Why Inconsistent Motivation Always Leads to Inconsistent Results
If you've ever experienced the boom and bust of inconsistent performance then you'll know how frustrating it can be. The source of inconsistent performance is always in inconsistent motivation,
Inconsistent Motivation - The Most Common Cause of Failure
It might seem obvious that motivation drives us away from pain and towards pleasure. The typical cause of inconsistent motivation is motivation driven at some level by the need to avoid something emotionally painful. This is referred to as 'Away From' Motivation. Although the list is varied and endless, a few examples I commonly discover with clients are fear of failure, poverty, loneliness, being judged, being not good enough, etc.
There are several reasons why Away From Motivation is inconsistent and leads to inconsistent results. More importantly, how would you know where Away From Motivation is causing you to be inconsistent? Here's a simple example to illustrate typical patterns and symptoms:
During his early years an athlete has repeated experience of training hard and on occasions failing to deliver the results wanted and needed. Each time he fails he experiences someone important to him (e.g. his athletics coach or family member) being disappointed in his results and suggesting ways he could train harder or better.
Our athlete is frustrated and disappointed by his failure and angry and hurt by the reaction of people close to him. Through repetition of these events (actual and playing it over in his mind) he unconsciously associates anger, frustration, hurt and disappointment with failure. Understandably he dislikes experiencing that unpleasant emotional mix again and again and so unconsciously seeks to avoid failure, which results in a Fear of Failure.
Whenever he becomes aware of the possibility of failure (stimulus) the fear (response) kicks in to motivate action so that he avoids failure and the associated underlying emotional mix. He is motivated Away From failure and this becomes a significant component of his overall motivation to improve his results in athletics.
Since he does everything he can to avoid fully experiencing the underlying emotional mix, it remains outside of conscious awareness fuelling his Fear of Failure from the deeper unconscious level. What he experiences is creating ideas for goals which on the surface may appear to be success orientated, but their actual primary purpose is to avoid being a failure. He is rarely if ever consciously aware of the connection between his goals, fear of failure and the deeper underlying emotions.
So How is Away From Motivation a Problem?
His primary motivation to be successful in athletics is to not 'be a failure', so motivation to be successful is low when he is not failing. To be a successful competitor he needs to be highly motivated when he is being successful to push up to the next level.
To be motivated he has to experience the unpleasantness of failure, which feels bad and can lead to burnout and other emotional issues. His Fear of Failure prevents him really going for it in athletics (and other areas of life) in case he gives his all and fails. He therefore never reaches his potential.
His Fear of Failure may act as a catalyst for other negative thoughts e.g. self-doubt, indecision, lack of confidence, etc. which then have their own effect on his motivation, actions and results. All in all he has a few successes but his performance is inconsistent. His emotions are on a roller coaster between fear (plus potentially anger, frustration, disappointment and hurt) and relief. Over time these emotions become more and more associated with his sport.
Ultimately he will fail to reach his potential in his sport, make his reasons and excuses and turn to something else... where he will likely experience a similar pattern as a result of this Away From Motivation, which tends to operate across all contexts.
When do You Experience Symptoms of Away From Motivation?
How would your results be different in each of those situations if your motivation worked really well for you? What would you consistently be seeing, what would you hearing, what would you feeling if your motivation worked really well for you.
How can you Overcome the Problems of Away From Motivation?
Because the root cause (the underlying emotional mix) of Away From Motivation operates at the unconscious level it usually remains outside of conscious awareness. Furthermore it's typically repressed because it's amongst the things the person wants to most avoid.
Therefore in order to discover and resolve the root cause you have to work with your unconscious mind. A suitably expert Personal Performance Coach skilled in disciplines such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis and other niche skills can enable you to quickly do just that. The process of resolving negative emotions results in new insights and learnings and act as new positive resources (e.g. new rules, beliefs, choices for success in athletics) that assist you in creating the results you want.
Having resolved the Away From Motivation, you can use the art and science of Goal Setting to wire-in your goals for maximum Towards Motivation.
So why would you want to resolve Away From Motivation?
Resolving the emotions causing Away From Motivation means you experience less negative emotion and overcome inconsistent motivation and results. You are more free to enjoy sustainable, consistent motivation and to achieve the goals that are most meaningful for you. On top of that you can feel good about reaching your potential in your sport and other areas of life. How would that be for you?