Dealing with demotivation (part 4)

Over the last three posts, we’ve covered the following demotivating factors:

Today’s terrible twosome is comparison and loss.

The demotivating impact of comparison

Whether you’re comparing yourself with the perfect lives you see on social media, your colleagues at work or your former classmates at a school reunion, the effect can all too often be demotivating.

With my clients, we work to step away from comparing with others and work to focus on oneself. Often we use scaling to see where the client is at now and where they’d like to be as well as defining their own measure of success.

For example, Jane wanted to improve her presentation skills. She rated her current performance as a 4 out of 10. She set herself the goal of being at a 7 within the next three months. I asked her what she would be doing differently when she reached that score of 7 so that we had a defined outcome against which to gauge her success.

‘I will have butterflies in my stomach but still feel confident before I go into the meeting. I will have finished my presentation at least 48 hours in advance so that I can rehearse it several times, first on my own and then with my husband. I won’t need to read from a script but I will have a few key points noted on cue cards. I will take a deep breath before I begin and not race through my presentation. I will have some water to hand and will stop to take a drink if I feel my nerves rising. I will handle questions and interruptions calmly and not feel afraid to say that I’ll need to come back later with an answer to a question I can’t immediately respond to. My boss will notice the improvement in my performance and will feel confident about me going to presentations on my own.’

Through her comparison of her current self with her future self, Jane was able to create an action plan to achieve her goal.

The demotivating impact of loss

There are many different types of loss which may demotivate us – loss of hope, loss of a job, loss of respect, loss of a relationship and, of course, bereavement.

I’m not trained as a counsellor and should I see that a client needs support which I’m not equipped to offer, I will help them to find an appropriate practitioner. That being said, there are some instances in which loss can be dealt with through coaching. I have coached clients who have faced redundancy or feel that their career has become stagnant that there is no hope of change. I have worked with clients who feel that they have lost trust with colleagues.

For such clients, the first step towards being able to move on is to acknowledge the loss. What is it exactly that was lost? What was its value? What feelings are being experienced? Our goal is not to wallow in the loss but to see it for what it is rather than force it to the back of our minds. After all, continuing to brush the experience under the carpet will one day lead to tripping over it!

hope spirit heart transcends horizonsIn acknowledging the loss, we give ourselves time to think and reflect then make future plans to move towards a new horizon. It is helpful to share this process with someone else, whether that’s a family member or friend, a trusted colleague, a counsellor or a coach.

Today’s pebbles for you to ponder: 

Is comparison with others sapping your motivation? Will you switch to comparing your current self with your future self and plan accordingly? 

Have you experienced a loss and are struggling to make progress? Who will you ask to help you acknowledge this loss and then make plans?

Next time, we’ll deal with the final two demotivating factors.


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.

If you’d like some help to find your motivation again,
why not email me to see how we can work together?

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