Understanding why I lack motivation and discovering what will truly motivate me


Perhaps you have some great ideas at work but have a difficult time implementing. Or you begin yet never finish the task. Maybe you’re one of those people that has a million ideas and never knows where to start. Or only acts when you’re feeling inspired. 

It can feel so frustrating to get stuck in this cycle! 

So what are the two things that actually motivate us?

1. Fear 

I could get on a soapbox about this - but when someone tries to shame, guilt trip or scare someone into change, it’s never effective. And the same is true of ourselves. If we motivate ourselves through fear, we will never stay motivated. 

You’ll become burnt out, resent yourself, others or your situation. You really operate out of fight or flight when you’re in this space. 

Which means your operating out of survival instincts rather than using the parts of your brain that are needed for the task at hand. This means you can't be creative, learn, and exercise other vital skills needed to succeed. 

Ultimately making it very difficult to be productive, disciplined and creative in the work you do. 

2. Desire

At the core of each of us, we have deep desires that motivate every decision we make. 

Let’s be honest, if we only acted when we were feeling inspired - no one would ever get anything done. 

Do you think Olympic athletes wake up every day feeling motivated, inspired, and excited about working out for hours? I highly doubt it.

What we need is something more profound than a fleeting feeling to push us through. 

Ultimately, you can tell a person’s desires by their behavior. When we really want something, we’re willing to work for it. If I really want to lose 5 pounds, then I’ll say no to sweets. If I really want a new job, then I’ll work hard for it instead of talking about it forever. You get the idea.

But deep down, the deepest desires that motivate us are what fuels your day to day decisions. If in the deepest parts of my heart I know at the end of my life I want to have no regrets and be able to confidently say that I strived to glorify God in all I did then you’ll know that by how I lived my life. 

Instead of binging on Netflix when I get home from work maybe I’ll read something that nourishes my soul. Because I know the more I grow, the more I’m able to fulfill and move towards God’s calling on my life.

Within those two motivators, there may be other factors at play. If you’re lacking motivation or can’t seem to complete a task, it could be rooted in the following:

Simply stated a lack of reliable time management skills

Sometimes people generally just lack this skill because of basic personality traits, but more often, people who grow up in dysfunctional family systems can lack proper time management. When you grow up in chaos, it is nearly impossible to honestly know how to operate out of peace rather than the anxiety within. 

This is also evident when you’re operating out of fear. Maybe you grew up in a very manipulative or abusive home. If that’s the case, you sure as heck were filled with fear! That type of anxiety can seep into all that you do - work, life, relationships, you name it!

Having a false definition of success

As believers, we are successful based on the mere fact that we are loved by Jesus. 

Part of the calling on my life is being a mom. If I have a bad day and don’t respond in the best way to my child, does that make me a bad mom? No. That means I engaged in a negative behavior that I need to ask forgiveness for, but it doesn’t reflect my personhood. My identity isn’t rattled because I had an adverse action. 

Same thing in regards to work. Whether you’re CEO or just starting out at a new job - you are equally as successful. God has played you in your specific position for a reason. He has hand-picked you to fulfill this role. Whether you “succeed” from the world's standards isn’t reflective of how much money you make or what position you have. It’s reflective upon your being - You are a righteous and loved individual because that’s who God says you are. 

Once you and rest in this truth, you can do your job with peace in your heart. You won’t have anything to prove. You’ll be able to work hard and labor with integrity knowing that that’s enough. 

Another way to look at this is asking yourself, what’s my deepest desire? To love people and glorify God. Well, then, do that to the best of your ability. And trust that God’s got the rest. 

Lastly, and most prevalent, is a faulty belief system

If at the core of your being you believe the lie that you aren’t good enough, for example, then you will operate from this belief in all you do. 

You could put in a 60 hour work week, be the youngest to get promoted for your specific position or make the most money at the company. But if deep down you’re fueled by a lie then no matter what you accomplish, it’ll never be enough. 

You’ll never enjoy an achievement for what it is, nor will you ever be able to work with a heart settled in real peace. And you’ll be left with a hole inside of you that never entirely goes away. 

Maybe when you’re working, you’re unaware of it, but at night when things are quiet, you’re painfully aware of the gaping hole inside of you. 

Have you ever experienced that hole? 

Contact Lauren to learn more.