Decisions are often described as being made by the head or the heart (not to mention the gut). But does the same apply to motivation? Is motivation more effective when it led by your head or your heart?
Beyond the bottom line
This discussion was prompted at Lucy and Emma HQ thanks to a comment over on our Facebook page.
We’d asked people to share their successes and we received a comment from someone who was (rightly) delighted to have recently achieved five-star seller status on her eBay account. When we congratulated her she was quick to reply how much the success meant to her family.
Success motivated by the impact on others rather than immediate personal reward or purely bottom-line assessment. Interesting.
The problem with head-led goals
The head is fantastic for setting practical goals. “I want to write a book”, for example. But it is also really good at protecting you from anything new and out of your comfort zone.
Let’s say you’ve worked out that, in order to write a book while keeping your day job, you need to get up at 5am every morning. That early start would give you an hour or so before work every day to get words on the page. Logical.
But then your alarm goes off for that 5am start.
This is where your logical head kicks in as your biggest obstacle, rather than your motivator. It’s where you give yourself all of the reasons you need to hit snooze. “I’ll get up at 4 tomorrow to make up for it”. “I’ll write for an hour tonight instead”.
Let’s give heart-led goals a try
By letting your heart lead both how you set your goal and how you achieve it, you stand a much better chance of success.
Let’s look first at the goal. “I want to write a book”.
Why? And I mean really why?
Now, feel free to offer some noble motivators here. Perhaps you want to write a book in order to share your view of a topic close to your heart, or to redress the gender balance in your industry. Fantastic. Go for it.
But, be really honest. What does your heart want? Do you want to write a book because you long to see your name in print in Waterstones? Do you want to be able to see the look on the face of your ex/old teacher/colleague/anyone who’s ever told you that you couldn’t do it, as you strut past them, book in hand? Don’t be ashamed. Embrace your ‘why’.
Because it is this true ‘why’ that will get you out of bed at 5am to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
When your alarm sounds, rather than thinking about the practical goal, you picture your name on the spine of a book. And that book is on the bestseller shelf in Waterstones. And, is that your face on the ‘author signing coming soon’ poster over there in the corner? Wait… I think that lady holding your book is about to ask you for a selfie!!
That, right there. That surround-sound visualisation of what your heart truly wants is the motivation you need to resist the snooze button and to take action today that gets you closer to your goal.
Time for action
What does your heart want? Take some time out to think about your business or career goal from your heart’s perspective. Forget lofty goals for a minute and indulge in what is really behind your goal. Don’t be modest. No-one is judging.
Lead with your heart, create your own full sensory picture of what that success will look and FEEL like. And use that feeling to resist your own snooze button.
We’d love to hear your heart-led goals in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
Until next week…
Lucy and Emma | The Communication Coaches