Motivate Yourself Even During the Tough Times
You’ve been working long hours, fighting the political and logistical battles to do what’s right for the business–and just as you think everything’s on track, the landscape changes… a merger, a reorganization, reduced funding… and you feel like you’re starting all over again. How do you motivate yourself when times are hard?
Most of the time when people come to me feeling burned out and exhausted–or even feel like they’re “losing their soul” (it’s not that they no longer care)–it’s that they care so deeply and the lack of progress has made them exhausted.
Have you ever felt this way? Both gung ho AND exhausted?
When the going gets tougher, it’s easy to stare at the mountain of problems and work left to do and wonder if it’s worth the climb. Here’s how to motivate yourself.
The Benefits of Looking Down the Mountain to Motivate Yourself
This summer we’ve convinced Sebastian (age 11) to join us in hiking his first Colorado 14er. We began training last week to help him acclimate to exertion at elevations with 35% less oxygen.
On Saturday, we were nearing 12,000 feet on his first serious training hike and I look over and Seb is gasping for air and visibly frustrated. David’s arms were around him so I smiled and waited for the (oh so familiar) words I knew were coming next.
He turned Seb around and pointed him down the mountain. “Seb, do you see that lake way down there? Do you remember when we passed that and were looking for moose?” Seb’s eyes got wide. “Look how far you’ve come.”
And then David turns him to face up the mountain… “Okay, now look up at what’s left. You’ve got this!”
I can’t tell you how many times that line has worked on me. I now no longer need David for the prompt. I can use it to motivate myself. I promise it’s worth a try.
Start with These Questions
If you’re feeling exhausted and discouraged by the mountain ahead I encourage you to gather your team and reflect on what’s better now than 6 months ago?
- How has the customer experience improved?
- What processes are more streamlined?
- How is your team stronger (leadership, hiring, skills?)
- What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
- How are you showing up as a better human being?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Yes, yes, look up, and plan. But never underestimate the power of a good pause to look down the mountain when you’re looking to motivate yourself.
Thank you for this refreshing look at what happens to most of us “Workaholics” I have been struggling with similar issues, but was able to recharge my batteries and remember some of the ways to look up the mountain and not have it seem like such a long journey.
Thank you for the positive way of looking at this challenge.
I’m so glad! Keep looking up strategically and down to celebrate progress 😉