Everyone is looking for the perfect formula to stay motivated amidst navigating a new, changed world. With the world still grappling with the nuances leftover from 2020, 57 percent of people in Canada have yet to set any goals for the New Year.
The reality is, the world has evolved, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Zoom fatigue is the new ailment. Shaking hands is weird. And God forbid if you forget to unmute yourself in a virtual meeting.
Recently, the Mental Health Index of Canada Report confirmed that this lack of motivation is from the continuous strain of uncertainty. The decline in motivation is concerning, as it can lead to high levels of emotional exhaustion. In summary, peoples’ emotional thresholds are low, and it is significantly impacting their motivation.
Nobody will ever be able to control the unknown; there is no formula for that, such as how people cannot control most extrinsic factors, like compensation. However, there is one valuable intrinsic formula that people can control, which will motivate them from their emotions and feelings.
By looking within intrinsic motivational factors and becoming more self-aware of what brings passion and joy into your life, the formula to staying motivated is rooted in emotional intelligence.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Like how people cannot control the ever-changing world, people cannot control the extrinsic motivational factors in their workplace. Extrinsic motivations involve material benefits such as bonuses, perks, and rewards. It is a given that people need a salary to survive, but it isn’t the money that gets you up every morning with passion and ambition to start the workday.
Unlike extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation stems from internal values that will not diminish over time. No matter what state people are in, whether it’s pursuing a new career direction or managing upcoming personal situations, intrinsic motivations are deeply rooted inside us.
When uncertainty is running rampant, people should be turning inward to discover what their intrinsic motivators are.
Therefore, the first step to the motivation formula is self-awareness.
Self Awareness: Discovering Your Motivation
Enhancing Your Emotional Self-Awareness outlines self-awareness as the ability to understand your own needs, beliefs, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. The more people self-reflect on how they feel, the easier it will be to identify their motivational needs.
A good question to ask yourself is, what drives your ambition? It creates the opportunity to visualize what purpose looks, feels, and means to you by asking this question.
As we learned, external ambitions like money and material possessions can only go so far, especially with our current world’s instability. Instead, challenge yourself to look beyond external initiatives to find what truly motivates you.
For example, think of a time when you were thriving. How did it make you feel? What were the driving factors involved in your feelings of motivation?
Most people may start referring to external factors like money. But, after practicing self-awareness and focusing more on feelings rather than stability, people will start clinging to motivations like connecting with people, helping someone through a problem, or teaching someone a new skill.
Everyone’s motivational makeup is going to be different, hence making a formula near impossible to duplicate. However, we now know that we can only control how we feel and act towards staying motivated. Thus, it is essential to navigate through our motivational journey by using a formula rooted in emotional intelligence.
The Formula to Staying Motivated: An Emotional Intelligence Equation
EI Experience has developed a formula based on Connection, Appreciation, and Fulfilment. Once people have an idea of their internal motivations, they can route those feelings in how they want to feel connected to their peers, appreciated by their superiors and fulfilled by their day to day duties.
How to Lead Through Change With Emotional Intelligence describes the formula to keep people engaged and motivated at work during changing times. The truth is, when people feel connected to their team, appreciated for their efforts, and fulfilled in their job, it improves how they feel and perform at work.
So, how does the formula work?
Connection is an essential piece to lower anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and improve overall wellbeing. If people or leaders fail to make connection a priority, the motivation formula is ineffective.
Think of the formula as a multiplication question (see below). If any of these factors are at 0, the entire equation will be at a 0. Staying motivated is about balance. Connection is the critical piece required to stay engaged at work.
Connection X Appreciation X Fulfillment = Motivated
Considering that connection has been difficult as of late, it makes sense why 4 out of 10 people are feeling less motivated. Connection can start internally by making it a priority to reach out to friends and family. Think about what you need to do to feel connected daily.
Connection is also a necessary component of workplace motivation, in the sense that leaders of today need to ensure their employees feel connected to their peers.
The best way to understand your appreciation is to ask yourself – when is the last time you felt appreciated? What did someone do to make you feel this way? When was the last time you expressed appreciation to one of your colleagues?
Everyone wants to be appreciated differently. In The 5 Languages of Workplace Appreciation by Gary Chapman and Paul White, it lists out the different levels of appreciation employees require in order to stay motivated. As a leader, it is essential to ask your team how they want to be appreciated.
Some may require words of affirmation, where public recognition helps them feel more valued. Regularly reminding them how happy you are with their work helps reassure them that you appreciate them.
Employees that feel appreciated through quality time are motivated by having their undivided attention. Schedule one-on-one meetings with these individuals. By allowing uninterrupted time to talk, people who value quality time will build trust and strengthen relationships.
Others believe that actions speak louder than words and feel appreciated through acts of service. By offering a helping hand to these individuals, such as rolling up your sleeves and working with them on a project, you are showing them your appreciation.
Most people would not have a problem saying yes to a gift. However, some people value gifts as a sign of appreciation more than others. The key to this source of appreciation is putting value behind the gift given. For example, if a team member always talks about how they prefer tea over coffee, start filling the office with more tea options. While it may seem like a simple gesture, it showcases a high level of appreciation to these individuals.
A pat on the back may be the easiest way to appreciate team members that value physical touch. To appropriately navigate the physical touch appreciation, setting personal boundaries are necessary. But when done right, it can help foster a positive working relationship.
Self-actualization is one of the 15 emotional intelligence competencies. It is defined as the willingness to persistently improve oneself and engage in the pursuit of personally relevant and meaningful objectives that lead to a rich and enjoyable life. In other words, fulfillment. Everyone is trying to reach their highest level of satisfaction. However, everyone sees fulfillment differently. When looking at how to stay fulfilled, we must look deep into our intrinsic motivational factors and values.
Ask yourself, what would a perfect day entail? If you had to relive this day, every day for the rest of your entire life, would you be fulfilled? Motivated? Passionate? Some people would be happy waking up and working a typical nine-to-five workday where the tasks are the same every day, while others want to be continuously challenged in their duties at work.
What fulfillment comes down to is what you value personally and professionally. By aligning your values with your workplace situation, it helps you better align your career goals and maintain motivation intrinsically rather than relying on external factors like money and what others expect you to do.
Check-In With YOUR Motivation
The formula to staying motivated is going to look different for everyone. However, if we can route our motivation in our own emotions and values, we can control our life trajectory and maintain our motivation. where we can maintain that level of motivation.
If you are feeling unmotivated, check-in with yourself and look beyond the extrinsic motivators in your life. Sometimes we all need to look within ourselves to find our motivation; it’s there. We just haven’t found it yet.