The Powerful Impact of Personal Development on Motivation
Greater motivation brings with it a sense of optimism and a can-do attitude.
Many of you here will be interested in personal development whilst others are possibly exploring with an intention to increase commitment to personal growth. I get it.
I had dabbled in it for several years, reading The Secret and other books but never (if I am honest) actually knew what to do to put what I was reading into action. Or perhaps I was not committed enough back then.
For over 11 years now, I have been committed to personal development and its impact is phenomenal. The benefits include improved stamina, resilience, motivation and confidence with a can-do attitude and, growing as I have done. I humbly suggest that, whichever camp you are in, please take an interest in your personal development. In doing so, you have the opportunity to improve life or work experiences beyond all recognition.
Here, I look at motivation at work and how improving your own motivation can lead to the acceleration and consistency of motivation in the workplace and in life. Employers have a duty to not cause harm to employees but motivation is something you can control.
What is Motivation?
Think about a time you felt motivated? What was it like for you? What did you do? What did that motivation spur you on to achieve? How often have you absorbed this sensation and the joy of the end result? (My guess is not often enough!)
Motivation can be defined as a “reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.”
When you feel motivated, you may feel excited and optimistic or (adversely) you may feel motivated because there is a need to do something (for example, you see a child in a burning house and are motivated to run in and save her). Some may be motivated by the end result they want – it is still a “reason”.
Motivation is often conscious but, over time or through learned outcomes from actions, can become second nature. For example, you are motivated each day to shower to feel clean and start the day fresh or you are motivated to drink water to remain hydrated and alert as you have an important presentation coming up.
Whether a deliberate consideration or otherwise, there is motivation in most of what you do, albeit that you may equate “motivation” to a more positive, active bodily or mental sensation leading to action. For the purposes of this article, that’s what I shall be doing.
What is Personal Development All About (briefly)
Personal development is about taking an active interest in your “self”. You may not have been conditioned to think of life in this way, rather how “good” it is to think of others and show consideration towards others. What if that same consideration (and more) was shown to yourself? You may find that an odd concept. Perhaps it helps to imagine your own best friend standing beside you, guiding you.
This is something I see in clients every day. They desire to have a better life or work experience, to be more fulfilled but a key component running through them is that they do not actively invest time, energy or money in their development - until they contact me or a similar professional who understands the benefits and genuinely wants to help them to achieve their potential. It takes about 3 -6 months of thinking about taking action before action like this is taken, while only a few highly driven and determined individuals make the decision and embark on it immediately. Are you one of them?
Work Skills Training Accepted as “Development”
At work, skills training is often encouraged at certain levels and such development at work is taken up by both men and women. It is perceived as acceptable development – and sometimes (if not always) essential for progress, particularly as seniority rises. If this is something you want, and see the benefit of, you are likely to be motivated.
Why do so many people regard personal development with less necessity or benefit? It’s clearly not a priority. In my view, this is because you were never taught it was permissible to be a priority (what was taught by several adult figures is to study hard, do well at exams, start a good, well paying job, own a house, afford an annual holiday and so on).
Why Are People Not Motivated?
Motivates Inc. Ltd is a company that specialises in reward and recognition. Research commissioned by the company shows that motivation in the workplace is going down. Why is this?
Key attributors are:
- No career progression
- No regular recognition
- Poor technology and processes
- Lack of challenge at work
- Poor work life balance
Can you relate?
Such factors can lead to stress, which has its own knock on effects that may include lack of focus, withdrawal, ill health, insomnia, poorer decision making, lack of confidence, anger, mood swings, poor energy, lack of control, to name a few. Furthermore, the above attributors may affect behaviour and communication, not only at work but with whoever you come across, if they are not addressed. For example, if you are inwardly frustrated for 6 months at the workload and lack of balance, without personal development tools to hand, it is likely this will impact your outward conduct, consciously, sub-consciously or even unconsciously. Others experience this.
So, what can you do for your Motivation?
Personal development actions require some motivation but one could argue that personal development actions lead to greater motivation. Greater motivation brings with it a sense of optimism and a can-do attitude.
People often feel unmotivated to start on a journey of personal development and this could be because they have negative beliefs about it or wish to avoid entering the unknown; they may have preconceptions about what it means or they may assume they have no time.
What if you removed judgment and changed your perspective to see the benefits of personal development on motivation and vice versa. How much do you want to feel optimistic and energised?
For this, you have to take action. From a place of low motivation, rather than sit in it, it’s important to find the inner resilience to take just one small step towards where you want to be.
As I have commented, people easily commit (whether they ideally want to or not) to career development training or initiatives. This requires some level of thinking, intention, planning, actions and so on. The desired outcome from training at work is to develop, to grow and to move forward. What if you implemented this thinking to personal development?
Three Simple Steps:
Take responsibility for your own personal experiences as they reflect on everything you do and feel. By taking such responsibility it also allows you to feel more in control which can be immensely powerful especially if the workplace currently feels like a place where others control what you do or even say.
You may require a little guidance or coaching on that to start with but, thereafter, with tools at your disposal, you are in charge and not dependent on something external to you to motivate you.
Here are three things I suggest
1. Resilience – seek support via self-help books or a buddy, a coach or trainer to identify your strengths, weaknesses and resilience to different experiences. When you do this you know yourself better and can take greater control to identify what you want to work on or do.
2. Identify the issue causing your lack of motivation. Is it one of the points raised by Motivates Inc Ltd or is it something else. Whatever it is, spend an hour reflecting on it and what you really want. Then look at how you can action that. Does this involve talking to your peers or a manager? Does it involve asking for more resources or perhaps looking at a new job where you see realistic career opportunities?
Points 1. And 2, are about recognising yourself well, setting a goal for you and setting 2-3 small steps that move you towards what you want that will help your motivation. If you are not motivated to do this, the reality is that you have to find your why. Why is it you want what you want? If you do not discover it, you need to dig deeper. Keep asking yourself “why is that important to me?” When you get there, you find the motivation.
3. Walk the walk. If you decide the steps you are able to take, make the intention to put them into effect. Start to action them. Start small and easy so that you can see small wins. Acknowledge each step. Savour it.
Point 3 is about intent. It is about going beyond what you want and making it happen.
Why should I do this?
When you push beyond a zone of feeling unmotivated – even where you have to push yourself initially – you create a stronger platform for
- greater optimism
- more focus
- better decision making
- improved outcomes and performance
- a greater sense of control
- personal development and growth
- supporting others