Motivation refers to why we do what we do. It’s a question each of us must ask ourselves: In acting as a leader in life, how do we remain motivated? Another way to ask that question is to ask, What gives my life meaning?
How do we keep ourselves motivated? Here are a few of the techniques I have discovered over the years used by leaders, both titled and nontitled:
1. Make time to reflect – How much in business and life do we all miss out on because we don’t take time to reflect on what is happening in our lives and what we can learn from these things?
2. Remember to dream – Some people are so caught up with day-to-day tasks that they forget to dream about the future. As a result, they don’t aspire high enough or far enough, for themselves or their organizations. Ask yourself: What do I dream of accomplishing in my life? In my career?
3. Mirror those who are successful around you – Find role models worthy of your attention, those who lead their lives and organizations in the manner in which you aspire to lead, who have made a difference to others as you would like to.
4. Retreat to advance – At least once a year (if not more often), set aside a day to review your life and objectives. You may want to remove yourself from the distractions of a typical day by “retreating” to a location where you are inaccessible by phone or e-mail.
5. Mentor someone else – One of the best ways to distill what you know is to share it with others. Moreover, helping another person grow can be a rewarding way to keep yourself motivated.
Make sure to check out my new book Up, Down or Sideways for advice that will help you success when times are good, bad, or in between.
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Thanks for sharing, Mark. Reflection is so important.
Thank you for sharing 5 ways to thrive on intrinsic motivation and thereby, become an ‘autotelic’. The moment we stop dreaming and reflecting and start depending on extrinsic motivation for our success, we lose our way and fail to understand our life’s meaning?
As a ‘nontitled’ leader, I quite like what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi has said about the “flow.”
And I also like what has been said here about ‘Motivation’:
Thanks and regards,
Magnificent article! Especially regarding mentoring. Some of my most influential mentors have been so crucial in this life. It is rewarding both to learn from others consistently and to teach others that which is learned and effective.
Thanks for the reminder, Mark Sanborn.
Important and excellent advice, as without motivation, we don’t get out of the chair…or the bed. I accomplish #1 and 2 by journaling (almost) everyday. Thank you, Mark!
I would add to your list:
Celebrate milestones – I think it is important to take time, not just to reflect, but to celebrate along the way.
Also, reading books on leadership keeps me motivated. I’ve found that when I’m regularly reading good, challenging stuff, I’m motivated.