I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation lately. Why do some people wake up before their alarms feeling eager to greet the day while others would rather hit the snooze button multiple times?
Having a job you enjoy definitely helps with the whole “getting out of bed” thing, but unfortunately, there are lots of people out there who dislike what they do. According to recent research, only a third of the workforce feel truly engaged at work, and that disengagement is doing some major financial damage. A 2018 Gallup survey noted that the cost of lost productivity from employees who aren’t engaged or are actively disengaged to be between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion each year.
So, who is responsible for employee motivation? Is it the employees themselves? Is it the CEO? Is it mid-level management? I decided to turn to the most motivated and pumped up person I know, ID Plans CRO Seth Garber, for answers.
SG: I wasn’t at first, but then something happened that changed my life pretty dramatically. My mom got cancer and she wasn’t able to work so my dad, who was working as a schoolteacher, went back to school to get his Master’s in health care. He knew he had to take care of our family and he put in tons of effort to go to work during the day and then study all night. After I saw what my dad was going through, I became much more motivated and inspired, and I learned that you can get where you want if you stay laser-focused on your goals.
SG: One of the things I remember really clearly was that I went from being an average athlete to becoming ultracompetitive. Just like I saw my dad striving to be better, I wanted to be better. I wanted to win. If it was running, I wanted to be fastest. If I was playing soccer, I wanted to score goals. I wanted to work harder and try more, and that passion has stayed with me through my career.
SG: It came down to really understanding what truly motivates me, and I realized pretty early on that it wasn’t just money. In my case, I have two things that motivate me. My family, and also motivating others and helping them find successes and achieve results. I focus on those two things in order to keep me going, and that’s what drives all my other results.
SG: I focus a lot on communication with my team so I can understand what motivates them, both at work and outside of work. I believe it’s my job to help them become better and more proficient, and by learning what drives them, I’m able to frame our conversations in a more meaningful way.
SG: You have to be savvy enough to ask questions, and then really listen to the answers so you can adjust your conversations based on what their motivations are. If I talk to someone who says they like to go buy fancy things, or they live an extreme lifestyle, their motivation might be money. So maybe you’d have them create a vision board and talk to them about strategies they can use to make more money to buy the things they want. If someone says they want more time with their family or they’re training for a marathon, you could motivate them by teaching them how to be more efficient at work so they have more time to spend on those things. If someone is motivated by hard work, you give them more responsibilities.
SG: I would agree with that. However, when we use the term “motivation,” we have to put it in context. Executives are production driven so you might see them as meeting the traditional definition of a motivated individual. On the flip side, someone who enjoys playing video games can be perceived as lazy, but that’s not necessarily true. Maybe they’re driven by playing video games and their motivation for going to work is to earn money to buy more games, and that’s perfectly valid. I’ve learned that just because someone else has different goals and motivations than I do doesn’t mean they aren’t motivated in their own way.
SG: Take a few minutes each day and think about what’s most important to you. What do you wake up wishing you could do all day long? That’s a good start in figuring out what drives you. And remember that your motivations can and will change. It’s always good to check in with yourself periodically to see where you stand.
SG: I have a bullet pointed statement that hangs in my bathroom and I wake up every morning and read it. It clarifies what motivates me and why I do what I do. That always gets me pumped up to start another day.
What drives you? Any tips for staying motivated when you’re feeling stuck? Share them in the comments below.
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