“An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.”
You know how it works… if it’s up to you get something done – and no one is relying on it – you procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate…
And it doesn’t get done.
But the second that you’re responsible to someone else and someone is depending upon you to get it done, man, you’ve never seen yourself be so productive.
One of my coaching clients was invited to write a chapter for a textbook on coaching. We spent weeks on what she wanted to say, how she might present the information, mind maps, creating a writing lifestyle, writing goals. But not really a chapter written. The moment the editors established a deadline… BOOM! The entire chapter was written.
It’s the war of internal motivators vs. external motivators.
Internal motivators take a back seat because external motivators scream at you. Internal motivators take the form of good ideas. “It is a great idea to work out three times a week.” “That would be a great class for me to design and offer.”
In the JOB world, primary external motivators come in the form of deadlines, 9am-5pm clock-in/clock-out, and a boss. Then, there’s secondary external motivators like finances. You have to pay the mortgage with something. Finally, tertiary external motivators are higher on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs… things like creating a more fulfilling life, doing things differently, being a model, walking your talk.
It’s easy enough if you have someone setting up the external motivators. But if you don’t have that nice person who is going to give you deadlines and the like, how do you create your own external motivators?
- Step back and look at the big picture. If you want to make six figures this year, how are you going to get there? If you want to speak at three conferences, how are you going to get those gigs? Attaching the “good idea” to the big picture of your goals might be enough of an external motivator.
- Part of that big picture is understanding how the task fits in – and why. If you need a website, then know why you need a website. If the answer is to have a place to send potential customers to, then ask yourself who those people are and what they might need from your website. Then figure out what you need to make that a reality. A website designer? A business coach? (And when you need others to do the task, then they, in essence, become an external motivator. Hard for the website designer to create a website for you if you don’t do your part.)
- Set a deadline. Announce your new program or product. Or tell someone she can expect such and such by Thursday at 5:00pm. Now you’re accountable to someone else, not solely yourself.
- Break the task down into its individual, smallest pieces. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to do a simple, easy task like “Contact a website designer” than “create new website.”
- Create tangible rewards if you do the project or tangible risks if you don’t do it. If your reward for doing your task is a vague “things will be better,” that’s not good enough. Or if the risk of not doing it isn’t painful enough, there’s no reason to do it. Go back to your goals. If you don’t launch the new program, you can’t make your income goal for the month, and you’ll have to work harder next month.
As entrepreneurs, we’re probably better at being internally motivated than others, better than we think. AND we still need help. Create those external motivators and give your internal motivators a little boost.