Tag Archive for sabotage

Dealing with Lack of Motivation

We’ve all suffered from lack of motivation in our careers at some point, there’s no way around it.  External stress factors beyond our control, negative emotions, feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand, feeling ill equipped; these are just a sampling of reasons that may impact our motivation levels.  Whether for an hour, a day or a season, dealing with lack of motivation is a common issue for which many of my clients seek resolution.  People ask for a secret formula or silver bullet with which to combat lack of motivation.  Oh, how I wish I had the cure!  People are often surprised when I share that the best recipe for lack of motivation is creating a vision of passion and purpose.

That prescription doesn’t always settle well.  Some clients actually ask me if I can inspire and motivate them, either through a pep talk, words of wisdom, or actually checking in and keeping tabs on their progress with a certain project.  The last of which I would never agree to.  News flash folks – relying on others to motivate you doesn’t work!  Sure you can gain inspiration from a book, a class, a Ted Talk, or even enlist the help of an accountability partner, but sustained motivation must come from within.

Motivation isn’t conjured through emotion or the environment.  You can’t wait until the mood is right, or strikes you just so.  Neither can you wait for the circumstances in your life to align in the perfect fashion.  Waiting for the precise mood and perfect setting is like counting on the lotto to serve your financial future; it ain’t gonna happen.

Creating and sustaining motivation begins with identifying your vision.  What do you really want out of life, or in the short-term?  If you’re not sure what your short or long-term goals are, you have a little work to do before you can get motivated.  Create a list of things you want in the short-term and in the future; maybe even as it relates to retirement.  Make sure they are achievable and realistic.  With my individual coaching clients, I provide them with a set of vision questions that always jump starts the process.  Above all make sure it is your vision, and that it is aligned with your spirit and your passion.  This is a very important distinction and part of the process.  You must be true to yourself when determining what you want, anything short of that will hinder the process of motivation.  My point here, is that if your goal is actually someone else’s dream for you, or their dream that they want you to be a part of, it won’t fill your heart with hope.  Others’ expectations of us often hinder us from living out our own vision or dreams, which is no way to live, and is certainly not motivational.

Which brings me back to the prescription for motivation.  Once you’ve identified your own future goals, bring them to life with a ‘vision board’.  Whether it’s a dream home, new car, vacation, new wardrobe, promotion, or certain retirement lifestyle, imagine what that looks like.  Using either a small poster board or document on the computer, fill it with pictures and words of your short and long-term goals that comprise your dreams.  Put the board in a place where you will see it every day; on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, in your office or workspace.  Over time, you can add to it, or change aspects of it if necessary.

Now, with the end goal in mind (and your vision board), remember why you started in the first place to help you with motivation.  You may not currently be in your dream job, or particularly excited about the project or task in front of you, but remember this: it is a means to an end.  Knowing that the work at hand is part of the path to your future dreams will motivate you if you make that connection in your mind.  Piecing work tasks and projects together over time are the building blocks to your vision.  Holding that knowledge top of mind will serve as an excellent source of motivation.

Is a vision board a fail-safe, sure-fire method to motivation?  Of course not.  However, it is an excellent way to deal with the negative emotions that can be de-motivators and hold us in our patterns of inactivity.  And, although no one can intrinsically motivate you, and be responsible for your actions, you can surround yourself with positive people and enlist their help.  Share your hopes and visions with a friend, spouse, significant other, or trusted colleague.  Sometimes a more neutral party, or a coach, can be most effective in aiding you in your vision.  If you feel comfortable, show them your vision board.  If they are willing, ask your accountability partner or coach if you they can check in with you once or twice a month.  Not that they will play the role of keeping you on task, but to serve as someone who might offer up a sobering dose of reality, or knock you out of an immobilized state if you’re feeling stuck.

Just a word of warning as I close.  As I mentioned, we all suffer from lack of motivation from time to time.  It’s just part of life.  However, if you are feeling chronically unmotivated, and at the same time not finding joy in the things you used to enjoy, you may be suffering from depression.  If you feel this describes your situation, please seek the help of a physician or mental health professional.  Identifying the root of the problem is essential.  If you suffer from typical lack of motivation, and would like help identifying your goals and dreams, and making the connection work for you, I would love to help.  Please reach out either via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com or call me directly at 513-561-4288.

