Episode 292 How to stay motivated when you’re not seeing results


Stay motivated even without immediate rewards. Explore intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and learn strategies to keep engaged in your career or business.

In this week’s episode, Anna Lundberg addresses a common challenge that professionals face, both as managers and individuals striving for personal growth: staying motivated in the absence of immediate rewards, such as promotions or salary increases. Anna delves into the nuances of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, offering practical advice on how to remain engaged and drive results, regardless of external affirmations. She provides strategies for gaining perspective, aligning actions with goals, and importantly, taking ownership of your career trajectory. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, this episode is packed with insightful suggestions on maintaining enthusiasm and effectivity in your professional life. Join us as Anna guides us through these challenges with actionable tips and relatable anecdotes.

00:00 Intrinsic motivators: challenge, goals, growth, learning, caring.

05:19 Maintain motivation, seek new opportunities, enjoy balance.

08:03 Take ownership of your career, embrace change.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*
1:1 Coaching & Mentoring – If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. www.onestepoutside.com/coaching

How to stay motivated

I do some work with managers, helping them become more effective, both personally in their own work and then vis a vis their team. And we look at having career conversations with their team members, managing supporting individuals to grow their careers. We look at the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. And recently one of the questions that came up was, how do we keep top performers engaged when you can’t give them the promotion, the salary increase that they want? And I’m hearing more and more that that is a slower process than it used to be. So it’s a really interesting question to look at both. If you’re managing a team and for yourself, how can you stay motivated when you’re not seeing results, when you’re not getting the rewards that you hoped, whether from your manager, from your employer, or from the business that you’re running yourself? So if we look at extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, extrinsic is things like pay. So salary, obviously, your status, the title you have, your identity and other perks. We used to have a lot of Christmas parties and hampers and all sorts, right? You wouldn’t take the job just for those, but they certainly help you to feel appreciated.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivators can be found in things like the challenge of it all, setting exciting goals, growing, learning, really caring about the mission and the difference that you’re making. So if you’re finding that you’re not getting the results, if you’re not getting the income, the impact, the increase in salary or status or whatever it is in your career path that you’re frustrated about not getting, what can you do? Well, first of all, I think if it’s in your own career or business. So we’re talking about you rather than your team members, your organisation. Now, you would want to start by taking a break to get a bit of perspective because it might be that you’re just feeling a bit frustrated. Ah, I didn’t get that client, or this fell through, or this didn’t quite go as I’d hoped, and it’s just sort of a blip. You know, if you’re taking a bigger picture perspective and you’ll see that actually you’re doing incredibly well and this was just one little frustration or a minor setback. So get that bigger perspective, take a break, and then secondly, look a little bit more strategically at what you’re doing. So are you doing what you need to do in order to get those results? So first of all, of course, do you know what it is you need to do? Are you getting support to fill in the gaps, are you doing what you need to do? So if we take some more tangible examples, if you’re looking to get that promotion or whatever it is, if your manager has given you feedback, if you know that to step into the next leadership role, you need to be demonstrating x, y, z, are you doing those things? And be really honest with yourself.

If it’s your business, if you know that you need to be more visible, that you need to be having more conversations with people, that you need to get more clear on what it is you do, whatever that is, are you working on those objectives? Are you taking consistent action? So I heard somebody say a little bit harshly, is it not working or is it that you are not working right? So are you doing the work and you’re not getting the results? Or are you being a little bit complacent or head in the sand, sticking your comfort zone and actually not doing what you secretly know that you should be doing in order to get the results you want to get? So can you hold your head up high and say, hand on heart? Yeah, I am. Anna, look, I’m working so hard. I know I’m working on the right things. I’m doing it and yet still not getting those results. And that, of course, is very frustrating. How long have you been doing it for? That’s the third important question to ask, because consistency over time, we talk about that a lot in business is so, so important and we’re so impatient to see results. But generally we talk about at least sort of a 90 day cycle. So three months to see the results of the work that you’ve put in.

