The Problem Is Not Always The Problem

The thing I love about helping people take control of their lives are the challenges it brings.

What most people think is the cause of their problem, it is totally different.

John presented feeling de-motivated. He had no energy, didn’t want to go to work and, when at work, wouldn’t hand in assignments until they were due.

While John was convinced his problem was a lack of motivation, he had no idea why he wasn’t motivated.

Did he like his work?

Sort of. He didn’t like the new area he had to work in. His boss had transferred him from sales to admin work and he felt he had to do a great job to impress the boss to get back to sales.

In order to feel motivated, there has to be a benefit.

John’s motivated. He’s motivated to stay home and avoid doing any work.

The thing to look for is what he fears about work.

Further questioning revealed John had a fear of failure, was a perfectionist and had very high expectations for what he needed to achieve.

All this lead to him placing a lot of pressure on himself to get everything perfect.

Because this was a new work area and he didn’t know all about it, he was making some minor mistakes.

He felt this looked bad for him so he tried harder to get it right. More pressure.

Every assignment had to be perfect.

Because he feared making mistakes, he was reluctant to start an assignment and left it to the last minute – thus placing more pressure on himself and increasing his chances of making a mistake.

This frustration resulted in him having no motivation. In his eyes, there was no benefit to completing the task.

A lack of motivation was not the problem. His fear of failure, high expectations and a need to be perfect were. As you will see shortly, there was also another problem.

The Solution

First, we identified the positives of the work he did. What was there to like about it?

Second, we began dealing with his fear of failure and got him to see it is OK to make mistakes. This is often the best way to learn. This also lowered his expectation of himself.

John said he felt better but he didn’t know for how long.

I asked “Are you an ‘all or nothing person’?”

“Yes” he replied.

This meant he was either TOTALLY better or he was still a failure. Even 95% better meant he was still a total failure in his eyes.

This had to be changed so he saw 50% as a big improvement and developed the attitude of improving on that. Any setback and he could quickly improve rather than sabotaging himself for being a failure.

Now he felt motivated to go to work, to do the assignments as he was given them and to focus on the benefits of doing all this.

If you are not feeling motivated to do something, either increase the need to do it by focusing on the benefits of getting it done, focus on what you love about the task you need to do or identify the fears that are holding you back.

Good luck.

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