Is the Fear of Failure the “Big Gun’ of motivational tools? Or just another negative voice in your head. The answer may surprise you.
The phrase Fear of Failure usually carries with it a stigma of being a ‘negative’ motivator, and therefore not a good motivator. I say ‘negative schmegative’.
In my opinion, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as well as Hertzberg’s theory that achievement, recognition, and challenging work are the true motivators, in fact, over complicates the whole subject.
When I think back on all the things that have motivated me throughout my career, I keep coming back to the #1 motivator that has NEVER failed me. I call it the ‘Big Gun’ of motivators
But what about the extensive list of motivators we use regularly but fail to motivate us? For many of us these motivators come and go, work and then don’t work, seem like they should work, are ones we want to work, but they don’t, or are too esoteric to be meaningful when what you’re facing is a looming deadline?
For some of us, even our hope can wane, our interest in the project starts diminishing, the will for us to move ahead, try harder, work smarter are all just out of our reach as a motivator.
Your employer may get into the act (they saw our lagging motivation too) and they may give you motivational gifts. You know the ones, like pens, service awards, Tshirts, jackets, coffee mugs, candy, lunch, paid time off for good behavior (well, I never actually got that one, but some people did).
Don’t miss understand me, I’m not suggesting that employers should stop giving stuff (gifts) to their employees as part of their Employee Motivation Program, because ALL employees love FREE gifts! The more the merrier!
What I am suggesting is this: Motivation to do a good job is 1st and foremost as individual as you are, comes from within us, and probably includes most of the ones mentioned here.
So, when I need to ignite my motivation I bring out the ‘Big Gun’ ~~ The Fear of Failure. It’s not hard to find, cuz it’s right here in the pit of my stomach. It’s that Oh My Gosh (OMG) feeling when I realize it’s all up to me and the thought of telling my boss I missed a deadline, or didn’t finish a report, or couldn’t get the data, or lost a client; That’s the instant I know that I will not fail today or tomorrow ~~
Meanwhile . . . I’m still working on getting that day off with pay for my good behavior. Any suggestions? I know what you’re thinking . . . pull out the ‘Big Gun’. I’m trying.
Patti Schiappa has more than 25 years experience in Human Resources Management in a variety of industries. The last 10 years she worked as the Director of Human Resources for a nonprofit agency in the Los Angeles area. Prior to that she worked in the consulting industry for RSM McGladrey, in manufacturing and distribution for a Motorcraft distributor, in law for Latham & Watkins, and for a aerospace defense contractor.
She graduated from SDSU with a BA degree in Psychology and is currently working as a HR consultant in the San Diego area.
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