Welcome back to our series of posts examining the components of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how you can use them in personal branding to become a star performer. We have recently touched on strategies to help you develop self-awareness and self-regulation. Up next, we take a look at some basic strategies to improve your motivation.
It’s fairly self-evident that motivation an integral part of becoming a star performer and therefore a key component of a strong personal brand. Since the word gets tossed around a lot, let’s take a look at what exactly it is. Motivation is defined “an internal state or condition (i.e., a need, desire, or want) that serves to activate or energize behavior and give it direction” (Kleinginna and Kleinginna, 1981). Your level of motivation is a direct product of your thoughts and emotions; this includes your expectations, outlook, desire to achieve and self-confidence. Self-motivated individuals are highly goal-oriented and have an overall optimistic outlook on life. They also hold themselves to a high (but realistic) standard of excellence for their work and can visualize what success looks and feels like.
So how can you give your level of motivation a boost? Here are some strategies that can help you enhance this important component of EQ:
- Target self-sabotaging, unhelpful thinking patterns – these undermine your confidence and are often motivation killers. Use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) strategies and acceptance techniques to render them less life-interfering (also see my post on self-regulation for ideas). Practice self-coaching with positive, more rational and encouraging messages, and write them down as reminders if you need to. Make a list of “excuses” your mind comes up with regarding why you “can’t” reach your goal and just notice when your mind turns to them (without buying into them) while continuing to take action and move towards your goal.
- Re-energize your day – Set aside some quiet time to think about the following: How can you “reignite the spark” at work or in your personal life? What did you once get excited about? Are there fresh opportunities or projects that can breathe new life and excitement into your day-to-day? After brainstorming, write down your answers in as much detail as possible. This document can be used in the next strategy, goal setting.
- Set Goals – Goal setting provides a road map for turning your vision of an ideal future into reality. These goals can help to create short-term motivation, a sense of forward progress and a long-term vision. Identify short, medium and long-term goals that are measurable, attainable and clearly defined. Hold yourself accountable and recruit support as needed. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach sub-goals! For more on this, Mind Tools has a helpful article on Goal Setting.
- Write a “Standard of Excellence” statement – Similar to a mission statement, this will help you to clarify who you strive to be in your professional or personal life and what gives it meaning and purpose. Ask yourself the following: what do I want to work towards? What is really important to me? What gives this project or job meaning and purpose? Who or what am I doing this for? This statement should include your personal and professional values and ways to be your personal best.
- Look to your inspirations – who are your biggest personal or professional inspirations? How did they achieve their inspirational standing in your eyes? Draw inspiration from them by asking yourself what they would do in order to achieve your goal. Emulate those aspects of their behaviour but in a way that is authentic to your own unique personal brand.
- Practice optimism – Optimism has been identified as an important component of achievement, especially during difficult times. In the face of a challenge or failure, identify one good thing about the situation, either something small or an important lesson learned. Visualize yourself achieving your goal, even with setbacks, and create in your mind’s eye what that success would look and feel like. Those who have a positive outlook will “roll with the punches”, be more proactive, persist and remain hopeful in the face of challenges.
Stay tuned for our next post in this series, which will look at another important component of EQ, empathy.