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As I make my way towards Texas for the Brene Brown Dare to Lead certification next week, it’s been a fascinating and insightful experience traveling in the United States. A country so vast and beautiful, the heartbeat of Western democracy – and seemingly so much in struggle.

Speaking to cab drivers, passengers in ferries, restaurant staff across three states, friends and colleagues – one thing stands out. The Motivation tap is open and leaking energy, with many people feeling uncertain, disillusioned, frustrated, let down and powerless. The changing state of politics of the day is affecting many people profoundly. This is only one country of many experiencing similar emotions.

Motivation leakage is evident and it’s a sure sign of resistance. 

Countries are experiencing change and deeply divided by polarizing and divisive leadership, where… 

  • ‘I’ leadership is replacing ‘WE’ leadership
  • More ‘power over’ than ‘power with’
  • Naming a shared common vision seems illusive
  • Connection, Communication and Clarity are challenged

Christine Comaford succinctly describes the 4 reasons people lose Motivation and it’s worth looking at how they’re playing out at the moment.

  1. A values mismatch:  What many people value is no longer aligned with the leadership decisions being made
  2. Lack of self-efficacy: It’s going to take enormous energy and commitment to re-connect with what people have in common. To find a shared path through a quagmire of division; and many people are losing confidence in their ability to do this, or even knowing where to start
  3. Disruptive emotions: What specifically are people feeling? The range of emotion and the extent of the resistance on all sides can only be bridged through giving people the chance to talk about their feelings at every opportunity across all layers of community 
  4. Attribution errors: Something went wrong and people don’t know why! The constant search for meaning is exhausting.

So what can be done to plug the Motivation leakage?

People feel their way through change ~ at no level is it a logical or rational process. There has never been a greater need for more courage and curiosity. 

People may not have any political clout, yet they can live each day making positive choices within their own circles of influence by:

  • Practicing empathy and listening to multiple perspectives without judgement (and without the need to find specific solutions) will help to start building bridges
  • Talking about how they’re feeling and checking in with others ~ address the ‘elephants in the room’ (name it to tame it!)
  • Living into values each and every day, and showing up in ways that create hope and possibility 
  • Being kind at every opportunity. The Dalai Lama says “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness”
  • Living mindfully ~ being present and respectful, and more compassionate to others
  • Focusing on purpose ~ the greater why (our Noble Goal

Cheers Alison

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