According to the “Expectancy Theory of Motivation,” three things must occur for a person to be deeply and fully motivated toward their goals.
If you have these three things, you’ll be pulled toward something that truly excites you. You’ll have the confidence of a plan that you can execute. You’ll regularly create small wins that ripple into bigger wins.
3 requirements to unstoppable motivation
- You must believe the reward (the ‘WHY’) of a particular goal is important, meaningful, and compelling.
- You must believe that you know how (clear strategies/plans/people) to achieve your goal.
- You must believe that you can execute the plans, strategies, and pivoting involved in achieving the goal.
These are the big three which you must have to succeed at any level. Interestingly, long before Expectancy Theory existed, the billionaire H.L. Hunt said:
“There are only three requirements for success. First, decide exactly what it is you want in life. Second, determine the price that you are going to have to pay to get the things you want. And third, and this is most important, resolve to pay that price.”
Here’s how it works:
1. Decide exactly what you want and why
“The bigger the ‘why’ the easier the ‘how’.” — Jim Rohn
Your goal or desired outcome needs to be truly desirable. You need to really want it and have compelling reasons for wanting it.
Jim Rohn once said, “Reasons come first, answers come second.” You need reasons for doing something. Those reasons are your WHY.
The more reasons you can give yourself for accomplishing something, the more motivated you will be. These reasons, when powerful, become NEEDS. For example, look at your life right now.
Most people look at their current income as a product of their situation or capability. In reality, your current income is based on how much you believe you need.
If you needed more, you’d make more. If you needed to make an extra $50,000 in the next 6 months because the situation or your dreams demanded it, you’d be surprised what you could come up with. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Your current level of income reflects the size of your reasons. Most people have this backward. They work so they can make money. When you have compelling reasons, you make money so you can do more work. The work is sweet because you have very specific and powerful reasons for doing it.
If you can make your reasons bigger, more exciting, and personally meaningful to you, then you’ll start to conceptualize clear goals.
The bigger your reasons, the bigger your needs. If you have big goals, you’ll need more resources, a team of people to help you, and probably lots more income.
According to marketing legend, Jay Abraham, there is zero correlation between being good at something and making money. There are a lot of very talented people who don’t have enough reasons to take their work and life to the next level.
Although there is zero correlation between being “good” and making money, there is a direct correlation between marketing and making money. The more compelling your reasons become for achieving a particular goal, the more willing you’ll be to get the word out and to succeed.
- How big do you want to play?
- How deep are your reasons to achieve your vision?
- How compelling are the rewards?
- How willing are you to learn and become?
You cannot be motivated without a clear vision and reasons for that vision. But clarifying that vision takes work and patience. It takes exploration and asking yourself some really hard questions.
Getting clear on a vision that matters to you requires spending lots of time by yourself and disconnecting from all of the noise around you. A deeply compelling WHY has to be more than just maintaining prior success or “beating” other people.
You need to have something that is intrinsic. You can increase the velocity and pace of your success through extrinsic motivators. But the driving force must be something that is very personal to you. Something that you feel is your mission and purpose in life. Once you can get there, and once you can see it, then it is your obligation to begin sprinting toward it.
It truly doesn’t matter how big it is. You need to get as many data-points as you can from people who have done something somewhat similar. If someone has done EXACTLY what you want to do, you should check yourself. You’re probably pursuing someone else’s goal. But similarity with others is to be expected. And you can use them as data points to plot your own course.
2. Determine the price you will have to pay
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill
When you can conceive a goal and you have deep reasons for achieving that goal, your next step is to believe in the vision.
You cannot believe in your vision without a thoughtful and strategic plan. For example, if you have the goal of making $10 Million Dollars but have never made more than $50,000 per year, then it doesn’t matter how compelling your reasons are, you probably won’t believe you can.
You may talk a really good talk. But deep down, you’ll either be lying to yourself or naive to the reality of your situation.
Being naive isn’t a bad thing. But in order to truly believe you can do something big, you need to get educated. You need context into what will really be required. And you need to start succeeding even in small ways toward your goals.
2–3 years is a really powerful span of time to make enormous progress toward a vision. In 2–3 years, you can become a millionaire. As Dean Graziosi once said, “I got to 10 million by saying ‘Yes,’ and I got to 100 million by saying, ‘No.’ ”
The more clear you become on your target, the better equipped you’ll become to find solutions. Having a ‘WHY’ isn’t enough. You need ‘HOW’s’ and ‘WHO’s’ to help you achieve that vision.
If you don’t have strategies and people and resources — or ways to get resources — then you won’t be motivated and you won’t achieve your goals.
If you have something you really want to do, it is your responsibility to get the gameplan in place. Robin Sharma has said, “The bigger the dream, the more important to the team.”
