What To Do When Your Motivation Takes a Dive!

A common question cropping up lately is “How do I stay freakin’ motivated?

You know that feeling when it’s all too much. Maybe it’s a ‘not want to get out of bed thing’, or an ‘I can’t be bothered thing’ or the ‘everywhere I look are jobs to do, it’s never-ending’.

Those 1000 things on the to-do list or spinning in your head, something needs fixing, calls to be made, meetings to be had, this, that, updating, organising, doing…. ‘Argh… it’s never ending!’

And that’s only at work.

Never mind the rest of the life stuff, family, check-up’s overdue… the list goes on.

So whenever someone asks “How do I stay freakin’ motivated?

I have to be honest and say I don’t.

I am as human as everyone else. And quite frankly, like all of us, there are absolutely times when the petrol tank is empty. When the motivation and drive are just not there.

It can be debilitating because you know there is so much to do, it’s all for a good cause, you’re loving it, on purpose and yet, whether it’s the overwhelm, lack of planning or focus, even the most adept of us at it, can still struggle…

So, here’s what I do when the petrol tank is really low or empty.

1)    Be ok to have a puddle on the floor moment

Let it rip, let it out, be ok to be emotional. Share how you’re feeling. Stop for an hour. Get to that yoga class or walk through your local botanic gardens. If you need more, take that mental health day off.  Again let it rip. Holding it in and bottling it up, is only going to make it worse. If it’s not just a moment, but lasting much longer, then ask for some help.

2)    Own IT!

Staying motivated in business through the highs and lows are made easier by having a great team around you. Regardless of the size of the team, remember it is quality, not quantity. If you’re leading the ship, then honesty and communication are key. Be human. Be real with your team. I’m personally not a fan of airing all my baggage with everyone, that’s not my thing. It’s more what I call ‘Own your shit”, (and this will seem gross, however, no other analogy coming to me right now… ) so rather than letting the muck fly around. Own it. Let the team know. ‘Need to let you know, am having a bad day, lots on my plate. Am working on it and really appreciate and value your support and understanding”.

You may notice, no use of the personal pronoun I in the sentence – done for a reason. It’s also not a big pity party – woe is my moment, it is really owning it and being honest, upfront and sharing your appreciation for their support and understanding. I also will add in here… if apologies are required because you’ve let it rip with someone, then that apology is owning it too, may take courage, however again, really an important part of ‘owning it!’

3)    Surround yourself with AWESOMENESS

Now, what happens if it’s your team members or business partners that are not owning their stuff, stepping up and being responsible and that’s what you’re struggling with cause you feel like it’s you and you alone driving the bus, pushing the bus and the tyres are almost flat? Then the question is – Who is on the Team?

At work and at home. Life is way too short to surround yourself or get bogged down in the muck. Muck that others create, allow and go on with because they can’t and don’t own it. We’re all human and we all go through highs and lows, good times and bad, ups and downs, however, choose to surround yourself with AWESOMENESS, because then you’ll be more of that yourself too. It’s hard to wallow in the mud when those around you will not let you.

It NEVER ceases to amaze me almost 10 years into running my own business, that each and every day can still be as wobbly and as challenging as in the early days. The view and challenges are different. Yet nevertheless, the wobbles still happen. However each and every time, it’s made easier and the journey is helped along and supported by having a great team.

Now for you, the team – isn’t always necessarily the immediate work team, you may have a supportive home partner, or friends, family members (or not!), you will have your mentor/s and coach, you may have colleagues or industry peers that you meet or check-in with regularly, or you may have a like-minded group of professionals supporting you along.

As the saying goes “No man or woman is an island”. Coined by John Donne (1572-1631) an English metaphysical poet, it’s an oldie and a goodie.

And a constant reminder we are not designed to exist alone. We are part of humankind. Yet, when the going gets tough and the motivation fails us, we often choose unconsciously to disconnect rather than connect.

4)    Remember WHY

The final step to staying on the pathway, refilling your petrol tank and going the distance is to reconnect with your purpose. Your WHY. Why you’re in business, why the business exists? Who it’s there to help, serve, support, educate, cloth, feed, teach etc.

Here are a few great ways to reconnect with your or the business WHY

–       Look at your /the business purpose written on a whiteboard/poster on the wall
–       Stick your values up in front of you, or make them a screensaver or iPhone reminder
–       Call a client and check-in with them (not because you have to as a part of your to-do list, simply do, cause you care)
–       Gather the team together for a WHY WINGDING (party) – easy to get bogged in the day to day and important to reconnect with the business purpose
–       No matter what the challenges, hurdles, obstacles or potholes look like along the way… they exist for all of us. Regardless of the size of business, the number of employees, the industry we are in or phase of business growth we are at.

As Pablo Picasso once said, “The Foundational Key to Success is ACTION”.

Keep taking steps, go the distance.

Genevieve “Staying on the Pathway” Matthews


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