One key aspect of leadership that people often skip over is motivation. Even if it is mentioned, the description lacks depth and useful tools.
Rather than explaining how to be continuously motivated, people just receive the sound yet vague advice: you just need motivation.
First, let’s break down the two main types of motivation, internal and external.
External motivation is most common. Many people experience this from a great speech, music lyrics, someone telling you that you aren’t good enough, competition, and other sources. This type of motivation is experienced on a day-to-day basis with many fluctuations. Here is the issue with external motivation: it’s external. If you remove the outside factor, then there is no motivation.
If one day someone says, “Wow! You let yourself go,you should really work out,” then maybe you are driven to exercise for the rest of the week. But then it stops. You find that whatever was pushing you towards your goal simply ceased to exist. All of a sudden, that couch looks a whole lot more rewarding than any gym does.
Internal motivation is much more difficult to explain because so few people experience it. Few people that achieve this level, but those who do become great leaders. They self-propel themselves and rein in daunting tasks that miraculously get completed. Day after day, month after month, these people don’t stop. These practices are simply ingrained into the fiber of their being, so anything that they want to achieve is just moments away.
For example, before Elon Musk made Space X, he knew barely anything about rocket propulsion and the physics and engineering that goes into the entire process of sending something into space without it exploding. Within a year (yes, only a year), he had absorbed so much material on those subjects that he was at the level of some scientists who had done their Ph.D.’s on the subject. That’s about 6 years of knowledge wrapped into one.
How did he do it? Internal motivation. When his focus wavered, he got back on track. If one day he didn’t feel like reading, he was able to motivate himself to do it.
This brings us to one of the fundamental characteristics that leaders have today: vision.
Vision and the awareness of long-term goals are the keys to internal motivation. We are surrounded by a world of instant gratification, which often causes us to ignore our deeper desires in life. The more you can picture, taste, feel, hear, and smell the reality that you envision for yourself and the world, the more motivated you will be to cast aside the instant gratification of today in exchange for the massive value that you will have in the future.
A Challenge For You
Write down what you want your life to be like a year from now. Make sure to include every experience that year-from-now person has from the moment they open their eyes to when they close them at the end of the day.
Who did that person help today? How much of a leader are they? What amazing things did they accomplish in just 24 hours? Write it all down.
Then write your 90-day action plan for how you will start the journey towards that future today. When you feel uninspired and unmotivated, take that piece of paper out and read every word. Remind yourself of what the future has in store for you. Remember the person that you are going to become.
After 90 days, you will have formed the habit of self-motivation. Here’s to your internally motivated year-from-now self.