By Ruth Baucom
At Grand Incentives, we’re experts at motivating others. We have plenty of blog posts about that, but we don’t often talk about motivating ourselves. Logically this is important, not only for our own well-being, but for the health of our leadership. It’s very difficult to inspire someone else if we are not inspired ourselves.
Here are some tips for keeping your vision, desire and actions supercharged so you’ll naturally be a motivational person:
- Know where you’re going.
Direction is essential. If you don’t have a goal, understand what path you’re on or know why you do your job, then it’s time for some self-reflection. If you and your journal aren’t making progress, then I suggest talking with a friend or colleague who knows you well. The key here is to understand your passions, dreams and realities. Who do I want to be and who do I need to be (as a boss, mother, boyfriend, etc.)?
- Keep foraging ahead every day.
If you’re already trucking down a steady path toward your goals, then congratulations! That’s half the battle. The other majority lies in maintaining your ambition. Everyone is motivated differently, but this list is worth a shot:
- Approach life holistically. If you’re too broke, too tired, too sick, too overweight, too sad or too heartbroken, then it’s going to be difficult to meet your goals. It’s easy to get sidetracked. I think it’s important to both maintain a balanced life and believe that everything you do matters. If this is a struggle, remember that “no” is an acceptable response sometimes and read this article: Burnout: The Enemy of Sleep
- Keep learning. Listen to audiobooks in the car, read online articles on your lunch break, learn five new words of a foreign language each week or enroll in a free online course. From YouTube to Wikipedia, it’s easier to learn than ever before. Learning is important because it changes you, your ideas and your perspective. And if you prove to others that you love to learn, they’ll be more likely to learn from you. (Does ANYONE like know-it-alls?)
- Do inspiring things. Volunteer at a local food bank. Take a hike in the great outdoors. Attend your kid’s concert. Go to an art museum. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Cook a new dish. Drive to the beach at sunset. Run a marathon. I don’t know what inspires you, but I do know this: if you do something like this every week, you’ll find a passion for life. Somehow, when you’re surrounded by beauty, everything seems a little easier.
- Reward yourself. When you reach a goal or accomplish something admirable, you deserve a pat on the back. If you make a habit of this, you’ll be even more excited to reach your next sales goal or get your mile under 8 minutes because you get to watch an episode of Mad Men afterward! (Some of us are obsessed with the reruns, okay.)
- Inspire others.
I think one of the ways to stay inspired ourselves is to actually inspire others. Whether it’s by telling your coworker you love her idea, buying your spouse golf clubs because he’s forgotten his favorite pastime or taking your daughter to visit local colleges, inspiring someone always makes you soar inside. It’s really a cycle, this motivation thing, and the more you experience it, the easier it will become. That’s why it’s also important to surround yourself with people who encourage you. Naysayers are such a drag.