My interest in the field of human motivation is one of the main foundations of my coaching. I find it rather fascinating, as it allows me to dig deeper into what drives each of us as we soon as we wake up in the morning, why we do the things we do, what’s behind all of it. The way how our motivation is consciously or unconsciously connected with our life goals excites me day by day. In addition to this there is of course a desire to help people who struggle with motivation and all that self-negative talk that builds up frustration, stress and in some severe cases, depression and anxiety.
We all have something to achieve in life. We all want our dreams to come true. Even those of us that think they don’t have anything to look forward to, are deep inside driven to manifest something, to be more.
I’ve been working in the corporate world for over 12 years and I’ve mostly been surrounded with ambitious people eager to achieve – and overachieve their goals in their career, most of times – I must say – at the expense of other areas in their lives.
It’s all about balance at the end of the day. Knowing how to make that balance work is key. This is why we need to pause now and then, reassess what we are doing, prioritising but without being at too narrowly focused.
If you – like me on occasions – constantly feel the need to do and be more, I’m pretty sure the pandemic has presented some “opportunities” where we have felt guilty. We may have fallen into the trap of guilt when we have watched our favourite series on Netflix; when we have lied on our favourite couch reading a book or listening to music. There are so many examples I could share.
The pandemic with its restrictions has maybe caused us to be not very objective.
If this resonates to you, well, you just need to stop feeling guilty. As the social psychologist Devon Price states, humans are unable to be fully objective and therefore use external cues as an “anchor” to help us gauge whether we are spending our time well enough.
Also recent studies have found the productivity in the UK has gone up since working from home in lockdown. There have also been a number of studies showing that people have been putting in more hours working remotely this past year.
I often here from many people I work with that having no other choice than working from home has caused them to have no boundaries between their work and their life. I also hear that the fact of staying in the same physical place makes it easier for them to compromise their work life balance.
The stories they share really speak to my heart - I've fallen into this trap and have found myself quite challenging initially to get out of this state of mind. In my case it just became a robotic approach to my work, when each time I would accomplish a task, I would get a dopamine boost. In addition to this the inner chatter with myself made the whole thing more difficult. I would often tell myself that I had the comfort of being working from home and that I had to show to myself - and others - to be more productive. If I thought I wasn't "performing", I would feel guilty.
I wasn't objective at all.
I had completely forgotten my commute to the offices prior to the pandemic - living in London, I would take the tube to get to work. It would usually take me 40 minutes to get to my destination. Well, those 40 minutes were rather precious to me: I would spend them reading my favourite book or listening to my favourite podcast. Then I would enjoy coffee or tea at my favourite cafe'. This morning ritual would enable me to feel more connected with myself and more present at work.
I had forgotten the times I would chat around the water cooler, the times I would leave my desk and see a colleague for help, the lunch breaks, the walks along the Thames.
Some mindfulness exercises along with the spirituality I have embraced in my life have helped me reconnect with myself and gradually build some new rituals during the pandemic. I now make my prayers in the morning after I take a hot steamy shower, I cook myself a nice breakfast, I read or listen to something to elevate my knowledge. I then start my day with more gratitude and energy. I also make sure I celebrate the end of each workday in different ways: going out for a walk, having a zoom chat with a friend or taking an epsom salt bath.
I keep telling myself:
Your worth is not your productivity.
You can trust your own feeling and hug your limits.
There isn’t always more you could be doing.