5 Ways to Motivate Yourself (and Everyone Around You)

Like this on Facebook

To be seen as a leader at work, you’ll need the drive to consistently deliver superior results, the energy reserves to give a your colleagues a boost when they have a tough day, and the mental agility to be at the top of your game when you interact with senior leaders—so that they know you’re up for bigger challenges.

But, when you face the same ups and downs as everyone else in the office, it’s easier said than done. So what can be done to motivate the motivator?

One thing’s for sure: There’s no shortage of advice columns filled with tips that are less than realistic and far from sustainable. Researchers have found that an afternoon nap improves productivity, for example, but unless you work in a mattress showroom, that’s not exactly realistic. Neither is it especially helpful to know that athletes perform best after 10 hours of sleep or that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gets so much done because she needs only four hours of sleep. Let’s be honest: Not many of us are able to pull off either extreme.

So for the rest of us—those who want to maintain a high performance and be a role model to others without resorting to caffeine pills, cattle prods, and other unsustainable gimmicks—here are five research-backed ways to motivate yourself to remain at peak performance.

1. Arrive at Work in a Good Mood

Researchers Nancy Rothbard and Steffanie Wilk found that call center representatives in a Fortune 500 company who started the day in a good mood delivered superior results and felt more positive after their calls. Their colleagues who arrived in a bad mood , on the other hand, suffered a dip in productivity of up to 10%.

A positive mood lifts your brain’s dopamine levels, resulting in improved cognitive performance. So, build a mood-lifter into your commute, whether it’s listening to music, calling a friend for a virtual coffee chat, watching an uplifting TED talk, or catching a highlight from your favorite late night show, and enjoy the resulting boost in brainpower as you arrive at your desk.

2. Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

When McKinsey & Company studied the characteristics that drive and sustain top female leaders , energy management was discovered to be a common element of their success. Those leaders understood exactly what drained and sustained them, and I recommend you do the same.

Keep a log of your energetic peaks and valleys for at least a week, and from those insights, build a new routine. By paying close attention, you may learn to avoid the carb-heavy lunches that make you sleepy by 2 PM or to connect with a chatty team member early in the day , when you still have the energy to wrangle his or her whimsy.

3. Expand Your Capacity Like Athletes

Once you know your energy sources, you can “expand your capacity like elite athletes do,” a strategy advised by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement . They recommend approaching a typical workday like an interval training workout by arranging tasks into bursts of intense activity interspersed with breaks or lower-intensity activities.

What interval works best? K. Anders Ericsson, a psychology professor at Florida State University, found that high performing professionals—like elite athletes and musicians—maximize their performance with 90-minute bursts of activity. So, start there: Work, for example, on that PowerPoint presentation for a frenzied 90 minutes, then shake things up with a stretch break or walking meeting .

4. Be an Energizer

And once you have all that energy, don’t be stingy with it. Sharing it with others will motivate your team and boost your performance, too. According to The Hidden Power of Social Networks by Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, people who energize others are much higher performers, and they’re more likely to be heard and to have their ideas acted upon.

Just remember, being an energizer is a more subtle skill than being a cheerleading extrovert. Cross and Parker note that “energizers are not entertainers, or even necessarily very charismatic or intense. Rather, they bring themselves fully into an interaction.”

How exactly do you do that? Communications analytics company Quantified Impressions reported that simply making eye contact establishes an emotional connection with the person you’re speaking with. Want someone to know he or she has your undivided attention ? Put away your cell phone, lean toward him or her, and make eye contact.

5. Understand Your Goal Orientation

According to the article A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality by Carol Dweck and Ellen Leggett, there are two types of goal orientation. People with mastery orientation are motivated by the challenge of learning something new, while people with performance orientation do better when striving for excellence by using their existing skills.

For example, a mastery-oriented individual who is tasked with improving her help desk metrics might motivate herself with a goal to re-engineer the process for incoming requests and achieve that goal by delving into the latest research and speaking to experts in other organizations. Someone who is performance-oriented, on the other hand, would do better with a goal of lifting metrics 15% above last quarter, working toward that by reviewing individual metrics from prior months, identifying when he performed at his peak, and then replicating those successes while striving to push the bar higher.

Which type are you? Whichever it is, tailor your goals and how you achieve them to suit the style that best motivates you.

Once you’ve found your personal formula for self-motivation and rejuvenation, you’ll be better prepared to pay it forward and go beyond being a solo star performer who motivates only him or herself. Now you can begin lifting up others as you climb. Ask yourself: How will you motivate those around you?

Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

A few years ago, around the time when I was launching this blog, ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

Leaderly Quote: Harness your superpowers…
Leaderly Quote: Harness your superpowers…

Ask a woman to name her signature strengths and she’ll often squirm in her chair,

It’s OK to Ask For Help
It’s OK to Ask For Help

It’s easy to imagine that our role models, leaders, and other highly successful people have

Listen, Learn, Lead! Teleclass, Podcast & Radio Roundup
Listen, Learn, Lead! Teleclass, Podcast & Radio Roundup

Want to smarten up, expand your thinking, and procrastinate a bit longer on that tedious

Three Tricks to Step Up Your Self-Promotion Skills
Three Tricks to Step Up Your Self-Promotion Skills

I recently attended a women’s leadership dinner and heard a young woman ask the speaker—a

Leaderly Quote: Learn to just say no.
Leaderly Quote: Learn to just say no.

“Learn to just say no. No explanation, no excuse, no apology.”—Fawn Germer  

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Are you looking for motivation to help you take charge of your career trajectory? Here

Leaderly Quote: Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate
Leaderly Quote: Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate

Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate. You’ve heard it before: the squeaky wheel gets

5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand and Reputation at Work
5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand and Reputation at Work

The idea of being a “quiet leader” has always appealed to me. I was never

How to Assert Yourself When You’re Dismissed
How to Assert Yourself When You’re Dismissed

Have you ever sat in a meeting and felt ignored or utterly unimportant?  Perhaps you

The Best Advice Our Moms Gave Us
The Best Advice Our Moms Gave Us

Moms are always right.  Aren’t they?! In honor of the special guidance that so many

3 People Who Add Instant Influence to Your Network
3 People Who Add Instant Influence to Your Network

While it’s useful to cultivate an extensive network of professional contacts, it’s even more beneficial

Leaderly Quote: The world is not changed by people who sort of care.
Leaderly Quote: The world is not changed by people who sort of care.

”The world is not changed by people who sort of care,” says branding expert Sally Hogshead.

4 Ways to Shrink Your Wage Gap
4 Ways to Shrink Your Wage Gap

What to do if you think you’re paid less than your male colleague? Realizing you’re

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here are our most-read, most-popular, career changing articles this month on Be Leaderly. Which ones

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly