We started a short series awhile back on reaching your long term vision. Our first post focused on knowing what tasks to do today that will keep you moving in the right direction. Today, we tackle motivation to reach your long term vision.
In doing a little research to prepare for this post, we found a variety of tips and suggestions and, well, a bit of hogwash as well. We have culled through it to bring you practical advice on staying on track. Here, then are four key tips to stay focused and motivated in the long haul to get to your vision.
Make sure you have defined a “why”
First tip, develop a clear picture of your “Big Why”. It is not only important to know what your long-term vision is, but WHY you want to achieve it. What is the purpose behind the vision? One of the articles we read discussed the painstaking work of scientific researchers. They can spend years, even decades, carefully pursuing their goal – even though they receive little if any feedback and may never actually achieve success.
For this group, the motivation lies in the “why”. The why of preventing disease or finding a cure provides the initiative to get back to work day after day after day.
What is your “why” behind the vision? And is your why compelling enough to keep your motivation going through the long term? If not, you might consider gathering the team together and rethinking your purpose statement.
Review your biggest picture regularly
Tip #2 follows on the coattails of creating a solid enough “why” or purpose to keep your motivation. Take a frequent look at your purpose and vision statement. We encourage our Vision Navigation® clients to revisit their strategic plan at least monthly to assess progress and make needed revisions to their assigned tasks. When you look over your plan, however, don’t focus only on the tasks due that month. Have the team review your purpose and vision statements. Talk about why you are in this game and what successes or progress you have noted in the past month’s work.
Why are you doing what you are doing? Why is it important? Why should you continue to care month after month that you are getting there? Answer those questions regularly and revise your purpose or vision if needed to make sure they are still motivating.
Celebrate your wins
In the previous post, we discussed how to scale the big picture down to what you can do today. Several of the resources we found commented on the value of a singular focus, what can I do today that moves me in the right direction.
Tip #3 expands on that task of staying focused and completing one task at a time. In our research, we found several suggestions to celebrate your accomplishments. Too often when a large, long-term project is on the to-do list, the celebration of accomplishment is held off until the end. However, small rewards for small steps can be just the motivation needed to keep going. Everything from an unexpected box of donuts to a monetary bonus can help to keep a team driving forward on its long term goals. How can your team celebrate the progress being made?
Develop a Baseline
And finally, some sound advice from a blog by Scott H. Young. “The best way to stay motivated is to not need motivation in the first place. If you’re constantly needing all your emotional cylinders to be driving at full force to get work done, you’re going to get stuck in long projects.”
Scott proposes developing a baseline or default level of activity. What level of work can you commit to week in and week out? How much time will you give regardless of motivation or rewards or other urgent tasks that are screaming at you from the to-do list? We ask this of our Vision Navigation® clients. As they look at the plan they have laid out for the coming year, we ask each team member to assess the time they can devote to this work, and make sure the tasks they have given themselves don’t overstep that limit.
Develop the commitment to complete a consistent baseline amount of work on your strategic goals and projects each day or week – an amount of work that requires no motivation. It needs to be high enough to reach your goal, but not so high that you decide you can’t possibly keep that commitment even while you are setting it.
“People who finish long projects don’t necessarily have more motivation. But they do have a higher baseline. The amount they do with zero motivation is high enough, that they don’t need to be pumped up every day to stay productive. They can have moments of doubt or disinterest, and they still get work done.”
Make your baseline your default. You simply have to do that much each day or week. Period. Hold yourself and your fellow team members accountable to their baseline commitment. Then, celebrate the success you are making.
Success and motivation for the long haul are possible. Try these four tips to help you get there.
Got an additional idea? We would love to hear from you. Drop us an email with your thoughts.