Motivation and the Self: Acceptance, Clarity, Connection, and Hope

Motivation is a state, not a trait.  Meaning, for all of us humans, our state of motivation fluctuates – it’s not stable or constant.  This is wonderful news because we know that our relationship with ourselves – in the moment – well, it has great bearing then on our state of motivation.

So, let’s focus on 4 things about our relationship with our Self that impact our motivation:

Acceptance, Clarity, Connection, And Hope

First off, Acceptance, Clarity, Connection, and Hope are not steps or stages to work through once – they are inter-related, they all impact each other and also our motivation.  Sometimes, when we’re not quite motivated, we may need to spend more time focusing on one thing and at other times, we might need to focus on a different part of our relationship with ourself.  

 

Let’s start with Acceptance.   

Acceptance is often something that we tend to forget or we move quickly past it into action.  Cultivating a practice of intentionally working to accept our circumstance and our experience of it is essential.  When we are accepting, we are allowing ourselves to see our circumstance as it is, in this moment – unfortunately, this is often so difficult to do and rather than accept we fight.  Too often our brain’s attention is either directed toward the past or the future.  We might find ourselves wishing some things didn’t happen, feeling stuck trying to undo something that’s already been done.  When we work to accept, we actually bring our brains back into this moment. Whatever it is, accepting it as it is allows us to remain curious.  So, when you find yourself disrupted, remember less fighting, more accepting.

Now let’s move on to Clarity.

Getting clarity about our purpose is vital.  I don’t mean this existential purpose for living, I mean having a crystal clear purpose for the reason or reasons for our action.  When we’re not clear, we tend to let self-protection become our default reason – especially when things get challenging, difficult, or disruptive.  Our brains are pretty good at shifting to removing the disrupting stimulus – whatever it is.  

To get clarity, try asking yourself “what about” instead of “why”.  What about reaching this goal matters to me?  What would it be like if I reached that goal?  This helps focus our brains on the implicit and explicit reward that comes after the work and brings the possibility of that reward into the immediate moment.  We’re always working to Connect ourselves back into the immediate moment. 

Connection

Connection is about accessing our four dimensions of knowing.  As you are reflecting on your relationship with yourself, consider what each dimension is telling you about this immediate moment.  Ask yourself, what are my thoughts trying to do for me right now?  What are my emotions trying to communicate to me?  What is my body positioning itself to go through?  What is my spirit connecting with, or perhaps what is my spirit yearning to connect with?  Each of these dimensions provides us with information about the meaning we are making of the moment.  As you access each dimension, allow that information to be present – whatever it is.  What’s helpful about that information?

 

Finally, we come to Hope. 

Hope is the belief that it is possible.  Hope allows us to look toward the future with a sense of possibility.  Hope for what is possible allows us to benchmark our right now with what could be.  Clarity helps us identify what the “it” is.  Acceptance allows us to size up the current situation and focus our attention on the next right thing.  Connection enables us to know our truth – our experience – of the current situation.  When they are combined with Hope, we often find that our state of motivation has improved.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s video from Casey, where he walks us through specific aspects of the ADW Profile that give us individualized insight into our own motivation patterns.  

Want more? 
Check out the Psychology at Work Podcast about Motivation, Clarity, and Hope