Let’s be honest, we all feel it at some stage or another — lack of motivation. Some of us are highly skilled procrastinators! When it comes to motivation, it’s about understanding WHAT is undercutting your efforts and WHERE to start.
At the time of writing this article, 2017 is very much underway. Each of us are getting a feel for what this year will be about. On a large scale, our world is facing major challenges on environmental, political, human rights and health matters. And that’s where I want to focus— what MATTERS. This is a fundamental component to success and fulfilment. Ask yourself:
• Where does your FOCUS lie?
• What areas of your life are consuming your ENERGY?
• And most importantly — do these two aspects match-up?
As a global consciousness, are we focussing on what matters, what inspires us and what sustains us? Or are we held back (or driven by) fear, discomfort and difference? It can be easy to think “what can I do as an individual when so many things bigger than me are happening in the world?” It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
What’s the point?
When we’re struggling, it’s common to ask “what’s the point?”. My response is: “exactly”. Rather than a throw-away phrase, purpose is your starting point. What are you motivated by? Focus on what deeply matters to you in your life. Is it family, friends, self-care and self worth, our land, our people, our animals? Is it making a difference, caring, creating or building?
Secondly, and here’s the cracker: understand that your survival system (in your Central Nervous System) works to prevent you from doing anything that’s hurtful, uncomfortable or different physically, mentally or emotionally. So, why does this matter when it comes to motivation? The very system which works to PROTECT you, will also try to PREVENT you from expanding or stepping out of the box. New experiences or new levels of mastery can be seen by your survival system as a threat.
Author and Research Fellow, Tiffany Watt Smith in her study of emotions (‘The Book of Human Emotions’, Wellcome Collection, 2015) linked motivation, purpose and our survival system through her study into apathy:
apathy was defined as more than laziness or listlessness. It was a loss of motivation or purpose, the vacuous indifference which can come when we are feeling overwhelmed (pg 28)
Talk it through
Overwhelm is one of the most common signs that your survival system is playing a major part in your lack of motivation. If someone you care about was stressed or overwhelmed, it’s most likely that you would talk them through what was happening. We often forget to have this same supportive conversation with ourselves. Perhaps you have focus, you’ve found meaning within your next step: a new project, a new job, a difficult conversation, or change in some form or another. But you just can’t get it off the ground. You can’t seem to take that first step. Talk with your survival system. Say to yourself “Yes, this is new or different, but THAT’S OK”. Recognise that often, sitting in the zone of procrastination can be more uncomfortable than actually stepping up or out.
Make a conscious choice
The process of making a choice to do something uncomfortable is very different to circumstances whereby it just happens to you. Choice is much less threatening. Choose to step out of the box. Remind yourself of what matters and enable this to fuel action. And remember, discomfort is most likely transitory. The ‘new’ soon becomes the ‘normal’.
I came across this interview and was INSPIRED by the magnificence of Mel Robbins, one of the top 20 TEDx talks in the world, former criminal defence attorney turned on-air commentator and CNN contributor. Robbins exposes the myth of motivation and explains how to make the micro-decisions that will launch you into success in this episode of Impact.
If you would like to start with the shorter section of the interview that eloquently illustrates the link between survival and motivation then you can watch her clip on my Facebook page.
So, start small. Start with YOU: your focus, your energy and what matters to you. Know that sometimes you need to talk yourself through change, fear and difference. Remind yourself that “You’ve Got This”. Inspire others and thus our global consciousness to realign focus and what truly matters in this world (love, kindness and inclusiveness, anyone?!).
“The idea that everything is purposeful really changes the way you live. To think that everything that you do has a ripple effect, that every word that you speak, every action that you make affects other people and the planet.” (Victoria Moran)
As always, much love and light to you, my friends.
And remember; You don’t have to do it alone. xkp