The Drive to Thrive: Motivation in Times of Disruption

The Drive to Thrive: Motivation in Times of Disruption

Mike Lytle - 06.23.2020

Many times in the past, I have found disruption to be energizing, exciting and fulfilling. I’ve often found that the dynamics of disruption can be used to propel oneself past conventional limits.

But today, we are in a world where there is much hardship, turmoil, and uncertainty. It is easy to see how disruptions can instead become overwhelming. These are very difficult circumstances to find the usual positive outlook and, in turn, motivation. All these stress and trauma can be distressing and de-motivating for people.

We cannot discount the many who had suffered. The pandemic brought along physical, mental, and emotional trauma which need to be acknowledged, if only to uproot their silent hold on the human psyche that could keep us from moving forward.

The crisis saw many people not able to work. While, at the same time, there were also many who found themselves suddenly working from home, dealing with new and different situations. The unprecedented breadth and speed of the changes have been quite jarring.

I’ve spoken to a number of people working from home and they’ve shared that the distractions of home and isolation can really sap productivity and motivation. People tell me that they had to create their workspace at home totally separate from their usual home-life, to allow themselves to be fully present in both. And that really made sense for me, it was about adapting in ways that work for them as individuals.

During the lockdowns, I continued to work from our offices every day, but we were on skeleton staffing onsite. I found that keeping a routine helped give a semblance of normalcy I needed even with the new limited interaction I had while in the office. That, and having an opportunity mindset have helped me maintain my personal motivation. 

While motivation is deeply personal, it is crucial for leaders to understand how different people have different ways of finding their motivation today. As people leaders, we can do a lot to model how people can actively support each other, in their own unique situations, wherever they may be.

During the strict quarantines, what I saw were people who cared so much about each other and their programs, the clients, the customers they were serving, that they did not stop until they were able to make it work. They worked around barriers, they worked through exhaustion. Whatever role or job description they may have had, it was less important than what work was needed to be done right then and there, in the middle of the crisis. Trainers, Workforce analysts, HR reps, operations supervisors, center managers, all were hyper-focused on finding solutions that worked for their people, clients and customers.

It was amazing to see how people, so deeply motivated by their care for others, can move mountains. It was very inspiring to know how our people understood that going back to BAU or business as usual was not the goal. The mission has always been to be business beyond usual.

So let us help each other hold onto these real things that bring out the best in us. Let us remind ourselves that we, as the human race, have weathered so many hardships, transitions and even pandemics. 

For me this is a huge motivational factor, knowing that what we do now will make us, as a worldwide community, even stronger and more resilient.  While in the short term, we are doing what we’re doing for our families and loved ones, ultimately, the impact of our actions and decision will be felt by our entire community. We are in this together, and together we will make our world safer and better for all.

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