Welcome back, my WIMBAs, to another empowering episode of the Women in Medicine Badass Radioshow. How are you all?
I’ve heard from a few of you and it seems like the consensus these days is that you have a lot going on and that perhaps there are things you would like to do that are harder to get off the ground and one of the reasons for that might be low motivation.
So today we are going to talk about all things motivation. I’ve gathered up quotes from several thought leaders who share their perspective on the subject. We will dive into those first and then bring it all together into some actionable steps you can take in case you feel stuck, unmotivated, and frustrated that you’re not achieving the things you value as important in your life.
Sometimes we talk about a lack of motivation to begin a task. If that’s you, consider this quote from J.K. Rowling, the wildly successful author of the Harry Potter series who wasn’t successful overnight but believed in herself so much that she kept pushing until she found someone who believed in her as much as she believed in herself. She says:
“All I need is 20 seconds of insane courage, to put on my running shoes.
All I need is 20 seconds of insane courage, to make that phone call to potential customers.
All I need is 20 seconds of insane courage, to ask for a date.
20 seconds, never been easier for me.”
I just love this concept that instead of looking at all the things you have to do, you just have to look at how long it takes to get started. And when you think about 20 seconds, it doesn’t feel very overwhelming does it? In fact, it feels incredibly doable and it’s perhaps what you need in order to jumpstart you into the action mode that you need to get into.
What if you have no trouble starting? What you might need is motivation to persist in a task.
For you, here is a quote from the book Power of Perseverance. It says:
“When nothing seems to be working, I go to a stone mason and watch him at his work hammering rock again and again at least 100 times without even as much as a dent in it. Yet at the 101 strike, the stone split into two and I know it wasn’t that strike to split it but the ones that went before it!”
This quote reminds me of a story that you often hear about regarding the gold rush. I’m not even sure this was a true story, but the premise holds. It’s about a guy who was chiseling against the rock looking for gold. He kept going and found nothing so he finally gave up. He lost his motivation to keep going, you might say. Another guy saw that this area became available so he took over and within a short while struck gold. Why? Because the majority of the work was completed by the other bloke.
We’ve covered how to motivate you to start and persist in a task. Now, I’d like to delve into the psychology of motivation. This is all about mindset and what the experts share here is really fascinating. Let’s take a look at what psychologically motivates us humans.
According to John Lennon, “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
This idea is profound, that we are motivated by fear and love. Let’s look at each one individually.
When it comes to fear, the biggest fear we have is the fear of death. To that end, Fredrik Backman, the Swedish writer of the novel, A Man Called Ove, said:
“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”
The other big fear we struggle against is the fear of failure and this is embedded in us from a young age when we’re school-aged kids. The American film director, Stanley Kubrick, talks about this. He says:
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”
And coming back to the idea of love and motivation, the incredible and inspiring astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said:
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
To recap, so far we said that sometimes it’s hard to get started and other times it’s challenging to persist in a task if you lose your motivation. Zig Ziglar addressed this when he said, “Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”
In other words, you can’t rely on motivation to take action. You need to cultivate it and you do so by taking action first.
I often talk about how to manage your thoughts and the same concept applies here. If you think about it, motivation is a feeling. If you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s because of a thought you are having. So take a step back and consider what are you telling yourself that is leading to low motivation? And if you’d like to feel more motivated, what would you need to think instead?
Here are 3 examples of reframes that can help:
- Identify why you love doing the thing you’re procrastinating on. It could be because it makes you stronger, smarter, more informed, more resilient. Find a positive adjective or three and complete this sentence: “I love doing x because ______________.”
- If you need motivation for something that makes you feel good but is just hard to get started on, say to yourself, “When I do x, it makes me feel __________ (and then find a positive emotion to fill in the blank with).
- If the reason you’re not taking action is because when you think about everything involved in accomplishing your goal and then you feel overwhelmed, answer this, “What is the one tiny step I can take today that will help move the needle forward?”
Similar to what we heard JK Rowling talking about, maybe it’s something that only takes 20 seconds to do.
You now have an opportunity to reflect. Are you motivated by fear or love? Perhaps both? When you think about the end of your life, what would you need to have achieved in order not to feel any regrets? Once you identify the answer to this, create some goals around it and make sure that what you are doing on the regular aligns with your purpose, these important values and goals that you hold. And see if the things you’re currently doing or thinking about doing are on that list. If not, it’s an opportunity to revamp your to-do list.
And I want to offer this. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our world that it’s hard to discern what’s necessary from what’s optional. It’s hard to differentiate between what we want to do and what we feel we have to do. That’s where coaching comes in because it provides you with an opportunity to challenge your habitual perception, beliefs, and the way of being in the world. And the good news is that you can sign up to chat with me for your breakthrough session for FREE. So grab a spot on my calendar. Go to: www.bookachatwithsharon.com
I look forward to helping you determine what’s really going on with your lack of motivation and sharing insights on what you can do to feel more inspired, take more aligned action, and live a more fulfilling life.
I’ll see you next week. Take care.