Did I do my best?

Those of you who have experienced coaching will know that one of the powerful outcomes is having a goal setting champion, a person who is able to help you explore more deeply and widely, and have insights into areas of your life where you may have been feeling ‘stuck’. Through a careful strategic goal journey, you find yourself having greater awareness and learning more about yourself each step of the way.

It’s a thrilling process, often energizing both the coach and the coachee as goals are set, progressed and hopefully ultimately ticked off and celebrated. There is, however, one consistent theme – setting and making progress with our goals means we are going to need to take personal responsibility and change something in our life. And the truth is that most of us simply don’t like change!

For many reasons – we may feel comfortable in our stuck positions and steer away from the energy it takes to change, or perhaps we don’t have the awareness to recognize that our patterns of behavior or our choices in life are harming us or those we befriend, work with or love.

I’m sure you all agree that it takes some kind of motivation to start setting goals, and even more to make personal changes and persevere with them! There are two kinds of motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. We’re all familiar with the Extrinsic kind – those award programs, certificates and badges of achievement bestowed on us from others when we achieve something in life.

But what about the far more important Intrinsic kind, coming from deep within ourselves like the lava flowing from a volcano with its own energy and force. Determined to surface and make itself known and propel us towards our own success!

Do I have any of this kind of motivation, you may ask?

  • Am I naturally curious about life happening around me – the people I interact with every day, my colleagues, my peers, my family and friends?
  • Do I give people my full attention when they speak to me? How do I choose to engage with people? Am I multitasking, or too busy to pay attention to those I meet every day?
  • On a scale of 1-10, what is my level of awareness about myself? Am I in tune with my priorities or what feels important to me?
  • How do I feel about the choices I’m making in different areas of my life?
  • What difference would it make to me if I held myself to account in putting more effort into my goals?
  • Do I understand even what my greater purpose in life is?
  • What would I want people to be saying about me at my eulogy?

Because this type of Intrinsic Motivation demands a high level of self-awareness, curiosity and a drive to take action. It is also shrouded in optimism, and a belief in where we’re heading. Even more than all these things, it’s a belief that we deserve to get there because of the effort we’re prepared to put into each step along the way. A massive brick wall is built one carefully laid brick at a time, but the design of the wall was there from the beginning.

Many secondary and tertiary students benefit from experiencing UBalancer coaching, and follow a Neuro-leadership style goal setting progress. It’s a wonderful personal learning journey where they fire up academic and life goals. I have noticed that one thing sets these students apart – those with Intrinsic motivation are able to keep their awareness going, stick to their goals and make great strides in achieving their dreams.

I recently enjoyed reading a wonderful book about behavioral change, called ‘Trigger’ by Marshall Goldsmith, corporate America’s preeminent executive coach. I often reflect on why students who have great opportunities don’t grasp the chance to study hard and Goldsmith was able to provide some answers.

He says that no one can make us change unless we truly want to change? No-one can get us to develop a love of learning unless we have that Intrinsic Motivation, and belief in where we’re heading and the difference undertaking study is going to make in our life.

So how can we work on our Intrinsic Motivation and keep ourselves on track to achieving our goals? Goldsmith proposes a DAILY QUESTIONS process where we set ourselves a few ‘goal relevant’ questions, and score ourselves on a 1- 10 scale each day (to have a better level of commitment and more discipline with our goals).

An example might look something like this:

  • Did I do my best to learn something new today?
  • Did I do my best to complete the online learning module set for today?
  • Did I do my best to get a good night’s sleep?
  • Did I do my best to exercise for one hour today?
  • Did I do my best to spend an hour with my family today?

These questions can change at any time – keeping them relevant to the goals you are working on at that time! What a great idea! I’m going to give it a try and encourage you to do the same! Let’s kick start that Intrinsic Motivation!

Cheers Alison
Reference: Triggers Marshall Goldsmith 2015 (Crown Business)