The Relationship Between Motivation And Stress

If you're interested in the relationship between motivation and stress, you should check out this blog post by Daniel Wood.

His key points in managing the inevitable dynamic tension between motivation and stress (not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, stress from motivation up to a point is actually a driving force in living a meaningful and happy life) were clarity, writing projects down, knowing everything that needs to be done, know what you are working on, identifying next actions and knowing you aren't missing something.

These key points address what I consider to be a primary cause of unnecessary and unproductive stress - uncertainty.

I wish I had it to hand as I write this blog post but in the research for my next book, I came across a finding that people experience worse health outcomes from the stress that they might lose their job than what they experience from actually losing their jobs. Wow. Sometimes our brains are not our friends. That stems from uncertainty.



In the face of uncertainty, many people lean on beliefs that carve off the world into a much smaller and manageable and certain chunk. This drives a lot of prejudices and restricts a lot of people's personal and professional development.

So, I'd have to say that I agree with Daniel's views for the most part. Anything you can do as a leader to positively and realistically manage the uncertainty in their lives and work will positively impact their motivation. My main proviso would be the word "realistically." Perfectionism ("knowing you aren't missing something") rarely ends well for most people. Finding you have missed something after you knew you weren't missing anything is a self-blame spiral start-line you should plan to prevent. Stress management is about knowing you haven't missed anything critical or important, not that you haven't missed anything. That way lies missed sleep and a little bit more madness than you deserve.