us a quick, practical way to change our opinions about things and, as a result, change how we feel, the outcome and even our life.
One of the founders of CBT, Albert Ellis created his ABC model which can be a useful guide to regaining control over thoughts and feelings so we can better access our best self.
A is for activating event.
B is our beliefs that interpret that event and construct meaning.
C is the consequence – especially the emotional consequence.
The next time something happens, or you feel stressed by some news from a client or a change in trading, or some other situation, take a moment to notice what you’ve made it mean. If you struggle to meet demand, does that mean that your business is inefficient, or does it mean that it is time to expand? What we make something mean is not the only meaning on offer.
- 1% boost
When we are in a slump or finding it hard to get motivated, the tendency is to pursue an all-or-nothing approach. This strategy is the worst thing we can do. Instead, start small and aim to be a little better tomorrow than you are today.
Take a moment to consider one thing you would like to change and focus on improving that by 1% every day. This approach is much more viable and is much more likely to produce the desired effect.
- Decide to be happy
In Michael Singer’s book The Untethered Soul, he asks a really great question: Do you want to be happy? Yes or No? If it’s Yes, then what do you need to change to be happy?
We all know people who seem to be most content when they are miserable, but misery and motivation are not great colleagues. Boost your motivation by deciding to be happy and do what you need to do to make space for happiness.
- Flip it
Take a moment to turn your lack of motivation on its head. Instead of wondering what’s happened or why you suddenly feel so flat and unenthusiastic, go in the other direction. Make a list of the things that DO NOT motivate you.
Sometimes it helps to focus on what we know we don’t want and won’t do as a way to gain clarity about how to regain our motivation.
- Gratitude Ritual
A powerful trick is the gratitude ritual. Start and end your day with three things that you are grateful for. Is there a customer who is particularly lovely to deal with? Is your team a great blend of experienced old hands and fresh thinking youth? Is there software or some other tool that makes your working day shorter than it used to be? Try to come up with different things rather than the same few each time. And don’t just list them. Really connect to each gratitude as an emotion. Remember, it’s not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.
Making these little changes to your thinking can make a huge difference. It’s those tiny little changes that add up to the changes we want to see and allow us greater and more consistent access to our motivation in business and elsewhere. As businesses continue to contend with the complexities that the global pandemic continues to throw at us we need to keep our motivation strong.
By Sid Madge, Meee
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.