20th May 2020

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach for my destination.

We have no control over the wind. However we CAN control how we work the sails.

The sails can be a metaphor for many things: resilience, awareness, thinking, behaviours and of course motivation.

What does that word motivation mean? You may say ‘get up and go’, commitment, drive. For me it is ‘purpose’; motivation is having a strong enough purpose to get through the days when you don’t feel like it. It’s the ‘why’.

The need for purpose is one of the defining characteristics of human beings. Humans crave purpose and can suffer serious psychological difficulties when we don’t have it. When we don’t have a sense of purpose in our lives, it can make us more vulnerable to boredom, anxiety and depression. On the other hand, having a strong sense of purpose can have a powerful positive effect. When you’re ‘in purpose’ that is, engaged with and working towards your purpose, life becomes easier, less complicated, and stressful. You become more mono-focussed, like an arrow flying towards its target, and your mind feels somehow taut and strong, with less space for negativity to seep in.

Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the enormity of a situation (where we are now is a good example). We can get a bit panic blind and not see what we can do to keep ourselves motivated. There is this feeling of responsibility to keep motivated and positive etc. When I see this happening either to myself or with others, I ask the question ‘how do you eat an elephant?’Well one bit at a time of course!’ This re-calibrates the brain and because the question comes from left field, it is a stop and think moment. This in turn helps to return to the ‘purpose’ and taking the situation, circumstance, project etc., one ‘bit’ at a time; break it down to manageable bite-size chunks.

To keep motivated start simple – it doesn’t need to be something enormous or grand for motivation to happen. Something as simple as having a favourite quote near you that you can see every day to keep you on purpose.

Motivation is made up of a number of different skills and abilities.

Self-awareness: One’s sense of self can play a major role in how you approach goals, tasks, and challenges. Understanding what turns the volume up in your motivation and what turns it down. What is your motivational self-awareness? Do you know what works for you and what doesn’t?

Track your progress: Keeping a tally of projects and accomplishments, what worked and what didn’t, this also helps in our self-motivation. When we understand self-motivation, we can keep focussed on the purpose and when we have the right purpose we keep motivated – remember a strong ‘why’ keeps us motivated for when we don’t feel like doing it.

Pick your company wisely: What I mean by that, is that you know who will be positive and negative in your life. Keep connections with those who are motivated and positive as those are the ones who will create ideas in you and see opportunities rather than obstacles

Help others: Share your ideas and help others get motivated. Seeing others motivated can keep your motivation going too. From this you can create motivation habits.

I can’t change the direction of the wind…

It is in how we interact with the wind that creates the ability to get to our destination. It is in our awareness of how we use our sails positively and with purpose that will give us the ability to motivate ourselves and others.

And always remember you can only eat an elephant one bit a time!

Louise Abercrombie,
L&D Facilitator
Learning and Development

Blackadders LLP




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