Does Your Well Run Dry?Sep 04, 2023
My grandparents had a summer cabin in the Medicine Bow National Forest in Southern Wyoming. This was nothing fancy. it was built by hand and was a true log cabin. It never had indoor plumbing. There was an outhouse. We did not have electricity until almost 1970. To get water, there was a pump outside the front porch that you had to prime the pump to get the water to flow from the well. I spent many summers with my Mom and grandparents there. It was an ideal experience for a boy...except for my brothers that is. (Just kidding...kind of)
Then there was that summer when the well ran dry. I could tell my grandfather was deeply upset by this. For many days we had to go a few miles away and get water out of a pristine little creek that literally flowed out of the side of a mountain. No water in the well meant real trouble. Without water we could not drink, cook, wash, and so many other things we don't even think about in our world today. There is a happy ending to this story. The well had not run dry, we just could not access the water due to a faulty part in the pump. Once Grandpa fixed that, the water flowed freely again!
Those are wonderful memories. We saw just about every kind of wildlife you can imagine that inhabits that part of the country. We learned how to track, fish, build imaginary forts...it was wonderful.
Your internal well
Why share this part of my story? Because it is a great way to look at something in our lives today.
All of us have an "internal well" of motivation. Just like a water well, it is critical for our motivation well to replenish itself. We need to be able to go to our well and draw motivation and energy out of it every day. When our well of motivation is full, we can draw as much as we need. But if it is empty, what do you do? Unfortunately, many people go through every day with less motivation and energy than they need. Their well is running dry and not replenishing. We have all been there. Not a fun place to be.
When I say "internal well" of motivation, what am I talking about? Some call it intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is very different than external or extrinsic motivation. Those are things like money, fame, appreciation, recognition, status, and promotions. The problem with external motivators is that they are short lived and unreliable. You cannot count on these happening enough or when you need to boost your motivation. Think back to the last time you got a raise or a bonus. How long did that feeling of enhanced motivation last? Research tells us it lasts about 10 days...10 DAYS! Wow, not a way to fill up your motivation well for the long term.
Internal (or intrinsic) motivation is critical to our long term ability to perform and succeed. But where does it come from?
There is a specific "pathway" that helps us understand how our internal motivation works. Here is one way to think of this:
- We all have things we believe to be true about ourselves and our place in the world.
- From these beliefs, we create a set of rules we live by.
- From our beliefs and rules, comes our self-talk.
- Self-talk has a massive impact on our motivation. Here is a podcast episode with more insights: The Power of Self-talk
Our beliefs, values, purpose in life are key elements in building intrinsic motivation. It makes sense if we consider this. The things that are important to us internally are the things which impact the generation of internal motivation, our source of energy. The stronger these are, the more we rely on these, the more we reduce the impact of external circumstances and grow our internal resources.
Intrinsic motivation is a very important internal resource. It is motivation and energy you can count on. If you have built it, it will be there when you need it.
Measuring Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation can be measured. There are several assessments that do an excellent job of measuring this critical success factor. One of these is the SEI assessment from Six Seconds. This is an EQ/neuroscience based assessment that directly measures intrinsic motivation.
This is a graphic out of the SEI-LTC assessment from Six Seconds. These are leadership/EQ skills/competency measures. These measures are incredibly useful in hiring the right fit candidates or in developing people within an organization.
This is just one example of an assessment that measures motivation. There are others that provide deeper insight and different ways to measure someone's motivation or motivators. Talk to a certified assessment professional for a full list of these assessments. We would be happy to have that discussion with you. Connect with us here.
Measure what matters
How much internal motivation do you have? I know...some days are better than others. What I am really asking is do you have an actual way to measure your current level of intrinsic motivation. Without that, you can't really enhance the amount of motivation in your internal well of motivation. Good data leads to good insights which leads to the right path forward.
You do not have to try to figure this out on your own. Some really smart and helpful people have created tools we can use to better understand this thing called motivation. Are you motivated to learn more? I certainly hope so!
For more, check out our other resources:
Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected].
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