What makes people do what they do? Why do some people succeed while others fail? The answer just might be motivation. We know that from an early age motivation prompts us to want to learn and exhibit different types of behavior and stimulates us to accomplish new feats of success. As we grow and mature through the different stages of our lives, we hopefully learn what motivates us and what does not.
What is motivation? Motivation is generally defined as the force that compels us to action. It drives us to work hard and pushes us to succeed. Motivation influences our behavior and our ability to accomplish goals. There are many different forms of motivation. Each one influences behavior in its own unique way. No single type of motivation works for everyone. People’s personalities vary and so accordingly does the type of motivation, that is most effective at inspiring their conduct.
Types of Motivation
Incentive: This is a form of motivation that involves rewards, both monetary and non-monetary is often called incentive motivation. Many people are driven by the knowledge that they will be rewarded in some manner for achieving a certain target or goal. Bonuses and promotions are good examples of the type of incentives that are used for motivation.
Fear: This form of motivation involves consequences. This type of motivation is often one that is utilized when incentive motivation fails. In a business style of motivation often referred to as the, “carrot and stick”. It is where incentive is the carrot and fear is the stick. Punishment or negative consequences are a form of fear motivation. This type of motivation is commonly used to motivate students in the education system and also frequently in a professional setting to motivate employees. If we break the rules or fail to achieve the set goal, we are penalized in some way.
Achievement: This form of motivation is commonly referred to as the drive for competency. We are driven to achieve goals and tackle new challenges. We desire to improve skills and prove our competency both to others and to ourselves. Generally, this feeling of accomplishment and achievement is intrinsic in nature. However, in certain circumstances, motivation for achievement may involve external recognition. We often have a desire or need to receive positive feedback from both our peers and our superiors. This may include anything from an award to a simple pat on the back for a job well done.
Growth: The need for self-improvement is truly an internal motivation. A burning desire to increase our knowledge of ourselves and of the outside world can be a very strong form of motivation. We seek to learn and grow as individuals. Motivation for growth can also be seen in our yearning for change. Many of us are wired by our personality or upbringing to constantly seek a change in either our external or internal environment or knowledge. We view stagnation to be both negative and undesirable.
Power: The motivation for power can take the form of a desire for autonomy. We want to have choices and control over our own lives. We strive for the ability to direct the manner in which we live now and the way our lives will unfold in the future. The desire for power is stronger in some people than others. In some cases, the craving for power induces people to harmful, immoral or illegal behavior. In other situations, the longing for power is merely a desire to affect our behavior. We simply want to do what we want, according to our timetable, and the way we want it done.
Social: Many people are motivated by social factors. This may be a desire to belong and to be accepted by a specific peer group or a desire to relate to the people in our sphere or in the larger world. We have an innate need to feel a connection with others. We also have the need for acceptance and affiliation. A genuine and passionate desire to contribute and to make a difference in the lives of others can be another form of social motivation. If we have a longing to make a contribution to the world around us, it is generally a sign that we are motivated by social factors.
The real importance of understanding the different types of motivation is in our ability to determine which form of motivation is the most effective for inspiring the desired behavior in either others or ourselves. None of these styles of motivation is inherently good or bad, the positive or negative outcome is truly determined by the way they are used.
If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals or for them to be the best they can be. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you who are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.
Being able to motivate people is one key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help from others. So, here are seven ways to help motivate others even you can do.
1. Listen: Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage; then continue through these steps.
2. Ask open-ended questions: Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with the following: “What have you always wanted to do?” “Why do you want to do that?” “What makes you so excited about it?” “How long has that been your dream?” You need this information to help you with the following steps.
3. Encourage: This is an important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared to fail or look stupid. As a result, many of them never try to reach their goals, which is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example, if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”
4. Ask about the first step: After you’ve encouraged them, find out how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.
5. Dream: This is a fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.
6. Ask how you can help: Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.
7. Follow up: Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.
By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about reaching your goals. In the end, you’ll be surrounded by successful people and in turn, others will want to help you reach your dreams … Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!
To Your Success