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Self-motivated leaders are in high demand. There are many topics books, webpages, and even conferences on motivation, because it is so desirable. Motivated leaders desire to achieve above and beyond expectations. Self-motivation is, in its simplest form, the force that drives you to do things. To succeed in life, you must be motivated and for the long haul. It is your choice and your responsibility. No one can do it for you but you. As Maya Angelou said, “Nothing will work unless you do.”Self-motivation is a key part of emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman, well-known author and researcher on emotional intelligence, identified four elements that make up motivation:

  • Personal drive to achieve, the desire to improve or to meet certain standards;

  • Commitment to personal or organizational goals;

  • Initiative, which he defines as “readiness to act on opportunities”; and

  • Optimism, the ability to keep going and pursue goals in the face of setbacks.

Understanding and developing your self-motivation can help you to take control of many other aspects of your life. To get there, you must develop several skills:

  • The ability to set high but realistic goals.

  • The ability to know and take the right level of risk.

  • The desire and ability to seek constant feedback to work out how to improve.

  • The ability and willingness to commit to personal and team goals and go the extra mile to achieve them.

  • The ability to actively seek and seize opportunities.

  • The ability to be resilient, deal with setbacks, and continue forward in the face of obstacles.

Throughout all your life, you will want to work on staying motivated. Besides continuing the abilities just mentioned, a few steps will help motivation stay high:Monitor your companions. Negative people develop negative people. Positive, motivated people develop positive, motivated people. You can do better at staying motivated if your closest companions are.Keep learning. Read, study, and talk to people. New information feeds your mind and keeps you curious and motivated. You have something extra to keep you moving. In Japan, the word for constant and never-ending improvement is kaizen. Not only is kaizen an operating philosophy for modern Japanese businesses, it has become the personal mantra of millions of successful people all over the world.Stay positive. You can’t let every obstacle get you down. If you will focus on the perspective that these difficulties are opportunities to learn and grow, you will stay motivated.Manage your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know your weaknesses and work on what’s most important. But don’t simply focus there. Build your strengths and make them your major focus. Your weaknesses will rarely ever become your strong points, and you will make progress through your strengths. So focus there.Refuse to procrastinate. Nothing destroys motivation like procrastination. The longer you wait, the harderit will be. Keep working toward your goals. A lay-off will likely derail you.Be a team player. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, and don’t hold back if you can help them. Seeing other people succeed will help motivate you to do the same.So, what do you think? Are you self-motivated?You are if you learn because you WANT to, not because you think you “have” to. A motivated person tends to ask more questions and devote more time to discovering the answers.You’re willing to admit you don’t know everything. If you view gaps in your knowledge as growth opportunities, you’ll be able to upgrade your skill set to achieve even higher levels of success.You’re willing to take bigger risks . . . and get bigger results. If you’re not afraid to leave your comfort zone and take big risks, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.You’re likely to finish what you start. If you have a strong sense of personal accountability, you will naturally be better at managing your time and avoiding distraction. You will see your projects through to completion faster.You’re a naturally pro-active person. Self-achievers refuse to wait for changing circumstances to force them to adapt. If you are continually learning, you will be able to anticipate new developments long before they happen and thrive in an ever-changing world no matter what life throws your way.You can self-motivate and find much more satisfaction in life—just decide and get started.

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