Not enough time in the day? Underperforming team members? Lack of budget? Saying yes more than you should? There is a monstrous amount of reasons as to why you are feeling stressed. The reality though. It doesn’t really matter why, what matters is how you deal with it, and how you move forward. Sometimes the reason you are stressed is a simple fix, like addressing the situation, or simply changing the way something works. But other times it isn’t as straight forward, some things just can’t be fixed. Even more alarming is the fact that 85% of what we worry about, never actually happens at all (Robert Leahy, Ph.D., The Worry Cure In fact). Regardless, stress is inevitable in leadership, but how do you manage your stress, and stay motivated when there is simply nothing you can do to control the situation(s) promoting your stress!
So here is a simple method I have created for myself that I find keeps me going through the storm of stress that can accompany leadership. I call this the R2MD method, encompassing the 4 things that keep me motivated, tools that I know to call on at a time where I feel it’s all getting a bit too much, and I need that welcome boost to keep me going! R2MD is an acronym for Read, Reflect, Mentor, and Dream, the 4 tools I know keep me motivated.
I’ll be honest, this is one of the more difficult tools for me, although I know it’s by far the most effective, it takes me to give myself a push to do, but it sure is effective! This is the reality of leadership though, sometimes the hardest things to do, are the best in the long run! I find myself often referring to books, chapters, or even just sections of specific books that I know strike a chord in me! Specifically reading about leaders, successful, and innovative people is one I know pushes me. If they can do it, why can’t I. Sometimes it’s in seeing the struggles that highly successful people have overcome that you find your motivation to push forward! I would encourage you to read the likes of Elon Musk’s & Steve Jobs autobiography, two extremely inspiring and motivational stories! Harvard Business Review also have a great article “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read” that I would encourage you to have a look at!
Honestly, I get the struggle with reading, but it works. If sitting down and reading a physical book doesn’t work for you, get yourself some Audio books, nearly all books published are being sold in audio format too. There is really no excuse, it’s hard, I agree, but the return on reading is more than the money and time you invest in it!
Take time out, get some time alone, and reflect, you would be amazed at the amount of accomplishments, successes, and positives are hiding beneath the stress that you are currently in. It’s amazing how much a single negative, or group of, can contaminate an overall positive experience. Negativity can become all consuming, and when you step back, reflect, and look at the bigger picture, the problem will still be there, but you will see the positives around it also. Take this time to reflect on where you have been, we spend too much time looking at the gap in front of us, the gap between where you want to be and where you are, and not enough time looking at the gap behind us, the gap between where you were and where you are! It’s vital to have a complete picture, it’s the essence of motivation, nothing motivates me more than where I want to be, but the next best thing is looking at where I have come from!
If you find this difficult, grab a page and start writing, mind mapping, or just scribbling out the personal, professional, and team achievements you have experienced. You might just be impressed with yourself, and this is a good thing! Be impressed, and use that motivation to keep you going, the gap behind you might just be the bridge and motivation to accomplishing the gap in front of you!
Mentorship, whether you are the mentor, or mentee, is a terrific way to increase motivation. Firstly, having a mentor means you have someone that you have established trust with, someone that knows your goals, successes and struggles. A mentor means you have someone that can encourage, guide, and share insight into whatever is holding you back. Having an external person who has seen and knows your journey, can really inspire motivation in many ways. If you don’t already, I would encourage you to find a mentor, no matter what stage of life you are in, there is always someone with more experience, and can invest in your growth!
Secondly, look at helping develop and mentor others! Not only is this beneficial for them, but also for you. This kind of goes hand in hand with the reflection, but often you don’t realise how far you’ve come until you start hearing about what others need help with, or where they are needing mentoring. Helping others takes you to a place of searching within you for answers to their questions from your previous experiences, failures, and successes. This often helps you rediscover where you have come from, whilst helping another with their own personal and professional growth. If you want to know more about what a good mentoring relationship should look like, whether you are a mentee or mentor, this article is a great place to start.
Relationship and collaboration are a sure-fire way to gain some much-needed motivation and inspiration!
Exactly what it says on the tin! Take some time to dream again. In this world of continuous connectivity and distraction, it can be hard to really stop and take time to remember your dreams, no matter come up with new dreams. Start to dream again! Set aside an evening ever couple of months and remind yourself of your dreams and aspirations. Remembering why you started doing what you’re doing, is a definite way to get your motivation back! Your motivation is your why. Rediscover why you’re doing what you’re doing, take the time to dream about what this could look, refocus yourself on your goals and aspirations, and you’re sure to find your motivation!
So, there you have it, some of these tools may work better for you than others, but they are all equally important. Some of these tools may take you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but this is the whole point of growth. If you are unwilling to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, I’m afraid the world of business is going to be a tough ride for you! But you can do it, take a step, relieve your stress, and find your motivation again, it’s the key to success. A leader that can constantly inspire and motivate themselves is headed for success!