Motivation, like luck, is a very fickle lover. You’re highly motivated, moving forward at warp speed with everything going your way and never even notice Mistress Motivation slipping out the back door…
It’s not hard to get yourself into a higher state of enlightened motivation. Attend a motivational speech by Les Brown, Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker, Brian Tracy or myself. Read a book by Jack Canfield, Mary Beth Maziarz, Ivan R. Misner, Napoleon Hill or Norman Vincent Peale. Listen to a Steve G. Jones recording or watch a video series from the late Jim Rohn.
Now you’re all fired up with enough motivation to conquer the world – and your energy levels are through the roof! You leap out of bed in the morning and head to the gym. Workout finished you shower and head to the office, spending your day making every big deal your competitors can’t. You’re moving and grooving, rocking down the house and demolishing the obstacles that stray into your path. You head home and leave your spouse tired, sore and sporting a silly grin that just won’t go away. Life is FANTASTIC and can only get better…
Except it doesn’t. In week two it takes more effort to keep it all together, but you manage. You still feel like you’re giving 110%, but now you’re not quite getting to everything – at the end of each day there’s still an item or two on today’s to-do list. No worries, you figure – you’ll just add them to tomorrow’s list. Right now you need to deal with a couple of things that aren’t going just right this week.
Somewhere in week three you notice things are slowing down again and maybe it’s not quite so important to get to the gym EVERY workout… Besides, you decide, it was naive to think you’d be able to keep moving forward that fast. After all, no one else does either, right? Even on bad days you’re doing as much as the next person, and you’re still smarter, better looking and more likable than them anyway.
Week 4 ends with all your new-found motivation lost once more and your co-workers welcome you back while trying to hide their annoying ‘told-you-so’ snickers.
What happened? Where did all that unstoppable motivation go? Just why doesn’t motivation stick around?
The Other Side Of Motivation…
First, don’t beat yourself up over having gone through the above cycle. The careers of most salespeople, marketers, executives, musicians, artists and everyone else who depend on energy and creativity are littered with many such cycles – it’s one of the reasons that motivational resources and speakers are always in high demand as professionals rush back for their next fix. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you approach personal motivation the same way you do other challenges in your life.
To understand what’s happened, think of yourself as a container meant to hold motivation. When you first started your adult life you were a shiny, brand-spanking-new container that held tight to every drop of motivation that was ever poured into you. But over time the trials and tribulations of daily life punched small holes in the bottom of your container – not enough to drain the motivation out of you quickly, but still enough to slowly lower your levels. As time went on, though, the number of holes kept increasing and you began running out of motivation faster and faster as the leaks increased the outflow.
So when your low-motivation indicator light came on you rushed out and poured in more motivation. Thinking logically, what would happen? Exactly what you’ve just been through – your container filled up but emptied before very long.
Has the light bulb over your head come on yet? Using this analogy it’s easy to see the problem, isn’t it?
Your motivation will just keep leaking out no matter how much you pour in unless you fix the holes already in your motivation container!
THAT’S the side of motivation you seldom hear about – the need to remove the demotivational factors in your life. Sometimes it’s physical factors – a person, your environment or your health. Most likely you already know how to plug those holes once you’ve identified them. Just as often it’s a mindset issue – your own way of looking at things can be demotivating you every single day.
Every time you complain about ‘the rich’ or ‘the big guys’ you’re telling your subconscious you’re not part of those groups and don’t want to be – gee, think that might hold you back a tad? If you’re always dwelling on your bills and poor financial status you’re undermining your own self-image – an important aspect of your motivational capacity. If you’re daunted by huge projects that are looming on your horizon or by to-do lists that seem to go on forever, take a look at the NLP technique of ‘chunking’ and get over it.
Take some private time and really look at your current life situation and your attitudes and you should be able to find the motivational leaks in your daily life. You won’t be able to identify them all at first, but as you fix the more obvious ones the smaller ones will come to light too. List them as you notice them and then cross them off the list as you permanently correct them. Here’s a tip – if all of your problems appear to stem from others and none from your own actions or attitudes you need to grow up, accept responsibility for your actions and be a LOT more honest with yourself if you intend to get anywhere in life.
As each hole in your container gets plugged your motivation will be around longer before it drains away. You’ll never plug every leak since new leaks appear even while you’re removing the existing ones. The trick here is to fill enough of the holes that it becomes easy to keep adding more motivation than can leak out.
Once you get to that point you’ll be able to hold onto so much motivation that it’ll be sloshing over the top as you race forward – and you’ll have become a motivational resource for those around you as well. Just think of all you’ll accomplish when you no longer run out of motivation!