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Finding Motivation Through Your Inner Monologue - pt. 1

First published on LinkedIn, 26th January 2016

This week is my last week at Jobsgopublic before I move on to an incredible new opportunity (stay tuned, folks). One of the toughest tasks we, and many other sales-oriented teams, face is staying motivated.

Personally, working at JGP has been incredibly rewarding and equally challenging - hence the shameless photograph of the awesome team here (you guys rock, btw). By helping local government, schools and charities to save money and time with their recruitment processes and vacancy marketing, it can be easy to find motivation when you're feeling overwhelmed.

My approach has been to make it clear that I think recruitment is a drain on council resources that could be better utilised to help vulnerable adults and children, improve local infrastructure, keep the streets clean or keep the roads illuminated*. By actually saving organisations money, and communicating the potential benefits, it makes me jump out of bed in the morning with a spring in my step.

Personally, working at JGP has been incredibly rewarding and equally challenging.

However, motivation and positivity are not the same thing. Motivation stems from finding meaning or purpose rather than a mindless 'PMA' vibe. An easy way to differentiate the two, if in doubt, is to imagine how you feel when someone you've not seen for a while asks "How have you been?" versus a shop employee telling you to "Have a nice day". The former elicits engagement and possibly an urge to share because it makes you - and your long-lost friend - feel good. The latter can be faked and puts in mind a sense of cynicism.

It's not too different to playing football or running long distance. Last night, I spent 90-ish minutes running about after fitter, younger lads, misplacing passes and mistiming tackles. But even when I had shanked my third tap-in over the crossbar, I didn't ever feel demotivated.

You could argue that the serotonin and endorphins flooding my brain made me feel more positive and, therefore, willing to push myself a little bit further. I believe that motivation to stretch your limits stems from 'empathy'. I hate to be let down by my teammates so I know how that feels and I don't want to let them down and inflict the same feeling upon them. The same is true working with client partnerships - I feel frustrated when my hard work isn't reciprocated so I maintain a (relatively) high work ethic as I wouldn't want anyone to feel I've let them down.

Empathy stems from your internal monologue - the consciousness or ego that steers your moral and ethical behaviour. If you've ever heard that voice in your ear saying "Are you sure you want to do that?" you know what I'm talking about.

If you've ever heard that voice in your ear saying "Are you sure you want to do that?" you know what I'm talking about.

For now, if you struggle to get motivated for a particularly onerous task, try thinking about;

  • The End Result - will you be happier, richer, fitter, etc? Can you visualise the final outcome or imagine how you'll feel?

  • The Other Party - will the beneficiary of your hard work result be happier, richer, fitter, etc? Can you imagine how they will feel?

  • The Team - you'll notice I said 'team' twice in the first two paragraphs. Empathising with people is easier when you have a shared goal. Do you share your colleagues ambitions and visions?

If you hear that voice or can put yourself in others' shoes, you can craft Freud's 'Superego' to become a useful form of encouragement. That inner voice can be a tough thing to master - and I certainly don't achieve zen-like control more than 20% of the time! However, if you can grapple with it, you can identify your own source of motivation and create your own story to keep you going forward even when times get tough. I'll post another blog later this week to suggest some ways how you can do this...

* Personal view and not necessarily that of Jobsgopublic, obvs!


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