Questioning Your Motivation: The Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Leadership Lesson: A great way to motivate yourself forward is to regularly take a step back and outline the answers to understand what makes up your foundation.
Leadership can be effective when we understand our environment and everything in it. We see how things—people, processes, and all other stakeholders—intersect, and we can move accordingly to make sure everything is coming together as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
But the effectiveness of leadership doesn’t start with the actions taken to influence all those moving pieces in the environment. The actions are what are seen and, hopefully, credited with instilling the environment with the right guidance to reach success. But, in leadership they are the ends, not the means.
Those leadership actions we carry out are derived from past experience, ongoing knowledge, available inspiration, and, most of all, motivation. The experience, knowledge, and inspiration are picked up from external sources. It falls upon us to take them up and absorb and retain them from the environments through which we navigate.
Whereas the knowledge and experience are strictly external, motivation is slightly different because it is a mix of both external and internal factors. Ideas, inspiration, and information can be gleaned from the outside, but what is it that’s really going to get the fire going internally enough for you to jump into action.
The external factors are what drive us and push us forward. Some people may say those factors motivate us while others say they inspire us.
Although we may use the words motivation and inspiration interchangeably, when it comes to this discussion, let’s break these two down further for clarification and delineation.
Let’s consider motivation just one step above inspiration, where inspiration gets the mind, heart, and passion going, jogging in place, while motivation parlays those ideas into action. Inspiring vs. Motivating. Ideas vs. Action. Thinking vs. Doing. Potential vs. Kinetic Energy.
Inspiration is the fuel, while motivation is the movement – the drive.
Note the difference between the two in this question: Someone can inspire you from a distance based on their example but when it comes to motivation – the real push to get you going – where do you see that in your life?
So, you’ve thought about what you find important and what you want to do, but what is it that finally and actually gets you to move to execute that desire or goal?
What is it that really calls you to action?
To realize and maintain that drive to keep you going, think about motivation and how it works for you when you get moved to action.
Who Motivated You?
In our past, there can be people who pushed us toward our goals. This can be a single person or a group, such as friends, family, or colleagues.
Their belief and support might have motivated us. Something they shared with us is what got us going.
Whether it was talking to us by phone to push us to our best, or physically standing next to us to move us forward, they’re the ones who invested themselves in what we could be.
What Motivated You?
The what of motivation demonstrates the specifics of the motivating act itself.
It could have been a eureka moment—a story, a metaphor, a comment, or a suggestion. Even questions can be powerful motivators. Don’t you think?
It’s important to understand what it is that motivates us and the form it is which those motivators take. The more we recognize those moments, the better we may be able to seek out more of those to keep us going through our various and continual endeavors.
Where Were You Motivated?
Location is a notable factor in motivation. Was the location expected?
Motivation can take place in school, amongst friends, and within family across various situations or events. All these environments are different. Their missions all stem from different needs, and each expects different things from you.
Location can dictate how strongly you remember that lesson of motivation going forward.
When Were You motivated?
The point in time in which you were motivated is important as it makes you question when in your life you were impressionable.
It makes you assess whether you’re still open to such motivation and if you can even spot it.
Our open-mindedness can change from phase to phase in our lives. How easily can you be motivated now as opposed to 1, 5, or 10 years ago? What will your motivation look like going forward in your timeline?
Why Were You Motivated?
It’s important to understand why the lesson stuck. The power, reasoning, or root of the message has great bearing on how well the message is received.
The urgency, clarity, and tone of the motivation plays a great part in how easily the message sinks in and lays the foundation to fuel determination deep down inside.
The intention of the motivation helps us realize what it is we need in our messages for something to stand out for us.
Of course How? couldn’t be left off of a Who? What? Where? When? Why? list. It’s included for us to consider, but this item has nothing to do with us. This one has to do with others.
How do we motivate others?
What steps do you take to help others achieve their goals, missions, dreams, etc.? Remember, inspiring is one thing, but what steps do you take to actually call them to action? How much do you help them get started on their mission and keep them accountable through that journey?
It doesn’t matter if that person is in the same field, industry, or specialty as you. Motivation knows no borders. Does it help if you know the in’s, out’s, and nuances of their work? Yes, of course. But motivation is about energy and commitment, not specifics and details.
Understanding all these components of motivation helps us understand what it is we find important. We can talk about how important things are to us all day, but it’s only in certain moments where we’re actually moved to action to make the changes we want to experience and live happen that we demonstrate how much we truly want something.
It isn’t enough to talk about what we want. We need to step up to the plate. The most curious thing about this conversation is that it begins with us in that we have to be selfish and think about ourselves, to start.
Through that motivation to achieve our goals we not only benefit ourselves but we can also make a difference for someone else.
So, What About You?
- In answering the questions above, how would you outline your motivation?
- How has your motivation shifted and evolved as you’ve…shifted and evolved?
- What kind of motivational support – true motivational support – do you provide for others?