Doug Dvorak's Blog

How to Turn Unmotivated into Motivated

It is not at all uncommon to hear unmotivated people complain about their job being or that they are stuck in a rut. Invariably, they believe that if they could just get the right break, their life would be different.
Day in and day out, these individuals just go through the motions, often not feeling very good about themselves, their abilities or their potential. In fact, the job they say is holding them back has become a scapegoat for everything they feel powerless to change in the lives.
On the flip side, the opposite is true of people was are truly personally motivated to do their best in every area of their lives. Whether it’s their families, their hobbies or their careers, they strive to do as well as they can in everything they do.
Motivated people look at a job for its potential and they strive to learn as much as possible, experience as much as they can and develop their skillset to the fullest extent. They see their job as a step on the path to where they are going and not a final destination.
Motivated vs. unmotivated
First, it’s important to understand that just like mental toughness for an athlete, motivation is more often than not a learned skill. While it’s true some people are just born with the drive to succeed at everything they do, others must work at it.
The trick is finding what motivates you and creating an environment that lends itself to that end. Maybe you legitimately find your job boring, uninteresting or even unnecessary, but you love being part of a team effort. In a case like this, a skilled motivation coach or speaker will help you find ways to create that in your current job.
The exciting thing about all of this is that given the right guidance, even the most unmotivated complainer can learn to change and create an upward spiral of motivation and accomplishment that bleeds into every area of their lives. It all starts by setting small goals and seeing those goals provide a positive impact on your life.
Motivation of this type – which is internal and personal – is very powerful when it comes to creating opportunities to grow. By tasking yourself with a series of growth challenges, you will find ways to become better at your job or perhaps to develop the skillset needed to find the job you’ve felt you deserved.
Getting started with growth
If you’re an employer and you have unmotivated people working for you, the first thing you should do to help turn them around is invest in an expert who can help you tap into what really drives your team members. It’s probably the last thing you want to hear but it may not be the work or and of the traditional incentives you’ve tried to boost performance.
The right motivational coach will be able to come in and very quickly get a handle on what really gets your employees excited and animated. If you’re lucky, they might even help you come up with some “outside the box” incentives for your team that you would never have come up with on your own.
Obviously, working from home doesn’t have quite the cache that it once did as a perk or reward (thanks COVID) but you might just come up with something just as treasured by employees as that once was.
Create a map
The first thing that anyone that anyone struggling with motivation needs to do is develop a roadmap for their life. It should include both personal and professional goals and these goals should represent the things you want to do in your life, not the things you feel obligated to do.
Once you’ve written down all your ideas, you may choose to relegate some of these wants down to a second or third tier i.e. things that will happen as a result of achieving the goals on the top tier.
Once you understand your overarching main goals, you should start writing down the steps that will be necessary to achieve them. It’s incredible how often just achieving this task becomes a launchpad that drives all future motivation and success.
For example, if you’ve ever wanted to learn another language, write down all the steps you need to accomplish to get there. You’ll need to find a class, sign up for the class, attend the class and so on. Even if this isn’t the most important thing in your life or won’t put food on the table like your job will, just the act of going through all these steps is giving you practical experience in getting things done and achieving goals.
This type of strategizing can be the difference between growing substantially and not growing at all. You know what they say about success? It breeds more success so start with something easily achievable and then aim your newfound motivation skills at bigger tasks.
Then as you continue to knock things off your lists, you will start experiencing a change in the way you see your situation and even how you see your “boring” job. Put that job in its correct place and work towards crossing it off your list.
It Works for Employers, too!
Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather have fully engaged and motivated employees working for you for shorter periods of time than a bunch of dead weight you eventually fire anyway because they’re unproductive and bad for everyone else’s morale? Of course, you would. It may take a little more work on your end to hire new staff more often, but you must weigh that against all the headaches unmotivated employees cause you while they’re with you over longer periods.
Perhaps that’s the next “work from home,” employers proactively taking a role in encouraging their employees’ career aspirations even if it means guiding them to another (non-competing, of course) company or a different career.
Who knows? If this becomes a thing, you might just get an even more motivated employee back from the company you just helped one of your people move to?
Regardless, whether you decide to bring in a motivational coach or speaker to help your employees or truly take an interest in the lives to help them go as far as they’re capable of going, everyone wins.


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