Motivation is easy - when you motivate people with things that motivate them!
Trying to motivate people with things that don’t motivate them - Yep that’s hard!!
However this rule isn’t just for when you are trying to motivate others - it also applies your self motivation. If you are trying to motivate yourself with things that don’t motivate you then you will struggle to keep the focus, energy and drive needed to achieve your goals.
Starting with motivating others, here is a great little tip to help you if you are a leader or educator.
Never ask people what motivates them - As I will explain in a moment with regard to your own motivation, people often don’t know what motivates them and they will give you the wrong answer, even if they believe it’s the right one!
They are possibly using what they think motivates them - what they think ‘should’ motivate them, or sometimes what other people feel they should be motivated by - parents, employers, teachers etc. However if that isn’t what actually motivates them then it will always be a uphill struggle.
Ask them to tell you about a time when they were motivated - whether in work or life. They will tell you a story about a time when they were motivated - listen carefully as you will get some good clues as to what motivates them. Was it a team oriented story or individual, was it reward or recognition, was it competition with themselves or others etc.
Ask questions - if they tell you about achieving a target ask whether it was the financial reward they received or the achievement?
When you feel you have understood the story ask for another couple of examples and you should see some common factors emerging - it’s not fool proof and won’t work with everyone but I guarantee you will learn a lot more than just asking someone what motivates them!
Finally what about you?
Do the same exercise on yourself - think of some times you were motivated and analyse them for yourself. But here is another great technique (which you can also use on your team) that i love. Write down 3-5 things that you believe are motivators for yourself. Now take each one in turn and vividly imagine life in the future with it.
For example, let’s say you put money down - now you obviously don’t imagine yourself destitute - just not having as much as you would desire. How does it feel - what are you thinking about? How painful is it?? You see if you are thinking - oh well, that’s a shame, but at least I’ve got my health and my kids are doing well etc etc. then it’s not really hurting - therefore it’s not a driving motivator.
Don’t confuse ‘like’ with ‘drive’. I like money, I’d like more and if you want to give me some I’ll take it thank you - however I’m not driven by it - it’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning. I ‘like’ money but I’m not ‘driven’ by it.
PS: There is nothing wrong with being driven by money - everyone is different and everyone is motivated by different things - nobody’s motivation (assuming it’s legal and not hurting anyone) is wrong - it’s just them!
All I’m saying is that in the above example you would have to say that person isn't driven - motivated - by money. It didn’t hurt enough!!
Do this with all the things that motivate you and you will find one or two that really hurt when you imagine life without them - those are your drivers - now look at how you use them to be more successful.
I’m strongly motivated by freedom - not by money - but when I use freedom to motivate myself I realise that I need a level of financial independence to achieve that freedom. If I just try to make more money it doesn’t work for me - but I’m very motivated to make money when I am focused on the freedom it gives me.