The Flow State: Episode 3 Understanding Motivation

Welcome to our show notes for Episode 3 of the Flow State, where we talk about motivation. Show notes are here to explain some fine points, offer some outside resources, and give you a good overview of the show itself.

Feel free to leave comments, questions, or suggestions for future episodes in the comment section below. Enjoy!

  • The root of our discussion comes from supplemental writing from our Whitewater Leadership Series: ‘What Makes a Great Leader?’
  • Additional listening recommended from our audience can be found via the following podcast: ‘The Dr. Feel Good of Extreme Sports
  • Intrinsic motivation v extrinsic motivation –> why do we pursue the challenges of whitewater kayaking?
    • Intrinsic- internal factors such as a desire for self-improvement, curiosity, health & well-being, etc.
      • I love the water and want to connect with myself.
    • Extrinsic- external or outside forces such as prizes, applause, peer pressure, etc.
      • My friend paddles! I want to try it.
  • “The feeling at the bottom of the rapid does not come without the feeling at the top.”
    • Challenge is inherent in many of life’s great pursuits, including whitewater kayaking! Having clearly defined, strong intrinsic motivations can keep us dedicated through exceptionally difficult pursuits.
  • Studies have found that athletes performing at the top of their fields have well-defined intrinsic motivations which help them stay focused and positive through natural, expected lows in energy, performance, and fitness.
    • Extrinsic motivators aren’t necessarily bad, but perhaps do not offer a long-term fortitude in keeping us motivated through lulls or negativity.  ‘I love the process. I love the struggle. I love my team. I love the community. I love the problem solving. I love how my body feels after I do this.
  • Fixed mindset v Growth mindset
    • Fixed mindset says intelligence, abilities, etc. are unchanging.
      • This type of mindset can be anxious or urgent, with an inclination to avoid challenges. Failures are seen as indicators of attempting to exceed what’s possible.
    • Growth mindset believes that anything can be improved with enough effort.
      • This type of mindset welcomes adversity and views challenges, failures as an opportunity to learn and improve.
  • Competition is a great way to keep us focused and driving for progress… but not all of us are Green Racers. Below are some accessible competitions for those who prefer to cheer from the far left side at Gorilla:
  • Service to our community is another great way to stay motivated within whitewater:
  • We all lose our desire in paddling- and other areas in life, too- but continuing to pursue the root of what brought us to this point in the first place can help us stay motivated to keep connecting. What’s wrong with ‘just fun?’ 
  • Here’s some ways to reignite your passion if you find yourself a little lackluster:
    • Commit to something that requires time and frequency, like training for a race or volunteering.
    • Set goals; start big, and work backwards to create some smaller, measurable goals.
    • Find your tribe. Working through difficult periods is much easier when you’re surrounded by folks that are willing to try with you, or support you while you troubleshoot.
    • Vary your paddling. Paddle for fun, do an attainment workout, try a different discipline of boating. Keep it interesting and diverse so that stagnancy does not creep in.
    • Track yourself both qualitatively and quantitatively. Journal, Excel spreadsheet, Strava… whatever speaks to you. Keeping track of progress can help you stay grounded and remind you of growth as well as help to identify areas of weakness or pitfall.
    • Identify fringe benefits like improved health and fitness, mental well-being, community, stress relief, etc.
    • Give back. Find a cause that speaks to you and allows you to channel your passion at the same time.
    • Treat yo’self! Parks and Recreation got it right… when you’re working hard, you need a reward. And sometimes, even when things haven’t been going well, a little treat can set you right. A new helmet, a weekend getaway… a carrot on the end of the stick never hurt anyone when it comes to motivation.
    • Workout. If nothing else, paddling can be a great fitness activity… so head to your nearest lake or Class II and create a little butt-kicking session for yourself. Sweat and endorphins are powerful medicine.
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