This is the Humble Inquiries series. In this episode, Leslie joins me as my co-host to humbly inquire into how to keep oneself motivated as a leader. If we are not motivated ourselves, it shows its impact on everything we do and every responsibility we have. Leadership starts with finding and staying connected with our own motivation first.

In each episode of Humble Inquiries, we are deliberately going to put ourselves in the uncomfortable space of not knowing the answer and humbly inquiring about these challenges – with the aim to provoke new thoughts, actions, and practices – to help us better serve our coaching clients, and also to help the leader in you navigate the biggest challenges – at life and at work.

Show Notes

  • Sumit – “if we get our body moving, it lifts our moods, it lifts our spirits.”
  • Leslie – “my personal practice is sitting with coffee and enjoying a bit of cosy time and journaling, and that helps me reflect on yesterday and set the intention for what today is.”
  • Sumit – “another practice which works very well for me is to just highlight three or four areas where I want to complete something today”
  • Sumit – “anybody can build a new practice, even if that is uncomfortable for them.”
  • Sumit – “motivation is  it’s it’s connecting to that fire, which is within you and then giving it a little bit of air so that it becomes like a flame”
  • Sumit – “You don’t have to do anything as an obligation. Because that’s, again, going against motivation, right? Motivation is when you are free to choose and do something.”
  • Leslie – “Some other ways are just taking that time to pause and maybe asking for help, as a leader that could be. An opportunity, not only for yourself but the team as well ask for help. “
  • Sumit – “sitting in silence or sometimes taking a break allows all of those matters, which we deeply care about, but we don’t really address because we are so busy, just having that moment of peace allows them to come up and then we can listen to them and actually put it into our actions and practices.”
  • Leslie – “going for a walking meeting together is a great way to combine a lot of what we’ve talked about when it comes to finding that motivation”
  • Sumit – “I think an overcrowded mind sometimes can stop us from being motivated. And once we empty our mind, either through reflection or through journaling, it allows us to touch those deep levels of feelings, which actually is motivation. Motivation is not a thought process. It’s not something you can reason yourself into it. It’s a feeling that you already have. But sometimes the mind is so cluttered that you get lost or you’d lost touch with it”
  • Leslie – “it is different for everyone and the leader can’t take sole responsibility for motivating each person on the team. It’s each of the individual’s responsibility to find that too, but there is value in communicating what motivates.”
  • Sumit – “there is no such thing as a motivated or a demotivated person. There are only moments in which you are motivated and demotivated. And then every moment is a new opportunity,”
  • Sumit – “every moment is basically telling you that if you’re demotivated, that something is missing, either you need to say no to something, or you need to do something differently that you can make the experience fun”
  • Sumit – “Motivation is not something which you can design or control. You can only create the conditions for motivation to happen, but not really directly motivate somebody. You can direct somebody or force somebody to be motivated.”
  • Leslie – “One of my suggestions, which I got from another organization was let someone from the team lead, let them bring a topic, let them change the format. So again, creating that space and really injecting some air back into it, to give motivation and really the opportunity for that motivation all over again, as a team.”
  • Sumit – “if you don’t take a shower, that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or something is wrong. You just take a shower, if you wash your hands and they become dirty again, you simply wash your hands again. Similarly with motivation, right? If you’re not motivated or if you don’t feel that energy, it’s not like something is wrong or something is missing. You just shift. Connect with something and then you’re motivated again.”

As quoted by Edgar Schein in his book Humble Inquiry, an humble inquiry is recognizing that insights most often come from conversations and relationships in which we have learned to listen to each other and have learned to respond appropriately, to make joint sense out of our shared context, rather than arguing with each other into submission.