©Copyright 2016.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Can You Hear Me Now? Are You Listening?

It’s important to be heard, so much so that we go to great lengths to do it; finding the right ‘spot’ for our cell phone connection, posting on social media, repeating ourselves, even yelling at times!  Companies use commercials, coupons, online ads and all sorts of media in order to be heard.  But, is anyone really listening?  Are you listening?

It’s no secret that our digital age attention spans have shortened right along with our patience.  What I don’t think most of us realize is that our listening skills have withered as well.  In fact, sometimes we can’t even remember ‘where’ we ‘heard it’.  How many of you have told someone a story, and finished with; “I think I read that on Facebook, or Google news, or maybe it was in the paper.  I’m not sure, but I heard it somewhere.”?

Likewise, with online digital consumption, are you really ‘listening’ to what you’re hearing (reading), or mindlessly partaking in a time-wasting habit?  We only have so many hours in a day, and frankly, so much time on this Earth.  Listening, and being really present when you do it, is very important for our own development, and the building of relationships with others, but more on that later.  Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of listening.

True listening entails many factors, but I believe at the heart of it is a combination of true desire and compassion.  I have a whole toolbox of techniques and skills to share with you about how to listen, but first you must desire to be a better listener.  You have to ask yourself if you really want to listen to your relative, neighbor, co-worker, family member, or if you’re just waiting to respond and talk.

Active listening begins with a blank slate.  If you truly desire to be a better listener, and receive the message or words someone is trying to communicate, you have to first let go of many things:

  • Your preconceived ideas
  • The urge to talk
  • Surrounding distractions
  • Your agenda
  • Time

After letting go of these barriers to truly listening, you begin to realize it’s like an art form, much of which centers around the eyes rather than the ears.  Intentional use of our eyes, our body language and our mouths, are the three physical components comprising an active listening mindset.  You can really improve your listening skills (and many relationships) by really hearing the person talking to you.

An active listening mindset includes effectively using:

Your eyes –

  • Give your undivided attention and focus.
  • Look the person in the eye.
  • Avoid looking at a clock.
  • Don’t fidget with something or doodle.

Your body language –

  • Use positive body language to affirm the listener; a nod of the head, a smile, an expression that matches their emotion.
  • Let the person ‘see’ you listening as if you’ll be tested or quizzed on the conversation.
  • Make mental notes (or physical) to which you want to respond
  • Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes as you listen.
  • Really think about your response before talking.
  • Keep your facial expressions in check.

Your mouth –

  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Refrain from asking about small details while someone is talking – save it for later.
  • Begin talking only when the person is done, or at a natural pause.
  • Resist the urge to ‘relate’ by sharing a similar story that is the same or ‘better’.
  • Allow the person to finish their own thought rather than completing their sentence.  You may be surprised at what they say versus what you anticipated to hear.
  • Respond with conversation that reinforces what you heard.
  • Don’t criticize or demean the person with negative feedback.

Active listening is challenging.  We all have a story to tell, and want to be heard. However, the payout is great on many levels.  On a basic level, you will truly receive and process what you hear, and benefit from it either professionally or personally.  The upside could make your job easier, or help you understand a friend better.

An often unanticipated benefit of true listening is the incredible validation you offer to the speaker.  Providing undivided attention; making a facial or emotional connection to their words; and speaking words that affirm what they said are all gifts to the listener.  Together, they build trust with the listener, create a positive foundation for new relationships and bolster existing ones.

Another positive product of active listening is self-growth.  The discipline it takes to actively listen will make you a stronger person, enable new learnings, and promote strong relationships and friendships.  Combined, these benefits contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle, both on the job and on your own.

I encourage you to choose one thing to let go of, and one thing to engage in your next conversation and discover what the benefits have to offer.  After you’ve tried it a few times, let me know how it went.  I promise, I’ll listen.

©Copyright 2016.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.