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Development: Turbo ‘self’-charged!

11 January 2021

What personal development positives have we learned in 2020 that we can use in 2021? A focus on motivation – yours and that of others – is a good place to start, says Michelle Hoskin, managing director of Standards International,

In my recent webinar with PP editor Rob Kingsbury we covered one of the most important things that has personally and positively impacted my life: self-determination and motivation.

I think it is safe to say that at some point in the last nine months many of us have felt at times like we have literally been hit by a bus! Despite my positive disposition, I have many times been well and truly in that camp – much to my personal disappointment – and because of this I think we all have big expectations for 2021 as, let’s face it, 2020 has literally been a write-off!

One of the concepts wrapped up in the theories behind self-determination and motivation is that we are all impacted by both extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) motivators.

External motivators could include elements such as our physical environment, compliance, rules and regulations, rewards and punishments. While our internal motivators could include interest, enjoyment, satisfaction and of course not forgetting our own personal values.

With 2021 looming, I think we need to continue this conversation!

Self-motivation – thanks, Dad!

My level of personal self-motivation is a gift that I inherited from my dad and thank goodness I did! It has at many points in my life pulled me out of many situations which at the time felt so unjust and unfair. But I was equipped with a drive and determination to never give up that has served me well and, my goodness, I am going to need it super charged to get me into and through what I believe is going to be a very tricky and turbulent 2021!

According to a 2000 paper by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci (‘Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being’, American Psychologist):

“Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function.”

Our social conditions continue to be subject to change and, while I am no fortune teller, I can’t see that changing any time soon and as such I think our levels of self-motivation are literally going to be tested to their limits!

My favourite bit of the paper says:

“Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulation of three innate psychological needs – competence, autonomy, and relatedness – which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being.”

So, let’s focus on what you can do, every day, to make a positive impact on the people you work and live with.

What can you do?

Let’s take a look at what can enhance a person’s level of motivation by keeping them engaged, on board and moving in the right direction… because the bad days are not over yet!

a) Show people that they matter and that you care

We all matter, we are all currently pulling out all the stops to keep motivated and engaged at work – and for some this is just the start! Keep your eyes and ears well and truly open. Notice what people say, what people don’t say and their tone of voice. Check out a person’s body language or level of eye contact on your team catch-ups. Check out how big their smile is, how they look, how they are dressed and the state of the environment they are working in. If something doesn’t look or feel right to you – say something! Raise it, don’t be scared or embarrassed: a simple ‘How are you today?’ could go a long way.

b) Give them recognition (public or private) and thanks

When we are trying to do it all and seem to be keeping it all together even in a time of crisis, we all want someone to recognise that we are! So, if you see someone in your team doing great work, handling a tricky situation or even just getting through the day without losing it – recognise them. Tell them they have done a great job!

c) Offer to help

I know you are busy, in fact I know you are likely to have enough work to last you a lifetime – but when we feel overwhelmed, we can also feel isolated, low and – in the worst cases – totally useless.

Just knowing that someone is there, that someone has our back, that someone would catch us if we did in actual fact fall, is sometimes all that we need – even if that person never moves a finger to help us ACTUALLY do anything – we know they are there and that is all that really matters.

So, take notice, show you care – and be there and be ready to catch!

This article was first published in the December 2020 issue of Professional Paraplanner.

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