As Christmas approaches it can be a time of mixed emotions. There’s such a lot of schmaltzy advertising and just about everywhere you look there are images of perfect Christmas scenes.
This is not the reality for many people. Over the years I have worked with clients who dread being thrown together with relations they clash with or can just about tolerate. The struggle for these people is to honour themselves without becoming too accommodating and acquiescent in the process.
Have you ever been around someone seemingly bright and knowledgeable only to notice them behave badly in a childish manner? Chances are something has stopped them growing up emotionally…
Collectively we still fail to understand the difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. While we grow up intellectually and chronologically, we do not always grow up emotionally. We can have gaps in our development for all kinds of reasons, but it’s often due to something that happened in childhood. For example, a child — let’s call him John — has has five blissful years on the planet when his father suddenly dies. His mother, in her grief, plummets into a depression that she never really recovers from.
John is effectively orphaned at that point. With neither parent there to attend to his emotional needs. This trauma and loss will likely effect John’s ability to learn. Unless that’s picked up at school, he could remain in that ‘state’ for the rest of his life. His development stunted, much like a scratch on a record, or a rogue program that keeps replaying. Years later, John is unresponsive and unemotional toward his partner, going through the motions but never fully connecting.
I frequently get asked by leaders and managers how they can stay motivated. This week, I was talking to a sales director who was asking why he had to constantly motivate his teams and I was reminded of this quote by Zig Ziglar:
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
In these challenging times, motivation is critical for personal, family and business success. Getting and staying motivated — both individually and as a family or team — is essential. People often see motivation as something that happens to you, either you are or you aren’t, but it doesn’t work like that.
Motivated employees produce better results. Motivated teams are more productive. Motivated families feel more content. Getting and staying motivated is something you need to work on consistently. It is something that you need to work on every day, every week and every month.
Finding your why
Individuals can motivate themselves more effectively by better understanding why they do what they do. They already know the ‘what’ of their role and the ‘how’ they do their jobs but what is their core ‘reason’?
What is really essential is to question the ‘why’ or the ‘reason’ you do what you do. Check out this amazing TED talk by Simon Sinek to find out more.
So, start to inspire yourself by setting your goals in writing (journaling your successes gives you a different relationship with your goals, is easy to do and reaps massive rewards) and remember to reward yourself every time you achieve a goal no matter how small. It makes a difference.
Teams and families can be motivated through inspirational meetings, team building exercises and development, to name just three easy methods. Happy teams and families are more productive and feel more valued. In fact, individuals who feel valued at work give around 18% extra discretionary effort.
Whatever strategy you choose it is not something that you can do once and then forget. It’s something you have to work on every day and every week. Regular meetings, updated business plans and goals (yes, even with your family) will help to keep you on track and identify where further motivation is needed.
What can you do now to improve your and your team or family’s motivation levels today?
Do you surround yourself with “drains” or “radiators”? Positive people who give you energy or negative people who bring you down? Here’s why it’s time to do a “friend inventory”.
The Framingham Heart Study wasn’t set up specifically to study emotions. But with over 5000 inhabitants of Framingham, Massachusetts signed up for the on-going study, scientists have been amassing a wealth of continuous social and medical data since 1948.
It came up with fascinating findings in 2010 that suggest emotions are as infectious as diseases, and (more importantly) that sadness is more infectious than happiness.
They found that having a happy friend increased an individual’s chances of personal happiness by 11 percent, while just one sad friend was needed to double an individual’s chance of becoming unhappy.