Is this all there is?

The push of un-happiness at work

Many of the people I work with are saying things like “Is this all there is from now on?” or “I really don’t want to imagine myself doing this same thing for the next 10-15 years!”  These clients are starting from a position of wanting to get away from work they are finding boring or unpleasant – what is termed “away-from motivation”.

Now, “away-from” motivation can be very useful and very powerful – it can get you moving when you are feeling frustrated and stuck, when you are completely down-in-the-dumps, what’s-the-point-anyway, stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off miserable from lack of happiness at work.  But it has one major disadvantage – it doesn’t last!  You see, as soon as you start to move away from the problem, the motivational force weakens – a bit like a magnet as you move away from it.

So those execs in their 40′s and 50′s I work with, who are running away from the prospect of a dreary 9-5 with no happiness at work at all until they retire, as soon as they get their plan to change things, that moves them away from their pain, and the motivation wanes.  The result is a kind of ‘sine wave’ of performance, like this one for money:

happiness at work - away from motivation

Away-from motivation – push

The pull of real happiness at work

Where the motivation is towards something – maybe a passion or a kind of work that they really love to do – something magical happens.  The greater the progress, the greater the motivation.  Think of that magnet again – instead of getting weaker as you move away from it, its attraction grows ever more powerful as you start to experience happiness at work, and as you get closer to your goal.  The challenge here is that the pull motivation may not be very strong at the beginning:

happiness at work - toward motivation

Toward motivation – pull

The push & pull dream of happiness at work

Wherever I can, I like to create a combination of towards and away-from motivations – it significantly shortens the time required to achieve great things.  Away-from the pain of your current un-happiness at work to get you up and running, and then, just as you get close enough to your ideal situation for it to start to feel possible, , switching to ‘towards’ motivation, to pull you forward to the end goal – where you can feel true happiness at work coming your way.

quicker results using away then towards

Away then towards – the push and pull effect

And this doesn’t just relate to you – it can also be important to your team’s happiness at work.  I wrote recently about the contribution to bottom line profits from job satisfaction – to get your team moving, they might need a kick-in-the-pants jolt of away from motivation to get them moving, and then you can follow that up with some real feel-good, happiness-at-work towards motivation to keep them on the path to success.

You can see some more on this topic of combining towards and away motivations in this article over at TheBusyFool.com: How’s Your Motivation

Andrew Horder

About Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://www.andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw
About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://www.andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw

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