Is Your Motivation Playing Hide and Seek?

Project Crystal hit all the criteria of a worthwhile endeavor when your manager first presented the opportunity. Parts of it included work that aligned with your strengths (strategic thinking and creativity) and values (service to the greater good – in this case, improving customer experience). Given your stretch goal for the year, Project Crystal checked that box, too. Plus, it didn’t hurt that you had wanted to work with the project lead for quite some time. At the launch, Project Crystal energized you. You dove in, motivated and enthusiastic.

Four months later, you cringe when you see an updated meeting invite or yet another email land in your inbox. Progress bogged down a month ago when the project lead left your organization for a role with a competitor two states away. The new lead is capable and competent but leaves you uninspired. Your work-stream and deliverables have you working in the weeds. You ask your coach, “How do I get motivated to work on this again?”

If this sounds familiar, you are in good company. Motivation eludes everyone at some point. I’ve shared the following with my clients and I employ these tools myself.


Reconnect with the value(s) that ignited action in the first place. What part of what you are doing still aligns with that value? Remember, values which jazzed you at the start may not be the ones to get you across the finish.

If that’s true for you, ask yourself which value or values are important now and that you can lean into when the work feels like a slog? Do you see yourself as a stick-to-it person who finishes what she started? Do you value doing what you say you’ll do? Connecting with our values helps us to act in accordance with them; we feel a sense of congruence (my actions match my words and my view of myself).

The Big Picture “Why”

What makes this important right now? How does doing “x” fit into your big picture? In this vignette, Project Crystal was important because you’d work with someone you admired and stretch yourself. Plus, it aligned with your strengths and values. When you fly out of the weeds up to the 10,000 ft mark, you broaden your vision again. Even though the lead you looked up to left, what can you learn from his replacement? How will completion impact your annual review? Coming back to ‘why’ this was important in the first place helps you get back some mojo.

Strengths and Small Chunks

Whatever reason motivation flies out the window, the work still stares you in the face. Once you’ve reconnected with your values and big picture, lean into your strengths and then do a small chunk of the work. Which piece of this work feels creative or strategic (strengths)? Set a timer and work on the task/project for only that long then take a short break.

Be sure to mark it off the to-do list (even if you didn’t get as far as you’d planned). Our brains get a short hit of the happy/reward neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. Those hits refuel the motivation tank.

If your motivation is hiding, email me to find out more about how coaching can get you back in the game.



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