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Staying Motivated (#23)

The Confident Leader

“I’ve reflected on the past year.  I’ve made my plan for the coming year. I have my word for the year! I’m motivated but concerned it’s going to fade just like every other year.”

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
— Zig Ziglar

This Week’s Edition

MOTIVATION: How will you maintain your motivation to achieve what you want to accomplish in 2021?

Clarify Your Thinking

The start of a new year is always motivating. The promise of a fresh set of downs to march down the field and put points on the board is thrilling. Potential is in the air.

A clear vision and new strategies are inspiring. Why, then, do 90% of new efforts fail by the middle of February? Lack of sustained motivation.

Leaders I work with report that their motivation wanes only mere weeks after the start of something new. They report that projects lose luster as the new wears off and the difficulty required to execute comes into full view.  

This somewhat unexpected reality causes leaders to doubt their leadership:

·      Hmm… was it really as good an idea as I originally thought?

·      This is proving to be more difficult than expected.

·      Maybe I’m not going to be able to actually achieve it. 

·      Perhaps I should cut my losses and stop now.

How do leaders stay motivated for the long haul even after the initial feeling of inspiration has dissipated? Change your thinking.

Old Thinking: I hope I stay as motivated as I am right now.

New Thinking: I’m going to stay motivated for the long haul. I’m going to find the daily motivational support structure I need?

To rely solely on the limited supply of motivation offered by the initial phase of a project puts the entire effort at unnecessary risk of failure. Changing your leadership thinking by recognizing the daily motivation is needed will allow to plan accordingly: to source daily the motivation to see the effort to completion.  

post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions


 Motivation is characterized as an outside force that compels you to act even if you are not initially inclined to do so. I see many leaders unwittingly rely on unhealthy motivators: fear, jealousy, anger, frustration and the like. While these may spark action, I’ve seen long-term reliance on these motivators lead to burn out or worse.

A quick search for the actions needed to solve the motivation problem offer only standard fare: go for a walk, limit digital devices, take long weekends, or change jobs.  While these are instructional, the confident leader, up to something significant, may need more.

There are myriad healthy external motivating factors. Competition. Recognition. Rewards. Mastery.  Build a structure of motivation baked into the day-to-day execution of your initiative.

Competition: Benchmark against a competitor. Every brand needs a foe, someone to beat. (Think Peloton and the gamification of your ride. You versus them.)

Recognition: Sign up for acknowledgement. Apply for an industry award. (Think Best Place to Work or Fastest Growing Company). Tip: keep all thank you notes (and emails) in an easily accessible folder you can read to remind yourself WHY you do what you do.

Rewards: Social rewards are powerful tools to keep you and your team on the motivation track. (The law firm I clerked for took the entire company on a cruise every other year. Sadly, I worked there on the off year.)

Mastery: Improving a skill is often a long journey whereby you move from one level of mastery to the next. (Think continuing education or additional certifications.)

Recognizing your need for daily motivation moves you to construct the necessary structure that delivers motivation each day moving you beyond the 90% who fail by mid-February.

So many of you shared your Word of the Year with me that I thought I would pass a few along. Just reading each of them motivates me to continue to support you via The Confident Leader newsletter.

Wisdom. Joy. Trust. Fit. Clarity. Generous. Confidence. Rebuild. Win.

What’s Your Opinion?

Share with me how you stay motivated each day.

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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