Do you use any self-motivation techniques?
Life throws us all sorts of opportunities, as well as challenges. To deal with both, a leader needs self-motivation.
Motivation is, as the word itself suggests, a motive for action. It is knowing what to do and how to do it.
It is a key part of leadership.
In speaking with leaders over the years, I’ve often heard them talk about how important it is to motivate others; to keep the fires of passion and commitment burning in their teammates and colleagues.
But how do you self-motivate? Who motivates the motivator? If the leader motivates others, who motivates the leader?
The answer is simple.
The leader motivates himself.
So how do you stay motivated? Before you start my 13 self-motivation techniques, you must begin by asking the ultimate question.
The Ultimate Question.
What is the meaning of life?
Philosophers and theologians have devoted their lives to answering this question.
It is a difficult but essential question; in order to motivate yourself, you must understand not just what you do, but why you do it. To find the answer to the meaning of life, you must find out what it is that gives you meaning.
The more successful you become, the greater the risk that you’ll move into a position that will take you away from doing the things you are not only good at doing, but love to do.
The things you are passionate about.
Whenever you start to feel listless, and whenever you start to lack passion, ask yourself: what gives my life meaning?
More often than not, the answer will tell you what you need to do to recapture enthusiasm and motivation in your life.
I go into how you can recapture energy and enthusiasm in my book, The Fred Factor.
13 Self-Motivation Techniques
Here are 13 Self-Motivation techniques you can use to motivate yourself.
1) Renew through relationships.
You should never have to sacrifice friendships and family relationships to be a positive influencer.
Choose those who inspire and challenge you, not just who you are comfortable being around.
2) Take time to reflect.
How many lessons do you miss because you don’t take time to reflect on what is happening in your life and what you can learn from it?
At the end of each day, ask yourself what you’ve learned. You can increase the value of each activity you do by extracting meaning from it through reflection.
Remember you can learn from reflecting on what others are doing as well. You can learn from bad leaders as well as good leaders if you analyze their behavior and reflect on the lesson you can take away.
Don’t let incessant activity push out dream time. While there are those who only dream and never take action, there are also those leaders who are so preoccupied with day-to-day tasks that they lose the fuel of dreaming.
What would you really like to see happen in your life and the lives of those around you?
4) Schedule growth-producing activities.
The only way to grow your impact is by growing yourself. Growth is always accomplished outside of one’s comfort zone. If you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll never master new skills.
Growth can also come not just through reading and reflection, but through journaling. An inexpensive journal is a good way to capture growth-producing insights.
Listen to an audiotape, watch a DVD or take a course. Just make sure you have an infusion of new ideas and chances to develop new skills.
5) Take a nap.
I once heard weariness defined as the exhaustion of pleasure. An important clue that you need to get caught up on your rest is when things that formerly gave you pleasure no longer do.
Never underestimate the power of true energy: sleep and health.
6) Shadow other leaders.
Learn from leaders you admire. Don’t just read about them—observe them first hand. Find role models worthy of your attention, who lead in the manner you aspire to and who have impacted others as you desire to influence.
7) Retreat to advance.
At least once a year, if not more frequently, set aside a day to review your life.
Remove yourself from distractions for one day. This will most likely require “retreating” to a location where you are inspired and inaccessible by phone.
8) Mentor someone.
You’ll know you are making an impact when someone approaches you and asks you to be their mentor. You could initiate the process, but when you are really ready to mentor, the mentee will show up.
One of the best ways to internalize what you know is to share it with others. Being able to build into the life of an aspiring leader and motivate them is not only a way to help in the growth of another, but a revitalizing way to stay motivated.
Check out this blog post for some quick tips on motivating others.
9) Take care of your health.
It is hard to live a high-performance life in a low-performance body. Take care of yourself. You won’t have much to give others—individuals or organizations—if you destroy your health.
10) Enjoy the journey.
We often become so immersed in the journey that we don’t actually enjoy it.
Appreciate the process.
How do you accomplish this? Pause to be grateful. Gratefulness creates a great fullness of heart. A positive attitude is a wonderful thing, but I believe gratefulness is the ultimate antidote to negativity.
Take time to enjoy the little pleasures in life and not just the significant life events.
11) Clarify your values.
Roy Disney said when values are clear, decision making is easy. I can’t think of anything as important to success as a leader than truly knowing what is important to you, which means having boundaries defined by values.
It is this consistency of the inner and outer life that enables a leader to live from the inside out.
12) Live like a victor of circumstance.
Bad stuff happens to good people. This is inevitable. You can’t always have it all. In fact, one of the biggest lies in motivation is that you can have it all (learn more about that here).
The choice is simple: learn from the situation or languish in it. The next time you encounter a problem, remember: This is a test. What is the lesson?
13) Have a positive outlook.
When something bad happens, try to put a positive spin on it. Instead of looking at all the negatives outcomes, look at the positives.
This will help you take responsibility for your life, even those circumstances you can’t completely control.
I wish for you and those you lead and love a most prosperous and joy-filled life.
Mark Sanborn is a famous keynote leadership speaker. To learn more about self-motivation techniques, take a look at any of my wide collection of resources. You can also consider reading my Extraordinary Living Journal —buy one, get one free!
If you enjoyed this post, here are three more articles you might also find interesting:
The Question of These Times and 6 Ways to Answer
Feedback Deserves More Than a Form Response
Do You Give Your Work Dignity?
This post was originally published on September 11, 2006 and has been updated for 2020.