Most of us can tell when we are demotivated; when the job isn’t right for us, when the environment has gone bad or the boss is just not the kind of person you can work with. We all recognise those external factors that demotivate us reasonably easily. But what if the job is ok, environment ok and the boss is fine, but we are still not firing on all cylinders? No stress, not tired, but you aren’t operating at 100%.
What if it’s our own internal factors that are stopping us from performing and from getting somewhere? The external factors add ingredients to your motivational tank every day. If your personal converter is working, these are combined to make the right fuel for you. They soon flow to the engine of your motivation and you are off and performing. We’ve all had times when we felt totally motivated and we know how that feels.
However, if your internal converter isn’t working as well as it could then it doesn’t matter how good the world is around you, those ingredients just don’t convert to motivation. The catalyst for that internal conversion is personal clarity. The answer to questions like ‘Where am I going in life?’, ‘Where is this job taking me?’, ‘Where is this relationship going?’, ‘Who am I really?’, ‘What do I stand for?’, ‘Is this the career for me?’ are a part of that catalyst for each of us.
If you know the answers, day to day decisions are easier, the challenges of a normal working life are easily met and opportunities to shine are not only visible but they are taken. If you don’t know these answers then commitments can be on a ‘wait and see’ basis, other people can make decisions for us (‘I want you to move to that role/project/office’) and hesitation to act can become a regular part of our life when asked ‘what do you think?’ ‘what would you like?’ and ‘would you like to try this position?’. Most of us don’t stop functioning, but aren’t functioning as well as we once were and certain situations throw it up more than others (career choice time, annual development sessions, opportunities to take a lead for example). For some, the situation can lead to ‘sick days’ and extreme stress when they struggle to face the challenges that their current world is throwing at them.
In some of those moments it is very easy to be guided by others, get back into the day to day detail, put our head below the parapet and just go with the flow. These are just normal human reactions to uncertainty. However this uncertainty never goes away, unlike the uncertainty that the world can throw at us. This uncertainty is from within. So it can be there next time the situation arises.
If you recognise any of this in yourself on occasions there are a few questions you can ask yourself?
If you aren’t certain of one or two of the answers then its likely that your internal converter isn’t working as well as it could and you might need to take time out to give it a tune up by working on the missing answers.