The real secret to inspiring motivation

I was asked to talk about how to inspire motivation on Annette Marner’s ABC radio show and the usual things sprang to mind:

  • Motivation isn’t about lighting a fire under someone it’s about lighting a fire within someone.
  • Motivation isn’t about fear or money, which are external, it’s about internal things, like pride and satisfaction and contributing something worthwhile.
  • Motivation is about getting two important things right: psychological rewards and job placement.

And so on. It’s all in Chapters 10 and 11, as I certainly hope you know!

As I was writing up a few notes for myself, a sudden thought struck me: motivation is about feelings:

  • feeling valued and respected
  • feeling you’re getting somewhere, achieving something, making progress
  • feeling proud of what you’re doing
  • feeling you’re using your talents and developing your potential.

All right, it isn’t the theory of relativity, but I think it’s a new twist on the way we think about motivation, and sometimes when we see something from a slightly different angle, we see it completely differently.

Feeling something is a lot different, and a lot stronger, than just knowing something. When you feel something, it’s really part of you and therefore drives your performance much more and much further than knowing something.

Discussion questions

What actions can you take, or what can you say, to make your team members feel valued and respected? Feel they’re making progress and achieving something? Feel proud of their work? Feel they’re developing as people and learning valuable skills?