Mindfulness, Motivation and Goals

by | Stuff To Read

Motivating employees can be challenging.  Our leaders set objectives and managers are expected to keep everyone focused and motivated in order to achieve these goals.  What motivates our employees and what skills can managers use to keep everyone engaged?

Dr. Martin Seligman (the father of the Positive Psychology movement) has conducted extensive studies on what drives people to achieve their goals and be happy.  He points out that there are 3 main drivers.  First there is what he calls “pleasant life”.  This is where we search out nice experiences and things to increase the pleasantness of our lives.  Eating a nice meal, walking on the beach etc…  As it turns out this is a small driver because we get habituated to the nice things and the pleasantness wears off over time.  Second there is a “life of engagement”.  This is where we are in the “flow” of life.  Our perceived skills are in balance with our challenges and we expertly navigate our experiences without either boredom or anxiety.  This state of mind is very influential in keeping us motivated to move forward.  Finally there is the “life of meaning”.  This is where our goals are in-line with our values and our perceived life’s purpose.  This also is a large driver of motivation.  If we want to have the life that inspires and motivates us and maintains our well-being and happiness then we must understand what our key drivers are.  This is where Mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness allows us to understand our stories and the stories of others.  Stories about what our skills are in relation to our challenges.  These are stories about what we perceive our skills to be and what we perceive our challenges to be.  Underestimating our capabilities, even the capability to learn what we do not know right now places us out of flow and results in fear and anxiety.  Over estimating the challenges, exaggerating the severity and longevity for example also places us out of flow.  Mindfulness allows us to develop better self-awareness skills that in turn allows us to really understand our perceptions by questioning their accuracy.  Crating more balanced perceptions (stories) about our skills and challenges allows us to be in the flow state more often thereby keeping us motivated towards our goals.  Mindfulness also allows us to better understand our value system and keep our goals in line with them again keeping us motivated.  As managers need to be aware of not only our own perceptions but also the perceptions of our employees so we can effectively help guide them into a balance state.  When balance in achieved motivation flourishes and stress reduces.

Thankfully these awareness skills can be taught.  With insight meditation practices which uncover our stories to compassion practices which set the groundwork for moving forward in a supportive environment, managers and employees can learn to achieve not only their personal goals but organizational ones as well.

Let us help you roll out your Mindfulness strategy to help drive your company forward.