I’ve been working hard on certain new priorities now at the beginning of the year, beginning to see results a few months down the line. Right. If you’re not seeing results now, it could be that you weren’t doing the work to two, three, four months ago. So again, be honest with yourself, and if you haven’t been doing what you need to be doing, then rather than taking a break and going off and looking after yourself, you might want to lean in and do that work. So again, set yourself a timeline, a deadline, get clear on what you need to do, get the support you need, and then do the work. Then you can reassess if you’re still not getting the results, but at least then you’ll know that you have had the right strategy in place, or you have had a strategy in place, you’ve taken the action you should take, and that’s why it’s not working. It’s not that you sort of haven’t given it the right shot, the right chance. Now, of course, commerce levy, if you are doing the work, if a long time has passed and you’ve been, you know, either been strung along by your manager about getting the next promotion or in your business as well, and you’ve been sort of waiting patiently for that income to come and it just isn’t coming, or those opportunities, then, first of all, again, if you are an employee, talk to your manager honestly about how you’re feeling and either get feedback then on how you could improve or get that hopefully honest perspective that, you know, it’s not going to come anytime soon.

Or what could you discuss together to find as an alternative to keep you engaged in the meantime? If your manager’s not being helpful, or if you’re in your own business and you are your own boss and HR and CEO and all those things, then consider how you can keep that motivation going. When you’re not seeing those results, how are you going to keep things interesting? What training opportunities can you look for? Are there new projects you can take on? How can you make things more fun? How can you get more visible or have those conversations either more of the same that you’re doing or in a different way? Or gasp, bit of a shocking suggestion here, how about, and you get to decide if you want to do this, leaning out rather than leaning in and enjoying coasting a little bit. If you are getting the regular salary, delivering the results you’re supposed to, and perhaps not getting the promotion and so on right now, or in your business, if you’re earning the income that actually is pretty comfortable, you’re not quite breaking through that ceiling at the moment. Then, you know what? Why don’t you just enjoy what you’ve created? Balance, flexibility, not being stressed all the time. These are very, very valuable assets, and I’m sure inevitably that will change soon enough. So why not give yourself a few days, weeks, months even, to just enjoy the hard work you’ve put in and to maybe take a little bit of break, have that faith that the results will come in their own time. And I hear again and again, anecdotally, that that is precisely when the results do come, ironically. So when you take the pressure off, when you do things that are fun, when you take care of yourself, when there’s less sort of that desperation, I suppose, of trying to get to where you want to be, that is, ironically when the results will come.

So, you know, think about those intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for you. Why are you in this business? Why are you in this role? What would make it exciting for you? How can you develop further, challenge yourself, learn something new, find a mentor, go on some training retreat, something. Get a new skill that’s going to get you, you know, challenge you, get you out of your comfort zone on that deeper learning curve again. What? Extrinsic. Extrinsic? I can’t say the word extrinsic. Rewards are there that you can give yourself or that you can request from your manager. There’s often more freedom to provide something, some form of perk than you might think. So definitely ask the question, but above all, take ownership for your own career.

I know most of you that I speak to are in, or want to be in your own business, but those of you who are in a job as well, still, or even more so, take ownership, take responsibility for your career. You will not be in this company forever and ever, however much you love the work that you do now. And perhaps if you’re listening today, you’re not quite that enthralled, but it doesn’t mean that you’re in any way betraying your employer or not doing a good job. Work hard, do an amazing thing in your current role, but still take a step back and look at the longer term picture as well. Find a way to get re engaged and excited about the work you’re doing. In fact, I did this with a client recently when we started working together, and she was a little unsure. Her manager was a little unsure. In fact, when we spoke about whether she was still engaged and excited and we arrived at a place where, yes, absolutely she was.

She found a way to understand where her sort of zone of genius was, where her strengths are, where her interests are, and to have that conversation with her boss about how she can bring that excitement back and really be a part of the company going forwards. So, you know, there are ways to. To rediscover that excitement in your current role, in a different role, in a different organisation, in a different way of running your business. So that’s the good news. That’s exciting. And so I hope that’s helpful if you have been wavering a little bit, you know, either stick with it, be patient, let it happen, or lean in, put your foot down on the accelerator and do more. Do more of the right things. If you don’t know what the right things are, then get help and all just enjoy it a little bit.

Just take a little step back, lean out, and perhaps you’ll be surprised as to what results you get. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.


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1:1 Coaching & Mentoring

If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring.


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