How to Use the Power of Vision to Get Motivated

If you’re struggling to get motivated, this article is for you.  I will teach you quickly how to find the motivation you need.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is trying to push yourself to do something you really would rather not do.  If it’s something you would like to do, you wouldn’t need motivation; you’d just go do it!

We seek motivation when we’re doing a job that we know is important, but we really don’t want to do.  This includes jobs like:

  • Working out
  • Losing weight
  • Making cold calls
  • Saving money
  • Having tough conversations with difficult people
  • Starting that impossible project

What is vision?

Vision, on the other hand is completely different.  Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion.  Vision is the ultimate great thing we’re reaching for when we try to get motivated.  Here is the motivation list put side by side with the vision list; those things you’re really trying to achieve:

Working out Looking and feeling great
Losing weight Feeling good in your clothes, being healthy long term
Making cold calls Achieving a superior income
Saving money Having financial security
Having tough conversations Making a harmonious workplace
Starting that impossible project Getting the results from the project

Why do we procrastinate?

Procrastination is most often due to 5 factors:

  1. Fear of failure: Sometimes we put things off because we really don’t think we’ll be able to do them well. We’re embarrassed and don’t want to look like a failure.  This is understandable and has nothing to do with work ethic.
  2. Fear of conflict: Often we procrastinate because we believe that the task will put us at odds with others.  We’ll be in conflict over resources or misaligned goals and it’s easier to put it off than to face the conflict.
  3. Timing: The consequences of procrastination seem far in the future, while the benefits of it are immediate.  Why quit smoking today when you might be free of consequences for the next 25 years?
  4. Unpleasant tasks: What you loathe, someone else loves!  If a task is not a fit for your personality, you’re not going to want to do it.  You’re going to find every reason possible to put it off.
  5. Lack of vision: All of these are preceded by a lack of vision.  When the ‘why’ is strong enough, the ‘how’ becomes clearer.

To get past these procrastination factors, you must articulate a vision that you care about achieving!

Vision precedes motivation

Here’s a saying that is a truism about life and about motivation:  You can’t push a string.

No matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work.  You can only pull a string.  So it is with vision and motivation.  Once you’re being pulled toward your bigger future, motivation comes on its own.

“If you’re working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed; the vision pulls you.”

– Steve Jobs

Check out this course on building your 10-year vision:

Do you want it or does someone else want it for you?

At the end of the day, you can’t make a grown up do something they don’t want to do, no matter how much you want them to do it!

Here are some very poor motivators for long term change:

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • What others think your life should look like
  • Other external pressures

If it’s just your spouse who wants you to change, give it up now.  It’s not going to happen.

Excellent motivators for long term change:

  • Desire to improve
  • Helping/contributing to the lives of others
  • Making change to avoid consequences you don’t want in the future
  • An exciting vision of a bigger, happier, more exciting future

Real change that sticks long term is motivated internally.  You do it because you want it.  Not because someone else wants it for you.

If you really don’t want it, or don’t have the headspace to deal with it at the moment, release it.  It’s okay, just be honest with yourself, put it on a list for another time, and be free of it.  There’s no point in feeling guilty and not getting it done.  Release yourself from guilt and do what you can do today.

It’s your job to get (and keep) yourself fired up!

If you’re the leader, no one else can do this for you.  It’s your job to get (and keep) yourself fired up.  That means reading the right books, interacting with exciting and challenging people, going to conferences, listening to podcasts, and keeping the vision in front of you.

In Summary

  1. Motivation is trying to convince yourself to do something you really don’t want to do
  2. Vision is building a picture of the future that produces passion in you
  3. We procrastinate because
    1. We fear failure
    2. We fear conflict
    3. The consequences of procrastination seem far away
    4. The jobs we have to do are unpleasant
    5. We lack vision
  4. Vision precedes motivation: once you have a clear vision of the future, motivation is easier
  5. Only pursue it if you really want it, not if someone else wants if for you. You can’t make a grown up do something they don’t want to do!
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