There’s a special type of motivation that starts from the inside, it’s the type of motivation that lights a fire within us, pushing us to want to improve and build confidence. It’s one of the greatest feelings we can experience.
How can we use a practical approach to finding intrinsic motivation and harnessing it?
A lot of what we choose to do comes from internal and external forces.
External forces are powerful but they are often tied to other things or people, and the drivers and rewards can sometimes diminish or be out of our control.
Internal forces however can be stronger because it’s us who decide the reasons. We are being fuelled by our own motivations, our own Why?
Having intent helps us decide why we want to take action, and what we want to get out of it. It makes us see ourselves as active participants, and the experience as ours to shape. It adds meaning and purpose.
When faced with a new challenge or scenario, instead of thinking of negative aspects or whether you are interested in it, take a step back and think: how can I learn or benefit from this?
Putting in the work
After forming your intent, you now need to start putting in the work.
“The work” is the equivalent of simply just starting, and then practicing. Practice helps you get better, but you need to trust that it’s going to work, even though it might not always seem or feel like it.
Think of intent and practice as the bricks that lay the foundation for you. A stronger foundation will help you build new skills and confidence, and these things altogether create competence.
Know that this stage is usually where it gets scary, because this is where we often face what we don’t know or what we can’t do yet. It’s normal to feel fear; in fact, it’s expected.
Fear makes us want to back down or stop. So instead, recognize that feeling fear is part of the process. It’s supposed to be ambiguous, scary, and difficult.
Once you realize that fear and setbacks are simply parts of the journey, rather than negative signals or obstacles, you can change your relationship with your experience. From there, every challenge becomes an opportunity to get better. Embrace this mindset switch!
As things get busy and chaotic, it’s easy to lose sight of our initial motivation and get lost in the noise. New things come up, and sometimes the challenge seems to only get further and larger.
It’s therefore crucial to be able to see and feel that we are making progress. This helps us stay motivated, which helps us be consistent.
To feel and see progress, it helps to break things into smaller parts. Our path is usually made up of smaller wins and milestones that add up and lead us to our end-goal.
So commemorate your progress at each milestone and acknowledge that you are moving forward, and notice the distance you’ve come as opposed to looking only at how much is left.
Feedback & Support
Lastly, share your journey with a few trusted people; these people will be your fans. They can be friends, peers, or mentors. Tell them about your Why?
Fans are people who you think will support and cheer you on from the sidelines. They’re also a valuable source of feedback as you go along your journey, as they will be seeing the progress you’ve made from the start. Their distance helps them see the bigger picture.
Meet with fans periodically to share new updates and get their feedback; use the encouragement you get from them as a boost. They will be able to notice the progress you’ve made, as well as a few things you might have not picked up yourself.
Embrace and Repeat
One thing is for sure, and it’s that if you don’t at least try, then you’ll stay where you are.
It’s not supposed to be easy, but nothing usually is at first. Until you try, you won’t be able to get better. So embrace the process, follow it, and trust it. Find ways to get closer to what matters to you through action and intent.
One day you’ll suddenly be proficient at something that you weren’t before, and maybe–just maybe–you’ll think of taking on something new again.
Except that now you already know how to motivate yourself.