Five steps I have learned about motivating myself:

People often ask me ‘How do you do it?’  As I reflected on this question, for me it comes down to self-motivation.  I love to learn and am driven by personal growth in others and myself. However I still need to motivate myself to rise to the challenge.  Here are the five things I have discovered about motivating myself:

1. Setting something to aim for that is out of my comfort zone and provides a stretch for personal growth. I was shadowing the course leader in running a ‘Leader as Coach programme’ for a group of Directors in a technology company. Running this programme for the first time would be a stretch and so being able to shadow and support the course leader was good.

During the break my colleague turned to me and said, ‘Jane, you run this next section of the event’. I was terrified. Not only did I want to do a good job for the participants; I wanted to do a good job for my colleague.

Later that afternoon, my colleague became unwell and could not run the programme. I was given the opportunity to step up and run this part of the programme; here was my stretch. This time I was less terrified. However I still wanted to do a good job and so I embraced the opportunity and went for it. I had been trained to deliver this programme, and now it was my chance to take the lead. After this experience, my confidence grew and I became the co-leader for many other programmes.

2. Making a declaration, sharing what I set out to achieve with others. A few years ago I was travelling to work with Martin who was training for the London Marathon. I was interested in and inspired by his training schedule and how he had set himself a time of completing the event in less than 3 hours!

Martin challenged me to run a marathon. Immediately I said, ‘I couldn’t possibly, the furthest I had run was 10 miles, in Harlow, several years ago’. He then suggested a ½ marathon. Now this got me thinking, I had run 10 miles before, surely an extra three would be OK.

I shared the idea with my husband who was very supportive and encouraged me further. And so I registered for a ½ marathon early the following year and had 6 months to train for it. I found a training schedule on the Internet and posted it on m office wall.

With money I was given for Christmas, I set off to buy some really good running shoes. With the encouragement of my family and friends and the help of James who joined me in my training sessions who also signed up for the race, I completed my first half marathon in just less than 2 hours. I was delighted.

3. Putting steps in place to achieve my goal e.g. training, researching, and practising. During my train the trainer sessions (mentioned in 1. above), I was able to practice delivering aspects of the Leader as Coach programme to my classmates and the course leaders. This was a great opportunity to receive feedback and refine my delivery both content and style.

4. Acknowledging progress as I move towards my goal. I have found it is helpful to acknowledge the progress I am making e.g. in my ½ marathon training, to notice how much fitter I was feeling and my time was improving. Likewise to receive and reflect on feedback I receive as I develop in areas of personal growth.

5. Celebrating and appreciating the achievement. This step is really helps me to cement the memory of achieving my goal and provides me the opportunity to appreciate all those that supported me along the way. This further helps develop the muscle of self-motivation as I look forward to the next opportunity to challenge myself.

If you knew you could achieve what you wanted, how would you motivate yourself?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Please comment below:

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