Provision #239: Get Motivated

Laser Provision

Many people have a hard time getting motivated, especially these days. For one reason or another, they’ve given up on taking the initiative to be their very best. They’re content to simply get through the day. Today we start a new series of Provisions, focused on finding, sustaining, and optimizing motivation.

LifeTrek Provision

Do any of these sound like you?

“About six months ago, my company went out of business. This was no fly-by-night operation. It was a big company that got chopped up, sold off, and put to bed. At first I was optimistic about my chances for finding a new position. My severance package even included the services of an outplacement firm. I went there every day, checked my email, submitted applications, polished my resume, and practiced my interviewing skills. But as the weeks turned into months, I grew discouraged. Then came September 11 and the bottom just seemed to fall out from under me.”

“I’m no longer motivated to get out there every day, like I used to be. I know I should be looking for work • just ask my wife • we’re using up our cash reserves and I’m losing my competitive edge. Who wants to hire someone who’s been out of work for more than a year? That sends the wrong message to a prospective employer. What I need is a kick in the pants and a lucky break. Maybe I should start my own company. Can you help me find the motivation to get back in the game?”

Or how about this one?

“I’ve tried everything to lose weight, and it just doesn’t work. I can gain weight just by visiting the Krispy Kreme Web site! It’s been years since I was even close to my ideal body weight. I’ve tried so many diet programs that I could write a book on how to lose weight. I know exactly what I need to do: eat less and exercise more. I know my food triggers and I know how much better I feel once those pounds start coming off. But right now I just don’t care.”

“I know that sounds ridiculous. It’s taking a toll on my health as well as on my family. My doctor tells me that I’m on the borderline for Type 2 diabetes. And my daughter worries that I’m digging my own grave. ‘Stop eating that,’ she says. And I know she’s right. But I don’t have it in me to say no. I go from giving in to one temptation after another. How do I get back on track? How do I get motivated to do the right thing?”

Perhaps one more will connect with your experience?

“Sometimes I think that my organization is the most dysfunctional organization around. We talk a good talk • leadership, teamwork, strategic planning, vision, continuous process improvement • but we don’t know how to walk the walk. It seems we’re always shooting ourselves in the foot. Some new urgency will come along, or a mandate from above, or a political battle, and before you know it we’re off helter-skelter in a new direction. It seems we can’t ever just set a target, stay focused, and knock it down.”

“I’m at the point of saying, ‘What’s the use?’ There was a time when I was motivated to do a great job. I would lie awake at night thinking, ‘How can we do this better?’ And I would show up on Monday morning with a plan for the day, the week, and the month. But my initiative has been undermined and overwhelmed. With so much interference, I’m content to just put in my time and get out the door. I don’t like being this way, but I’ve lost the fire in my belly. Can you assist me to rekindle the flame? I want to find the spark. I really do.”

Each of these appeals represents an increasingly common request to LifeTrek coaching. Perhaps it’s the time of year. With New Year’s resolutions still dancing in the air, people are concerned to find the motivation that will assist them to stay on track with their best intentions. And the self-help gurus are taking full advantage of the opportunity. Everywhere you look you can find thoughts, tips, and stories aimed at inspiring you to be your very best.

Or perhaps it’s the recession. The rest of the world has finally caught on to what the banking industry has known for a very long time: the times aren’t what they used to be. Hardly a day goes by in which there’s not another announcement of significant layoffs and downsizing. Yesterday’s headline read: “AT&T to cut 5,000 more jobs this year.” “Company to take a related $1 billion restructuring charge to cover the cost of those staff cuts as well as 5,100 others that were already planned.” Employee assistance programs are a booming business in the aught years of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, inspirational tips and employee assistance programs may not get to the heart of the matter. Tips are more about mental stimulation than real change. How many self-help books have you read only to end up no better off than you were before? Programs are more about technical assistance than real change. All the training and resources in the world cannot overcome an absence of inspiration, meaning, and love.

That’s why many people choose to work with a coach. In the presence of an unconditionally supportive partner, with creative listening skills and an abundance of energy, great strides can be taken to recover lost motivation and to live accordingly. In the weeks to come I want to share this process with you. Each week I will focus on a different strategy for finding, sustaining, and optimizing your motivation. It may not be as powerful as working one-on-one with a coach. But you can catch wind of the experience, right here, on the pages of LifeTrek Provisions. You can get motivated to be your very best and to live the life you love.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.

Interesting story about your experience with the bank. While in your case it may not be a customer service gaff, it brings to light the level of service that would or should be delivered by service organizations. You might want to do a piece on this. I don’t want to stray from your theme but it strikes me as an everyday occurrence when people commit and don’t deliver. I can’t tell you how many times I have been disappointed with customer service and I let them know (you know me). Interesting tension on this topic.

I grind flaxseeds and always thought that it was not as beneficial as the oil. Please if you will • share your “knowing” about what the ground flaxseeds offer in the way of good health in addition to getting ones system regular. (Ed. Note: Freshly ground flax seed gives you oil, protein, fiber, mucilage, minerals, vitamins, and lignans. The mucilage and lignans, which cannot be found in the oil, provide unique health benefits. It’s not that the oil is bad for you. It’s just that the flax seeds themselves are better for you.)

Your comment about time not mattering in your Ultra Marathon reveals the art of running. This is why I love long distance running so much. Time does not matter…and the paradox is that the less it matters, the better I seem to do.

I’ve been enjoying your weekly “Provision” articles. Congratulations on completing the recent Ultra Marathon in Indiana!

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of

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