One question that I am frequently asked is ‘how do you stay motivated’?

People envisage motivation as being high energy, jumping out of bed each morning with fists clenched and ready for action. Always enthused and smiling, relentless in the pursuit of goals.

This is overly simplistic and of course unrealistic in the long term.

What people forget is that the very definition for motivation is ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’ or in other words the ‘motive’!

This is absolutely key.

If you find your ‘motive’ then you are truly quipped with your compass.  The guiding principal for your day to day actions and interactions.  Whether this is individually, part of a team or organisation your thinking and behaviours should align to this.

Maslow spoke of ‘self actualisation’ and Sinek refers to our ‘why’.  It is something deep and profound and this ‘motive’ in turn drives us in the real sense.

In reality, many overlook their ‘motive’ with an over emphasis perhaps on financial reward. Maybe chasing that bonus in the workplace or perhaps buying an expensive car with the belief that this is their motivation.  This is because in reality they haven’t considered the real ‘motive’ behind their intent.  So too, some companies overly focus upon the outcomes, losing sight of their ‘motive’ and this in turn negatively effects their potential success in the long run.

For those who remain overly focused upon outcomes it is likely that the real ‘motive’ will remain unknown to them.  That is why you may have noticed that the novelty of the new bonus or car, the new organisational system or structure, tends to wear off and the same feelings of longing for something ‘better’ re-emerge.

Research has clearly shown the extrinsic rewards such as a financial bonus or a new car motivates us temporarily but inevitably we revert back to our old ways in time.  I’m not suggesting that they are aren’t useful, but they need to be combined with intrinsic rewards such as feeling more included and being valued by others which leads to longer lasting embedded change.

The best companies in the world and the most successful leaders as individuals are very clear in finding their ‘motive’; what makes them unique and they focus relentlessly upon this.

The benefits and successes that they subsequently experience whether these are financial or status orientated, are almost secondary to this and an inevitable by-product of their powerful ‘motive’.

Steve Jobs of Apple was attributed as saying for example that the ‘motive’ of the company was ‘to remove the barrier of having to learn to use a computer’.  Simple really, but so very effective when we now look at the ease at which a child for example can use an ipad or iphone! It has transformed our world.   As a company, Apple’s subsequent success in terms of financial gain and company status has resulted as a consequence of their singular focus upon their ‘motive’.

So, take the time to find your ‘motive’ rather than your motivation and you too can experience long lasting change and greater success.

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