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Dealing with demotivation

In a recent survey we found that more than a quarter of L&D practitioners are lacking motivation and suffering from stress. This alarming finding has grave implications for those individuals and their organisations.

Many factors can cause or contribute to a lack of motivation. It’s natural for enthusiasm to slump if you feel unexcited about your work or if you feel unappreciated or unpopular. The obvious answer is to do something to change the situation but this can be difficult, particularly if you’re low on mental energy or willpower or if you’re feeling negative or demoralised. So what can you do?

1. Identify the root cause of your lack of motivation

When did you last feel proud of your work? What has changed since then? If you can identify the problem, there’s at least a chance that you can confront it. The same applies if you’re stressed. Can you isolate what’s causing your stress? Usually, it’s fear that underpins worry and tension. The challenge then is to acknowledge and overcome your fears.

In a separate industry survey we conducted last November, we found that the changing nature of the L&D role may be a source of strain for practitioners. Once, L&D was about delivering learning but now only 5% of L&D practitioners see their main role as an instructor. 56% claim their key role is being a facilitator, 24% cite content manager or curator and 15% say subject matter expert. It’s a challenge for anyone to stay on top of their game when the ground is shifting beneath their feet.

One way to improve your motivation is to find something that you really want to do. This may be something in your role or it might be something in your personal life. Whatever it is, take a small step towards it. Doing something positive and proactive towards a goal you believe in can be beneficial.

2. Change your routine

If you’ve been working in the same way for a long period of time, then try to break your habits. Start doing something new. Think about what drew you to a career in L&D in the first place and see if you can rekindle some of that enthusiasm and excitement in your role.

3. Remember, you can choose your own attitude

This is a central theme in the world’s best-selling training film, FISH! The film shows how the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle bring energy, commitment and fun to their work. An established resource for motivation and engagement training, it has struck a chord with employees throughout the world and its simple principles have helped organisations to create positive changes in attitudes and behaviour at work. Reminding yourself that you can choose your own attitude, and create a more positive mindset, really can make a difference to how you feel.

In another motivational film – called the Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor, who lectured on positive psychology for 12 years at Harvard University, explains that when our brains are primed to be positive, we perform better than when we’re in a negative or neutral state and, as a result, we become more resilient and our work becomes more enjoyable and rewarding. He argues that you just need to change the lens through which you view the world.

If you can express positivity, it can increase the positivity of those around you. So smile; make eye contact with others; give praise, thanks and positive feedback to others so people know when they’ve done a good job. Also, we all know that exercise releases positive endorphins and that when you exercise, you’re more likely to eat healthier. All of these things could help to improve your frame of mind.

In conclusion…

If you lack motivation you have to confront the problem and try to get yourself back on track. If you can’t, then don’t bottle it up. Talk to someone. Admitting to and dealing with stress or a lack of motivation isn’t a weakness, it’s a positive action.

Martin Addison is CEO of Video Arts. He can be contacted at info@videoarts.co.uk

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