This last week I attended the High Performance Academy hosted and led by Brendon Buchard. My colleague, Melissa Smith, invited me to attend with her and since she offered me a free ticket, I thought, “Why not?”
I went into the experience with no expectations. Who is this Brendon Buchard guy?! All I knew is that he had written several best selling books on personal and professional development and that apparently Oprah consults with him on the reg.
While I had zero expectations, I would say, even if I had some good expectations, they would have been exceeded! It was a really great experience on many levels. I developed some important personal insights, reconnected with my values and enthusiasm for life, and left feeling energized, and committed to live my life with more intention.
Optimize Your Growth
The conference was full of helpful information on how to optimize your personal growth and productivity, and I wanted to talk about one of the pieces that felt really relevant for me.
One thing I struggle with is productivity. I get done what I need to get done, but I stop there. This has been frustrating for me over the years as I’ve had opportunities to contribute to really great projects, but due to my lack of ability to get my shit together, I’ve lost out. I’ve lamented to myself, “Why can’t I be more motivated?!” I leave a meeting feeling fired up about a project but within hours, that enthusiasm has fizzled and I go back to living my life reactively, instead of proactively.
Brendon explained that motivation isn’t something we can simply will into being. Whaaa??? I totally thought I just needed to be better at convincing myself to be more motivated! No, that doesn’t work and it felt super freeing to let go of the guilt that I am somehow defective in the motivation characteristic. Rather, Brendon explained that motivation is a byproduct of congruence, connection, and contribution. He explained that if we lack motivation in our lives, several processes are occurring that aren’t in alignment.
Congruence, Connection & Contribution
Congruence is defined by the trusty dictionary as, the quality or state of agreeing or corresponding. What this means is, “Am I who I want to be? Who I know I can be? Am I being intentional about who I am each day and what I want to do? Am I aligned with my values and sense of personal truth?” When we feel a sense of congruence and are able to show up in our lives authentically, we naturally move toward intrinsic motivation.
Connection refers to our relationships with others. This is both professionally and personally. Do I feel connected in meaningful ways to those who are important to me? Am I present with them when we are together? A crucial piece to this concept is the emphasis on consistency of effort. I feel I have really great people in my life whom I feel close to, but I fall apart on the consistency piece of this equation. I will even tell people, “I’m a low maintenance friend.” I don’t require much from others but I’m also inconsistent in how I show up in their lives.
If we want to feel more motivated in our lives, we need to be proactive, present, and consistent in establishing and maintaining vital and important relationships. Relationships give us life, meaning, and energy; all important qualities to have if we want to feel motivated. So, I’m going to step of my game and try to be a more consistent and present spouse, mom, daughter, sister, and friend!
Contribution speaks to our ability to be generous with our energy. Do we feel we are contributing meaningfully in our spheres of influence? At home? At work? In other circles of our lives? When we feel both that we have something to contribute and are contributing, this is self-reinforcing and we want to naturally expand that contribution. It’s hard to feel motivated if we aren’t tapped into a sense of giving of ourselves.
When these three attributes are in alignment, we move naturally into a motivated state. However, two important factors can interfere with that progress. Those factors are Control and Challenge.
Control & Challenge
Control speaks to our resistances. Either we are overly controlling and rigid in our lives and lack the important flexibility, and willingness to step into discomfort in order to grow; or we feel out of control and feel helpless in our ability to take charge of our own lives.
Challenge speaks to how reactive or proactive we are being in life. If the only challenges we are facing in life are those that are happening to us, we are living reactively. Life is hard and full of challenges. All the time. Sometimes those challenges are overwhelming by their nature. Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed by challenges that we feel helpless or a victim of our circumstances. This leads to feeling out of control.
Whether our lives are full of inherent challenges or not, we need to architect challenges for ourselves to promote our personal growth. We need to actively choose some challenges in our life to combat living reactively and step into living proactively. This is where goal-setting comes in. What I love about this concept is that, from a psychological perspective, we are naturally inclined toward growth and generating personal challenges. Why else would anyone ever run a marathon? Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we crave challenge and desire success. By choosing challenges, we propel ourselves to be more motivated and reap the rewards of increased confidence when we accomplish our goals.
This concept resonated the most with me as I feel I have been living my life for several years, from a reactive place. I’ve had a lot of challenges thrown my way the last several years that have depleted my energy and emotional resources. People who know my life understand why I live in “survival mode.” Even without extra challenges, I have three little kids at home who make my heart ache with love, but also leech my energy every, single, day. Can I hear an “Amen” from my fellow mamas out there? How can I choose more challenges when I can barely handle those I already face? But what feels so true, is that I need to. I am not content living reactively. I want more for myself and for my family.
So I am taking Brendon’s advice and architecting challenges and goals for myself. Ironically, starting this process, doesn’t make me feel more overwhelmed. Rather, I feel the opposite. I feel more energized, enthusiastic, and hopeful! I believe I can both become more of who I am meant to be in this life and serve others in the way I really want to! Wholly present, authentic, and connected.
Do any of these concepts in the motivation equation strike you as changes you need to make? If so, I hope you take on the challenge of change and growth. The good news is this equation is far from rocket science. It is simple and doable, but requires willingness to live more deliberately.