How can I motivate myself? How can I motivate my team?
To be operating at our best and living a happy and satisfying life, whatever our circumstances, requires that we see meaning in our life and work. Not once and for all as in some eureka moment, but in the day-to-day life that we lead, in the work that we do, in the discovery of our talents and passion, and in our connections with others. Your meaning in life – what is most important to you, will get you out of bed in the mornings and keep getting you out of bed however tough life gets. So it is important to be consciously aware of what ‘that’ [your meaning in life] is for you and it is crucial to be aware of what it is for those you hope to motivate. If your life and work are looking devoid of this guiding star at the moment it might be in your best interest to find yours ASAP!
Victor Frankl tells us ‘life has a meaning until the last breath’. According to Frankl it is meaning in life that makes life worth living and he believed that without it people literally perish. He often quotes Nietzsche’s idea that ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how’. Frankl experienced the truth of that first hand in the Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War. When arrested and sent to Auschwitz in In 1942 Victor Frankl was a prominent Jewish psychiatrist in Vienna. His pregnant wife, parents, and extended family were also arrested and sent to different camps. He immediately noticed that some prisoners ‘gave up’ right away (symbolised by smoking their last cigarettes that could otherwise have been exchanged for food) while others continued to endure and survive long after they might have been expected to die given their injuries and malnourishment. Ever the psychiatrist he couldn’t help but ask why?
His insight was that it was about meaning: having a why to live made even the worst how endurable. Frankl’s personal meaning was his family. He visualised reuniting with his wife, imagining her as a light in the darkness. He looked for small joys – a sunrise, the birds singing, and a farmhouse in the distance. He fought against the pointless & backbreaking tasks the Nazi guards set the prisoners in order to rob them of meaning and break their spirits. Frankl describes how guards made the inmates move a pile of rocks from one side of the camp to the other and then back. He and his comrades devised strategies to plot the final resting place of rocks to give the task a meaning. It meant their spirits weren’t broken. When the war ended and the camps were liberated he learned that all of his family with the exception of his sister had been killed. His wife and his unborn child were dead. His meaning was gone but Victor did something extraordinary. He chose a new meaning, which became to share the importance of meaning in your life with the world. He went on to found a new field of therapy called logo therapy and to write (according to the American Library of Congress) one of the ten most influential books of all time. ‘Man’s search for meaning’
What makes for meaning will be individual for everyone and motivating to them – but only to them. Missions cannot be decreed by others or given to you by your line manager. They may change over time and you can pro-actively choose them. Frankl said ‘everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfilment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” The challenge in a good life and a great career is to find your purpose and to link everything that life throws at you and every daily task you do to it. When you do that, planning and time management become simpler; enjoyment and motivation soar; and you will become inspirational to those around you.
The mindful leadership trainings at 6th door are designed to help you find and develop your mission, and find your motivation to be an inspirational, mindful leader. When you are living on purpose, you effortlessly inspire those who you would seek to influence. And when you tap into what inspires them – their meaning and link it to their work, you will have your team bouncing out of bed to come to work too.