How to Stay Motivated When You’re the Motivator

by Mark Sanborn

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Being a leader is rewarding, but it is also demanding. After all, if you’re a leader, you are expected to motivate others, but it’s often hard to keep yourself motivated. So how do you — the motivator — stay motivated? Here are some practical things you can do:

The first step is to get encouragement and insights from others. Consider a mentor. Find someone who is the kind of person you’d like to be and has accomplished some of the things you aspire to accomplish. Ask that person if they’d be willing to be your mentor. Make it clear to him or her that you’re not asking for a lot of their time, but rather an opportunity to occasionally check in with them for feedback, ideas and encouragement. You could suggest a periodic lunch where you’d treat for the benefit of their time and wisdom.

If having a personal mentor does not appeal to you, there are other ways for you to get the motivation you need. It’s not always necessary to have a personal relationship with a motivational source. Who are the people who inspire you? You can benefit from the good example of others even if you don’t know them personally. Study their lives and what makes them successful. You don’t need to completely reinvent the motivation wheel.

Read, listen, and learn. What you’re doing right now is a positive step in staying motivated and continuing to grow.
Is there an author or speaker whose work motivates you? You could stock up on that person’s books, CDs or videos and call on them any time you need to plug in. In fact, you have an advantage in that you’re not subject to the limitations of another person’s schedule. If you want an ongoing dose of inspiration, you can play a CD in your car daily. There are also books written by and about some of history’s greatest influencers that you can benefit from reading.

It is also good to have human interaction to stay motivated. Another option is to join a networking group or a mastermind group. The advantage of joining these types of groups is they afford you the opportunity to interact with likeminded individuals with similar ideals, responsibilities and aspirations. You will learn and grow from the experiences and knowledge of others.

Look inward. Make time to reflect on your life, experiences and accomplishments. Think about what you’ve learned. Appreciate how far you’ve come by recounting goals you once had that are now reality. Derive deserved satisfaction from recalling all the people you’ve helped.

You might benefit if you keep a journal. Journaling allows you to capture insights and ideas that might otherwise be lost. Make sure you record your insights and lessons, and not just your activities and experiences.
Make time for recreation and renewal. As the saying goes, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” While it can be challenging to break away completely for even a couple of days, periods of thorough rest are crucial to our well being.

Ultimately, your biggest motivator must be yourself. Use these ideas and develop an ongoing program of personal motivation and growth.

*This post originally appeared on MarkSanborn.com.

Hear more leadership wisdom from Mark in his interview with C-Suite Radio.


Mark SanbornMark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Sanborn is an international bestselling author and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Follow Mark on Twitter @Mark_Sanborn.