When motivation plummets: What kind of Deflated Doer are you?

February 14, 2014

Stuck moment: Your motivation has gone missing. It was here just the other day, helping you dig in, think bigger, and high-five with everyone. But now, well, you’re feeling kind of flat about things. Take it or leave it. What does it matter, anyway?

These are the telltale signs of a Deflated Doer — the once-and-future go-getter who needs to get re-stoked. Like most things human, there is more than one path to this point. And how you got there determines how you get unstuck.

To zero in on your deflated moments, take our mini-quiz below to find out what kind of Deflated Doer you tend to be, plus the approach that will best help kick you into gear again. We’ll follow up next week with exercises tailored for each type of Doer.

Think of a time when you lost your motivation for something that you usually enjoy. It helps to have a specific instance in mind. What did you Feel, Think, and Do? Pick one answer from each group. This works best when you answer quickly, following your gut instinct.

What did you Feel when you were unmotivated?
A. Puzzled
B. Unappreciated
C. Lack of control
D. Overwhelmed

What did you Think when you were unmotivated?
A. I’ve done the best I can…
B. Why do people only listen to themselves?
C. I’m not sure any good can come out of this.
D. I don’t know how I can handle all of it.

What did you Do when you were unmotivated?
A. Rewind the situation again and again in your head, looking for fault.
B. Wait for someone to ask your advice on the matter.
C. Quietly go about your business so no one asks how you’re feeling.
D. Start to question if it’s worth the effort.

If you chose mostly A answers, read about Discouraged Doers, below. Mostly B’s, you’re likely a Detached Doer. C’s are Defensive Doers, and D’s are Deluged Doers. If you had a mix of letters, you’re a hybrid, which means you’ll find parts of yourself in all four types.

A. Discouraged Doer. We brim with enthusiasm — it’s one of our most attractive qualities. People want to be near us, know us, and follow our forward drive. But somewhere on the road of progress, there was a wrong turn, and now we’re feeling sidelined and a little confused. We’re not sure what stopped our hopes in their tracks.

You need to see things for what they are so you can turn it around. Goals are great; they getting us moving. But sometimes, if ours aren’t working in concert with the world around us, we get derailed for what seems like no fault of our own. That’s when we need to zoom out and look at the whole picture so we can see our role in it. This helps us adjust our expectations and actions.

B. Detached Doer. We definitely have smarts on our side, with an uncanny ability to see straight through to the solution. Everyone who knows us says so. But what they may not say to our face is that a hint of no-one’s-listening or a smarty-pants attitude can block the camaraderie that is necessary to fully enjoy success. What might have been a ticker tape parade becomes a party for one, dining on pride.

You need to believe that you fit into something bigger than yourself. Sometimes our means of expression (whether our voices are big or small) can unintentionally back us into a corner, isolating us from the meaty stuff everyone else is doing. We may have better ideas, but few are asking. And that’s a shame. If only we were more inviting of others’ ideas, we might learn something and build our fan base.

C. Defensive Doer. We’ve got it under control. Been there, done that, no one has to worry. Too bad our steady-Eddy reliability wears an invisible cloak that deflects the growth that comes from change. Okay, we may never scale new heights, but at least we won’t get hurt trying. So why are we feeling let down?

You need to think in a new way so you can take the good along with the bad. Despite all of our efficiency and know-how, deep down we’re feeling pretty powerless about our situation. Things haven’t exactly panned out — and we’re not all that surprised. But we didn’t expect the sting of disappoint to get through our armor. This is a good time to widen our lens to let in positive possibilities.

D. Deluged Doer. We had a very good plan, maybe even a perfect one. The payoff exceeded the tradeoffs, and we started off with a gung-ho approach. Then it all became too much. Instead of pulling our weight, we’re cowering under the load. Somebody, make it stop, please!

You need to see differently so anticipation doesn’t stop you in your tracks. Being able to see things coming down the road is a talent that keeps us ahead of the game. But when we have too many balls in the air, our vision get muddled, and we tend to shut down. That’s when we’re better off chunking our ambitions into bite-size pieces.

PRINTABLE TIP CARD #20: What kind of Deflated Doer are you?

Next week: 4 ways to get your motivation back
Last week: How to supercharge your friendships

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