Welcome to Dr. Blair Relf, my friend and colleague, who takes a fresh look at the whole realm of motivational intelligence. Check out his website for other resources in this area.
Motivational Intelligence or “MIQ” is the inner ability or force that enables you to motivate yourself in a more enjoyable and more effective way. It can empower you to create the life you believe in and desire. The great thing about Motivational Intelligence is that you already possess it, and you can learn to dramatically increase it – and empower yourself, to bring more of what you want into your life, while better enjoying your efforts!
To gain a deeper understanding of what Motivational Intelligence is, consider the four master competences that make it up. Each competency is made up of two parts – a part that relates to motivating yourself and a part that relates to motivating others. Building your Motivational Intelligence to naturally produce passionate and enjoyable motivation in yourself is a first step to becoming more motivationally intelligent in leading others. So first we’ll focus on the competencies in relation to our own motivations – temptations, aspirations, and intentions.
Motivational Intelligence Competencies
Each competency builds upon and is reliant on, the previous:
1. Motivational Perceiving
§ Sensing the full nature of our motivations
2. Motivational Understanding
§ Knowing the causes and effects of different aspects of our motivations
3. Motivational Optimizing
§ Using all within your power to shape our motivation to fit our aspirations, values, and needs
4. Motivational Self-Leadership
§ Acting strategically to steadily cultivate motivational alignment with your values
Let’s take a quick look at each of these competencies now. At any given moment, there are so many different things we can motivate ourselves to do. Often we are drawn towards many of them. We can be motivated to call a good friend, complete the last hour of a project that’s due tomorrow, spend time organizing, get off work early, go do a workout, and so many others. However, ultimately, you must choose one at a time.
Perceiving the Nature of Our Motivation
Let’s assume you decide to finish the project that is due tomorrow. As you consider what you are to do, and then begin to actually try to motivate yourself to do it, you must first stop and perceive the nature of your motivation – whether it is passionate or resentful, based in the fear of your boss, or in the love for the project. Whether it is impulsive and thus distractible or steady and focused. Whether or not it’s aligned with our values or in conflict with them, and by how much, is how it wins the motivational competition in your mind between it and the next best option. The first competency isPerceiving. Many people simply push forward through their lives and do not actively observe and assess why they are not optimally motivated – and they lose out on much in the process. Take a moment to just perceive first.
Understanding Our Motivation
The second competency is; Understanding. It involves both consciously and intuitively discerning the many factors that contribute to your motivation. Understanding is important, because over the next several hours, while you strive to finish the project, you will likely be confronted with many distractions and tempting opportunities and you also will have a great many options as to how you can engage in this effort. Staying focused, being enthusiastic and creative and enjoying yourself requires a lot of fancy footwork, and there are many things that you can do, and factors you can influence to create the best experience. Both Perceivingand Understanding how your motivation feels and why, are vital to fueling your motivation and ensuring it remains vibrant. To remain inspired in the right directions, you need to know where your motivational weaknesses are, what other options you may have, and how to bolster your motivation if it diminishes in amount or in quality.
Now, if this sounds complicated, remember you do this unconsciously all the time. It is a natural part of how we function. The opportunity here is to do it better – with a new awareness we can begin to focus our motivational energy on what is most important to us, with enthusiasm, most of the time.
If you know that you have to get a project done, but you will be tempted to go out with friends instead, then you’ll have to weigh in on the rewards vs. consequences of those choices and evaluate it in light of your values. By making a conscious choice to Perceive and Understand your underlying motivation you will better know how to proceed to the next competency.
Optimizing Our Motivation
Now, as we all know, motivation can taper off at any time, and it is often hard to know why. There are many, many ways to build it back up, or to generate motivation for something that is up coming. Optimizing our motivation is the third competency and it can range from planning better, so we know what to do, to imagining how great it will be when we succeed, to shaping our environment, so we enjoy the task more. In order to stay ahead, we need to be skilled at these techniques, and clever about choosing the right ones, so that when we perceive a lack of motivation, or one that is based in negative emotion, we will know how to change it.
Finally, the fourth motivational competency is motivational Self-Leadership, which goes beyond just optimizing our motivation towards a given pursuit or task, and includes balancing our motivation across the many things we want to do and laying the groundwork for motivation in the near and distant future. Self-Leadership is much more strategic and vital to our longer term approach and to working towards many goals.
The ultimate goal would be to enthusiastically want to do, all the things that are best to do in our lives – to move ourselves away from unhealthy temptations (motivations), lack of direction, and underperformance and alternatively generate the passion we need to move our selves forward in achieving our neglected dreams. Life is an adventure and it can be one that is filled with the riches you desire!
It is possible to learn how to be more masterfully motivated at whatever you want to do, so you can be abundantly successful and make a wonderful difference in your life and in the world. It takes focused practice over time, but having an awareness of these competencies is a good place to start. Your innate Motivational Intelligence or MIQ can be developed into the most powerful force for increasing meaningfulness, happiness and positive change in your life. Just as you can build muscle in the gym, you can also build up your motivational muscles and strengthen your abilities to motivate and lead yourself for a more powerful overall life experience.
What could you achieve if you were more motivated and inspired?
Blair Relf, Ph.D.is the leading expert on Motivational Intelligence – using it to dramatically improve performance. Dr. Relf’s web site http://www.MotivationalIQ.com provides many free tools including interactive assessments that map out your motivational life in color, engaging MP3′s that help you increase your achievements, and an enlightening Motivational Intelligence special report. He works closely with people in highly affordable programs using dynamic groups, virtual technologies and innovative approaches to help achieve goals, break through barriers and take lives to an entirely new level. Visit him on the web at http://www.MotivationalIQ.com for more information.
Blair C. Relf Ph.D. is today’s leading expert in the study of Motivational Intelligence and holds a Dual Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Clinical Psychology from the Marshall Goldsmith School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of California.
Dr. Relf travels extensively, conducting programs in leadership development and Motivational Intelligence throughout the U.S. Europe, and Asia. He is an experienced speaker, workshop facilitator, and coach. With over twenty years of business and leadership experience, he has coached and trained sales professionals, leaders, engineers, and consultants from the world’s top ranked firms.
Over the course of his career he has conducted research in generating high levels of committed motivation and performance, creativity, adult learning methodologies, leadership and coaching outcomes. Dr. Relf has lived and worked overseas, spent time in over 70 countries, is an author, and Ironman triathlete, and lives with his wife Christine and two young sons in Southern California. http://www.motivationaliq.com
Supporting You in Your Success,
Blair C. Relf, Ph.D.
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