I recently had a conversation with my 7-year-old daughter, Tessa. I was running around getting the kids ready for school and said “We NEED to leave the house by 8:30!” to which she replied, “We don’t ever need to do anything. You want to do it because you don’t want us to be late.”
Such a simple concept, right? She and I spent some time talking through things that I felt might be needs and she was able to find the want in each and every one:
Me: I need to feed you and your sisters.
Tessa: You want to feed us because you love us and don’t want us to die.
Me: I need to work.
Tessa: You want to work because you want to be able to afford our house and the things that help us survive.
It went on and on and, of course, she is 100% right!
The truth of the matter is you don’t need to do anything. You do things because you want to, or at least because you want the desired result of having done the thing.
Motivation can be a tricky thing. What motivates us (and when it does so) can shift, sometimes moment by moment. I often have conversations with clients about their lack of motivation and my key to supporting them is to find the “want” behind the perceived need. While this seems like a fairly easy concept, it’s often difficult to put into action because the “stories” we tell ourselves get in the way.
I often find myself working with clients that are in a rut, struggling to run their business effectively because they lack motivation. Everything feels like a “need to do” rather than a “want to do.” If this is where you are, you are not alone. Vickery and Co conducted a survey of over 300 entrepreneurs and found that 83% of respondents struggle with a lack of motivation at least some of the time!
The word motivation actually has two definitions. “the desire and willingness to perform a task” is the standard definition most people think of but the other definition of motivation comes into play as well and has a lot more power behind it. “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way” — basically this is finding the want in any situation.
While people often spend time working on the block that is stopping them from taking action and being motivated, I am suggesting that simply finding the want behind the need might be enough to propel you forward.
I regularly work with clients to help uncover what is blocking them from having the life and business they desire. This is an important part of the process. Identifying the background noise helps clients find clarity about why they are feeling unmotivated and helps them work past limiting beliefs. But this is not enough on it’s own! The next time you feel unmotivated, ask yourself why you feel that way and what is the desired result of having done the thing you feel unmotivated to do. Essentially, how badly do you want the desired result?
Each and every one of us lacks motivation at some point — what matters is what you do with the emotions surrounding it. Do you let them take over and keep you from doing the work you were created to do, or do you take steps to uncover why you’re feeling unmotivated, what you really want, and push through to the other side?
Each time you hear yourself say, “I need to do this,” I challenge you to stop, take a moment and identify why you might want to do it instead. Words matter, they really do. More on that soon, so stay tuned!