Well being: Self-motivation is crucial when you are your own sounding board
Edward Matti knows a thing or two about self-motivation. In the past year, the 43 year-old has not only led the company that he cofounded in Dubai seven years ago to open up offices in New York, Montreal and Toronto, but he also delivered a talk on the subject last October at the Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum in Dubai.
“There’s a sense of pride in having a company that started in the UAE heading west, as opposed to the other way around,” says Mr Matti, a Canadian. “There aren’t many companies that get to do that.”
Mr Matti believes self-motivation is an increasingly vital skill.
“The fragmentation of the workforce, with more and more freelancers, start ups and people on short term contracts, makes it all the more critical to be self motivated,” he says. “When you belong to a team or a corporation, you have a sounding board from your colleagues around you. But that doesn’t exist in the entrepreneurial or freelancing world – you are your own sounding board.”
His company, CCM Consultancy, represents the Weatherhead School of Management at America’s Case Western Reserve University, whose professors Richard Boyatzis and David Cooperrider have done research into emotional intelligence (EQ) and drivers of motivation.
“We’ve now realised that emotional intelligence is something that can be enhanced, unlike our IQ, which is set by the age of 13,” Mr Matti says. “Their research found that companies hiring for levels of emotional intelligence are finding themselves with a far more engaged workforce of genuinely happy people.”
Mr Matti believes that for individuals, self-motivation starts with self-belief. “Most people have a limiting self belief, where they tend to hit imagined obstacles. The only obstacles in your way are the ones that you place there yourself. Also key to self-motivation is emotional self-awareness. We often don’t allow ourselves to recognise the various emotional levels that we’re going through, be it frustration, or anger, or sadness, as much as happiness – we don’t savour that moment, nor do we sometimes recognise it and pause and say ‘OK, this is what I’m going through right now.’ Finally, there are the elements we have to find within us – courage, perseverance and the fear of failure.”
Mr Matti says that when the fear of failure is larger than all the other fears (be it fears of being reprimanded, rejection, or doing what it takes), that’s when you motivate yourself to push forward. “For people who don’t find that fear, if they fail, they shrug it off, and say ‘oh well at least I tried, maybe I should get out of this.’ But when the fear of failure is very large, that allows us to push further and to recognise that failure is not an option.”
Q&A: Edward Matti on what motivates people to work:
What are the key motivators for Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000?)
For the very first time, we’re seeing the trend of individuals who, more than anything else, want to say “I love my job”, and genuinely enjoy what they’re doing. Generation Y says, “hang on, if this isn’t fun, then why am I doing it for 10 hours a day?” There’s a trend of them leaving jobs, not because of bad pay or bad treatment, but because the job satisfaction is the experience in and of itself. They savour group recognition, they love team dynamics and they look for fun and exciting environments, whether that’s in large corporations or start-ups. Companies are asking us how they can create that sense of fun in the workplace.
How is that different to the generations before them?
Generation X simply worked because the work was of value and they were valued as individuals. They were much more individualistic. The generation prior to that – the Baby Boomers – did it because it was a job with a paycheck and a possible bonus.
Does being a predominantly expat, multicultural nation affect levels of workforce motivation in the UAE?
As vastly different as our cultures are, we all come to the UAE with the same objectives – a better life, better job, career experiences and maybe a business opportunity. So for many of us, our opportunities, goals and challenges are very similar. Therefore, we tend to connect well with other expats around us, regardless of culture. I’ve come here from Canada and I haven’t seen this kind of connectivity between individuals there as I have here, despite the fact that both Canada and the UAE are relatively multicultural countries.
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Updated: February 15, 2017 04:00 AM