In the incredible book, Scale or Fail, Allison Maslan provides the following 5 Stage framework:
- Stage 1 — THE SEEKER: You rule and run the domain. In fact, you are the domain. You create, sell, implement, do and are responsible for everything.
- Stage 2 — THE PIONEER: You have one to a small handful of employees. You begin to delegate but are still approving everything that comes in and out of your company.
- Stage 3 — THE RINGLEADER: It can feel like a circus at times! You begin building small teams (e.g., admin, custom service, marketing). At this stage, you are really getting clear on your vision. You are leading team meetings and developing systems and processes. You’re spread way too thin. People are still not clear on what their roles are.
- Stage 4 — THE CO-CREATOR: You begin to recruit or promote team leaders to co-create the solutions and brainstorm the new ideas and opportunities. Your people become just as committed as you to your vision and begin asking: How can we delight our customers? How can we innovate? How can we increase revenue?
- Stage 5 — THE VISIONARY: At this stage of the game, they don’t need you. You have great people in place who are devoted and committed to the vision. You step back from meetings and stop providing your two cents. You let go of the day-to-day and focus exclusively on the big picture.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or not. This 5-stage framework is very instructive.
At each stage, you need a new gameplan. If you don’t have the gameplan of going from Stage 1 to Stage 2, then you won’t get there.
Lots of people imagine themselves at Stage 5 when they don’t even know how to get out of Stage 1 or 2.
Whatever your goal is, you need to develop a plan. You need strategies to get from where you are to where you want to go. Once you ascend to a certain level, you’ll need to re-define the WHY — your reasons for what you’re doing. They should get bigger and bigger along the way because if it continues to grow, it will involve increasing numbers of people. It will also impact increasing numbers of people through the work you do.
Without plans and people, you can’t be motivated. You can’t achieve big goals. Having a WHY is not enough. You need HOW’s and WHO’s. Or as Dan Sullivan puts it, you need WHO’s to take care of the HOW’s.
3. Resolve to pay the price
According to psychology’s Hope Theory, hope reflects your perceptions regarding your capacity to:
- Clearly conceptualize goals
- Develop the specific strategies to reach those goals (i.e., pathways thinking)
- Initiate and sustain the motivation for executing those strategies
This theory is very similar to Expectancy Theory, which this entire article is based upon.
The idea is simple, you need to have a clearly defined goal that is meaningful to you. You then need clear plans and strategies for reaching that goal. You need to truly believe the strategies (and people) will actually get the job done.
Which brings us to this final point — you need to believe YOU can execute this.
It doesn’t matter if the WHY is powerful. It doesn’t matter if you have all of the best strategies. If you don’t believe you can execute, then you will self-sabotage.
You need to believe you can execute the plans and strategies you’ve developed. You need to believe you can lead the mission — if leadership is required for what you seek to do.
You need to be completely committed to becoming whatever it takes to achieve your dreams. If your dreams are big, you will be required to change. As Albert Einstein put it, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
You’ll need to expand and grow into your vision. And actually, that’s one of the primary reasons to have a huge vision — to transform you into the type of person who can make it happen.
Yes, you can expand and grow. You can develop capacities and skills. You can adapt to challenging circumstances and do stuff you’ve never done before.
You can become comfortable in new and unknown territories.
You can become a person of confidence and faith who is willing to put their stake in their ground.
You get to this level of conviction by investing fulling into what you believe in. You need to get clear on what matters to you.
You need to care enough about your dreams to grow beyond your petty fears and self-image. You’ll need to get good at marketing and leadership. You’ll need to care enough about your vision to learn what works and how to spread the message— rather than solely remaining a starving artist filled with good ideas about how other people are doing things wrong.
You can do all of this.
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. You can become more imaginative than children.
You can develop incredibly creative and thoughtful and fun ideas and solutions and dreams. You can grow and expand into a legendary and beautiful person as you evolve through these dreams. As you painstakingly BECOME, learn, grow, lead, and share.
Do you have these 3 things?
- A clear goal with compelling REASONS
- Clear and specific plans you believe will lead to the completion of your goal
- The belief that you can execute on those plans
At every stage of your growth, you will have to revisit these big 3. You’ll need to continually hone and improve them.
As your WHY gets bigger, the HOW will get easier. It will get easier because increasingly, your vision will be pulling you forward. You’ll be so committed and in flow that the HOW will begin taking care of itself.
This is a beautiful way to live, and you can apply it to all levels of achievement.
You gain confidence in yourself through action. You must take steps forward now. You must begin learning what you don’t know and unlearning what’s holding you back. You need to transform and become more than you currently are.
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This article first appeared on Medium.