I was co-running a master class on motivation last week and although the focus was on motivating others the question came up as to who motivates you and how?  Now I like to think of myself as one of the world’s most self-motivated people but even I get down in the dumps sometimes.

Take this week for example.  I was building a new two day training course on ‘Communicating at Board Level’ (in fact I was getting very stressed about it). I had so many ideas spinning around my head I found it hard to group them in any logical order. And all the while I tried to motivate myself to work harder, potential participants were dropping off the course, making the whole process seem futile. Couple this with mental exhaustion, a nasty stomach bug, some disappointing business results and my favorite football team losing an important match, I found myself getting depressed for the first time in years.  It felt that a cloud had passed over me and would not budge.

On the motivation course, Erwin, one of the participants described self-motivation as: ‘it’s like when I wake up in the morning. I feel so tired and staying in bed is the only thing I want to do. But then gradually my mind goes over the things I need to do that day. I start to think about getting the children ready for school and an important meeting I have to attend; the volleyball match that I must play in the evening and bit by bit my brain wakes up to the reality that I am needed, that I have a small but important role to play in society and that is enough to motivate me to get out of my nice warm bed and into the shower and off to work.’

In my particular case this week, I was re-motivated by just a few kind words from my wife and some support from the person I am building the training course with. Also my stomach bug went away and with it the little cloud that hung over my head.  So I decided to skip off work for a couple of hours (after all it was a national holiday) and I lay in a sun lounger for an hour and later took the motorbike out. 

So who, or what, motivates you when you are down? I would love to know. It could help me to understand how to motivate others better, there’s room for improvement in everyone it seems,

Have a good week,

Harley