Have you ever felt a little… lost? Like you’re not quite sure what it is you want to do with your life or career? Or perhaps you know exactly what you want, but are struggling to find the motivation to get up every day and do what needs to be done.
When we lack motivation, everything can feel difficult. On this page we’ll delve deeper into the idea of motivation, understanding where it comes from, why we lose it and how working with a coach can help us find it again.
To start with, it’s important to understand what motivation really is. Motivation comes from within ourselves. It is our purpose or reason for doing something, whether that’s to launch a new business or make changes to our exercise routine.
Our motivation for something stems from our values and beliefs. When you have a strong sense of your personal values and beliefs (for example, kindness towards others), this forms a basis from which your motivation can grow.
We all have different motivators. For some, they may include having a clear mission, wanting to help others and being inspired. For others, they may include personal power, career success and money. Neither is right or wrong, however, many find external motivators like money or perceived success less powerful than internal motivators that work in alignment with your values.
A motivator that can help all of us is accountability. This means telling someone about your dreams and having them check in with you to see how you're going.
This is a key part of coaching and for many, just having regular conversations with someone about a project/dream/desire is enough to motivate them into action.
The difference between motivation and inspiration
When someone gives a ‘motivational’ speech, what they’re really doing is inspiring their audience. Motivation has to come from within ourselves, and this means that in reality - no one can motivate you. It has to come from yourself.
Inspiration comes from the outside world. Speakers, writers, mentors and others we look up to can inspire us. Films, art, books and music can also inspire us.
If we imagine motivation to be the fire in your belly, your purpose, your ‘why’, then inspiration can be seen as fuel for that fire. The two work together very well, and inspiration can certainly be a tool to help increase your motivation to do something, but it cannot replace the fire of inner motivation.
Why we lose motivation
Motivation can come and go throughout our lives. We may have seasons where we feel incredibly fired up, motivated and excited about everything we’re doing, and we may have slower seasons where we need to rest, rejuvenate and seek out inspiration.
Sometimes there are clear causes for our lost motivation. Below are some common examples, have a read and see if any resonate with you.
You’re burnt out
This can happen when you push yourself too hard for too long. Perhaps you were feeling that fire of motivation and ended up working all the hours under the sun. Maybe there’s simply a lot going on in your life and you’re overwhelmed.
When this happens, everything can feel like it’s too much and motivation feels like a forgotten dream. If this is happening to you, don’t try to push through it. Instead take it for what it is - a sign that you need to rest.
Book some time off, spend lots of time resting, allow your body and mind a break. Taking care of yourself will be the best way to invite motivation back into your life.
You’re struggling with your mental health
Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can rob you of any motivation. Be sure to visit your doctor if you think this may be the case and get support from a counsellor. You will be able to find motivation again, but learning to manage and cope with your mental health must take priority.
You have negative/limiting self-beliefs
Many of us live with limiting self-beliefs. These are beliefs we hold about ourselves that limit us, such as “I’m not creative” or “I’m not worthy of that job”. These beliefs are rarely based on fact, and come from a variety of different sources (including our childhood).
You have one task, glaring at you from your to-do list, but somehow you manage to fill your day with anything but that task. Sound familiar? Procrastination can often stand in the way of progress, even when our motivation is strong. This is often because our procrastination comes from a place of fear.
When we really care about something, we get scared about it going wrong. We worry what others will think, we worry about it failing - and sometimes, we even worry about it succeeding. This fear can manifest in different ways, and procrastination is common.
Getting past this fear can take time, self-reflection, self-investigation and self-awareness. Working with a coach can help you uncover what you’re really afraid of and help you push through it.
You haven’t found your ‘why’
Sometimes we’re lacking motivation because we simply haven’t found our ‘why’, our purpose behind what we’re doing. Maybe you’re working towards a promotion because you think you should be climbing the career ladder, but it’s not what you want deep down, and therefore you struggle to find the motivation to do what’s required for the promotion.
Once you’ve established an internal reason for doing something - your ‘why’ - you can nurture it. You’ll find decision making easier as you’ll have your purpose guiding your way. You’ll feel excited to work on your project as you’ll recognise why you’re so passionate about doing it.
How coaching can help
As we’ve explored in this page, no one has the power to motivate you, but you. This doesn’t mean a coach can’t help, however. A coach’s role in your search for motivation is to help you uncover what your ‘why’ is and what’s diminishing your motivation.
They can help you identify what’s stopping you and work with you to overcome any obstacles. They may suggest new perspectives and offer inspirational resources. Different techniques may be advised, like meditation and journaling.
Their job won’t be to motivate you but, instead, help you discover your own motivation and give you the tools you need to keep the fires burning bright.
Once you’ve unearthed your motivation, they can help you formulate clear goals to help you achieve what it is you’re trying to achieve. With motivation as your driving force, this part is all about taking action and making things happen.
Talking to you during regular sessions, they will also offer a sense of accountability. Helping you set targets and goals, they’ll likely encourage you to complete certain tasks before your next session. Just having this encouragement along with the increased self-awareness that naturally takes place during the coaching process can be incredibly powerful.
We wish you success, wherever you are in your hunt for motivation. If you want support from a life coach, you can use our search tool to find a coach to suit you.