Motivation Strategies

Gaby Molnar describes herself as an “Ever Ready bunny on speed”.A recruiter with Hamilton James Bruce and a trainer with famous US motivation coach Anthony Robbins, Gaby has spent eight years studying motivation and peak performance.

Here she shares five key motivation strategies you can put into action.

Strategy 1: Goal Setting

“People set goals like ‘I want five new clients or to make 20 new marketing calls’. The goals are very specific but are they compelling?” asks Gaby.

“The reason why a lot of people are losing motivation is because they don’t set goals that are real and tangible enough.”

Dream up a specific reward and focus on that treat when your mind starts wandering to thoughts of going home or you feel you cannot tackle another sales call or a particular work task.

The first reward Gaby focused on was buying a computer for her mother, who loved to write but was finding it difficult to do by hand due to Parkinson’s Disease.

“I focused for a whole quarter on the look on my mother’s face when she saw the computer and how that would make me feel. So you can see how compelling that was,” says Gaby.

Strategy 2: The pleasure/pain principle

This is where you set a goal and attach both a reward and a penalty to the outcome.

A dynamic real estate agent told Gaby about how she needed to pass a particular real estate exam to obtain a special licence. Passing the exam would require five hours study a week for the four weeks until the exam. Sounds easy but the agent’s work schedule was 15-hour days, six days a week.

So she set herself a reward – a very expensive piece of jewellery. The penalty was sending off a cheque for the same amount to a rival agent. She made a “30-day commitment” to herself, told her colleagues about the plan and handed the cheque to her secretary with strict instructions that she should post it if she failed. She succeeded.

April 16, 2003

Motivation Strategies (cont)

Strategy 3: Finishing at the Peak

The strategy is simply to set an hour limit when tackling tasks you usually don’t enjoy.

If you are only going to spend an hour doing a certain task, you don’t need to spend three hours avoiding it. You also boost your chances of enjoying the task.”This strategy is about finishing at the peak of an experience and is based on the belief that you can do anything for an hour,” Gaby explains.

Gaby has used this technique to motivate herself to write follow up letters – something she hates – and to excite trainees about making “cold” sales calls.

She explains that while people waste a lot of time getting started on a job they dislike, they find it very manageable – even enjoyable – once they establish a rhythm and “get on a roll”.

By setting a time limit of one hour, she says, you finish the activity on a “high” and find you are glad to return to it next time around.

Strategy 4: The power role models

This is where you identify a person who is successful at something you want to achieve and you model your behavior on theirs by finding out their success strategies.

You can read up on the person, meet them through a professional group or simply make a direct approach.

If you decide to approach the person Gaby advises doing so by email or a letter so they can refuse. Suggest a short meeting and be specific about what you hope to learn.

Research the person’s interests so you can add something of value to their life in return for their advice.

After meeting the person, send them a thank you explaining how you put their advice into action.

Another method is to read books written by or about successful people such as The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven R Covey; You Don’t Have To Be Born Brilliant: How To Design A Magnificent Life by Australian John McGrath; Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins and The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield.

Strategy 5: Turn learning into action

Buying books and attending seminars is an excellent way of exposing yourself to new ideas but real learning begins when you put knowledge into action, says Gaby.

“To get out of being a student of life, my strategy is to put three of the things that I have learnt from a particular seminar or book into action before I buy one more book or attend one more seminar,” she says.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing:

April 16, 2003