Awesome Self-Motivation: Ask Why. Then Act.

For me, being an entrepreneur has brought a deep sense of fulfillment and many joys – the autonomy to be my authentic self, living into my strengths and calling in my everyday choices. I have become aware of the truth in the statement, “You do not know what you do not know”. Other than the mechanics of a business, I had not realized how much of my authentic self I had suppressed over the years. Several of my top strengths did not align well with some of the environments I was in.

Becoming aware of my Influencing Strengths – Command, Self-Assurance and Activator –provided me a window of insight into my values of freedom (autonomy), integrity and contribution. With those nuggets of insight I can choose actions and activities that I am very motivated to work on. Aligning passion, vitality and purpose fuels my Ideation Strengths and the motivation machine is in gear for creative, productive work.

Know your big-picture reasons and self-motivation is more likely. Click To Tweet

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If you want to generate energy and drive, you need to be self-motivating. There are three ways to do this and the acronym, AWE, to help you remember.

A = Autonomy
Establish control and self-determination

W = Why
Link tasks to meaningful strengths and values

E = Establish choice
Make a small decision, then act on it

Last week, I wrote about Autonomy because, in order to self-motivate you need to have a sense of control and self-determination. Here are the next steps:

For the sake of what? Link Purpose and Value to Tasks.

To stir up motivation and energy, ask yourself, “Why is the task important?” and “Why should I do this?” Then ask this question five times, “I am doing this for the sake of what?”, drilling down to the core values of why even the smallest of chores will lead to meaningful results. You are doing this for the sake of what?

Here’s an example:
Why is it important you finish your report?

Reason #1 : I am doing this for the sake of what? Why is that important?

Reason #2 : I am doing this for the sake of what? Why is that important?

If you don’t know your big-picture reasons for doing something, you are less likely to be self-motivated. Knowing the “Why” behind a task can turn any chore into a meaningful challenge because you associate it with a purpose, a passion or a desire to be of service to others. We are often motivated to make efforts for friends or family or for a cause greater than ourselves.

Establish Choice
Make a small decision, then act.

When you focus on your Inner Game of Leadership you feel more in control and empowered to sort through choices and make decisions. To create self-motivation, become aware of opportunities that take advantage of making choices that provide a sense of self-determination.

An easy method to trigger the energy:
1. Spot an opportunity. 2. Create options. 3. Chose the option that allows you to exert control.

For example:
If you need to write an article, make a list of possible topics you want to cover. Or, if you know your topic, start by writing the conclusion. Ask yourself, “I am writing this article for the sake of what?” Your clarity and the small choices you make will start the project and generate self-motivation and energy.

It is the feeling of self-determination and contribution that gets you going. When you can link the Why (for the sake of what) to your noble values, Strengths and sense of meaning and purpose, it is even more powerful.

There is a lot of truth and wisdom in the 1930s Serenity Prayer that can be applied to almost any situation:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Reinhold Niebuhr

What is your self-confidence linked to when you are decisive? What strengths are you calling forth? When are you most effectively self-motivating? Try using these three steps and see what happens. Please share your experiences. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.


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