Motivation - the force that drives us and the force that enables us to continue to confront and overcome serious professional and personal challenges.
But where does motivation come from and can you make it on demand?
All of us know how we feel when we feel 'motivated'. We feel confident, energised and ready for any challenge people or life can put in our way. We also know how we feel when we feel 'demotivated'. Our confidence goes, we lose our passion and even small challenges can seem insurmountable.
I refer to motivation as 'noom'. Noom is an African word that describes motivation or more accurately, the zest for life. I explain noom by comparing our noom to an internal reservoir that we all have inside us. When we are motivated, the noom reservoir is full. When we are demotivated the noom reservoir is empty.
The slight challenge with the noom reservoir is that there is a hole at the bottom of the reservoir so our noom is draining out all the time. The good news is that the noom reservoir can be topped up so as long as more is going in than coming out we can maintain a state of high noom (not noon!)
Most of us know what sorts of things have the potential to drain our noom. As no one likes having a low noom feeling, we can be inclined to avoid noom drainers.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work. The reason this doesn't work is because there are certain things that we cannot afford to avoid. There are professional and personal challenges that we need to be able to confront and overcome, regardless of how much we think they will lower our noom.
For example, most leaders don't like having what some people call challenging conversations. The thought of having a challenging conversation with a colleague who may also be a friend creates anxiety and even fear. If we confront the challenge from a position of low noom, we are guaranteed a bad outcome, for everybody.
The best way to overcome challenges is with a state of high noom. While the anxiety may never go away completely, it is possible top up the noom reservoir before you are required to confront something you find stressful or even frightening.
So all we need to know is how to top up our noom reservoir and how to use our noom to overcome challenges we tend to avoid. In order to know how to top up our noom we need to know a number of things:
- What noom really is
- Where noom comes from (what tops up the reservoir)
- How to find top ups (they're everywhere)
- How to create your own top ups
- How to use noom to overcome challenging situations
- How to practice using noom to overcome challenging situations
- How to limit your noom drain to a minimum
- How to top up other people's noom
Leaders have a huge bearing on the noom of their people and their teams. Some leaders are good at consistently topping up noom and some are good at making it drain away quickly.
I am a firm believer that culture is more important than strategy. Creating a high noom culture is very possible and there are great examples everywhere.
It was my privilege to work with Michael O'Neill and the Northern Ireland Football Team in the early stages of qualification for Euro 2016. That was a high noom environment and the results were outstanding.
The same group of players who had won 1 out 10 in one qualifying campaign then only lost 1 out of 10 in another qualifying campaign. The people hadn't changed but their noom certainly had.
If you'd like to know more about running a Mastering your Motivation (noom) workshop for your people, please get in touch.