Chris Lorence: Reigniting the fire in your belly

By Chris Lorence, ICBA

It happens often without you realizing it. You wake up one day and realize you aren’t feeling tremendously motivated or excited to do anything new or different. Your plate is full, you have plenty of opportunities around you, and things are going along as they should, so why change anything? As leaders, we’ve all had to deal with team members who’ve lost their motivation, but what happens when that person is you?

Don’t ask yourself, “What did I achieve today?”
Ask yourself, “What did I learn today?”

Motivating your team is a fundamental part of your role, which makes it even harder to admit that you aren’t feeling all that inspired yourself. And, worse still, you know that your lack of motivation is most likely contagious.

Where did the fire in your belly go? How do you get it back? Luckily, it’s possible to reignite your leadership mojo—and inspire your team—without accepting that this can be what happens when you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. Here are three things you can do to protect your mojo and even get your fire back: 

  • Start by admitting that the fire needs stoking.
    Validate your thoughts by asking colleagues for feedback on how things are going. Ask people how they feel about a project they’re working on. Then listen. Given permission, those around you will let you know if things seem a little stale. It’s easy to shy away from criticism, but it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for input. It’s actually a sign of greatness that you’re open to feedback.
  • Celebrate where you are and when progress is made.
    We get so caught up in setting goals and striving to achieve them that we often forget to pause and celebrate our own strengths and accomplishments. It’s easy to stay motivated at the start of a job or project, but harder to keep that momentum going. Acknowledging progress, even incremental success, is helpful to keep everyone energized. Go out and talk to community members whom you’ve helped, then bring them in to talk to the team. This reinforces the sense of mission that is so essential to organizational prosperity.
  • Connect with those who inspire you, and engage your inner explorer.
    Humans, by nature, want to find meaning in what we do. The easiest way to find it is by connecting with people and resources that allow us to think new thoughts and explore new possibilities. Set some learning goals for yourself. Don’t ask yourself, “What did I achieve today?” Ask yourself, “What did I learn today?” You might find that people outside of your immediate circle have a lot to teach you about how to think differently.

Chris Lorence ( is ICBA group executive vice president–member engagement and strategy