Monday, August 19, 2013

Motivation must come from within (what we can learn from football)

Our PMO manager at work wrote an internal blog post about people in a work situation with an increasing level of enthusiasm for their work. The first having no enthusiasm while the last one was really excited to contribute to God and the greater good. The question was how we all could become as enthusiastic and motivated as this last person.

I don’t have the need to work for God – or the shareholders if you wish. I do want to contribute to the greater good of the company but most of all I like to do a good job for myself and know that I’ve done a great job. But in the end, doing a good job and contributing to the greater good are basically the same. And in the end this will benefit the shareholders.

In the work situation there are always many things that are not going well and we all are very good in complaining about it. You run the risk that you only see the problems and forget the good things that happen.

It reminds me of my son. He is a good football player but currently plays in a team that is under performing – they are on the bottom of the ladder. The team has played some nice football and managed to score enough goals but unfortunately they managed to concede even more. I noticed that my son's performance was not anymore as it was in the beginning of the season. He was obviously getting a bit down of losing each game while putting so much effort in – and as it happened – having to compensate for the weaknesses. The result was that over time he was putting less effort in. Why bother if you are going to lose the game anyway?




So I sat down with him and tried to explain to him that the joy must come from within himself. Regardless of the total outcome, he needed to look at his own performance and if this was good, he should be proud and enjoy what went well. I showed to him (I make the odd video here and there) how he was able to perform better in the past. I knew he had a switch to simply step up.

The next game he had an outstanding game and scored two beautiful goals despite the team losing the game. His coaches and many of the parents complimented him on his performance. On the way home I asked him whether he had enjoyed the game more. Though still disappointed with the loss, the answer was clearly confirmatory.

It is important to celebrate the successes that you have and this celebration can be as simple as positive feedback. By looking at your successes in the past, you can motivate yourself and set yourself and the company up for success.

The PMO manager had another blog post about priming. You can prime yourself for success or failure. My son put in his mind the picture of how he can do well. And he did. At work, it is not much different.

But will others pick up from your motivation? Probably. My son played an excellent game again a week later but I noticed that the striker he pairs up with, worked also extremely hard and I was impressed with his game as well.

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