Between #motivationmonday on Instagram, YouTube channels filled with videos of upbeat music and inspirational speakers, and an app where The Rock yells at you to get your project done – you’d think that motivation should be just a click away.
And, yet, it isn’t.
Despite all these “life hacks,” every day people give up on goals, procrastinate on big projects, and settle for the status quo – simply because they don’t feel motivated. Heck, you might be in that exact situation right now. I know I’ve been there more times than I can count.
So, what are we doing wrong? Well, first off, we’re falling for three big myths – and it’s time to get them debunked.
Myth #1: Motivation is something you can get.
If I watch enough YouTube videos, listen to enough speakers, blast the music loud enough, read enough books – eventually I’ll become motivated.
Have you ever said something like that to yourself? I know I have.
And there’s nothing wrong with filling your mind and spirit with positive content. We recommend it to clients all the time! But if you think that reading a book is all of a sudden going to make you want to finish that project you’re dreading, you might want to think again.
Motivation isn’t something you can just go to the store and pick up. It’s not something that’s just floating out in the ether around you and if you just look hard enough, you’ll stumble upon it.
Motivation is not just something you can magically get. And we need to stop believe it is.
Myth #2: We can’t take action until we get motivated.
I can’t work on that project…
I can’t create…
I can’t go to the gym…
…because I’m just not motivated right now.
Admit it – you’ve said something like that before. We all have!
Somewhere along the line, our society created a story that says action is dependent on motivation. We gave ourselves a great big “get out of jail free card” to avoid the things that are hard or don’t seem interesting. We said excuses (and “I can’t…because I’m not motivated” is DEFINITELY an excuse) are okay.
But if we’re going to succeed, we need to flip this idea upside down. We need to realize that action IS NOT dependent on motivation – and that, actually, it goes the other way around. (Learn more about this in our ebook, The Definitive Guide to Motivating Employees!)
Myth #3: How motivated I am depends on how big the reward (or consequence) is.
They don’t pay me enough to care about this.
Who cares if I don’t make an extra few calls today? It’s not like I’m going to get fired over it.
Do people respond to incentives or disincentives? Sure. Sometimes. But the reality is that carrots and sticks (rewards and consequences) aren’t always good ways to motivate people – and in some cases, they can actually cause the opposite effect. (PS – This includes wages. While we all wish it was, getting paid does NOT automatically equal a reason to be motivated.)
If we’re going to leverage outside factors to drive behavior, we need to make sure that they’re effective.
So Now What?
Motivating employees (or yourself!) starts with changing your mindset about what motivation is and is not – and that starts with debunking these three myths. From there, you have to understand why someone may not be motivated to take action – and that's what I'll be diving into next week!
Check out our e-book, The Definitive Guide to Motivating Employees for more on motivation myths, blockers and how to overcome the slump. Get access to your free copy today!