Overcoming a Lack of Motivation

Ever find yourself in a motivational slump? Last week as I viewed large pockets of free time on my calendar I was practically doing back flips thinking of the precious hours I could spend advancing on my goals. Turns out, it didn’t happen that way. What happened was a total lack of motivation, followed by frittering the hours away, ending in a period of zero progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Determined not to let this happen again, I resorted to research. Needing stimulation beyond my own self coaching  I scanned through some motivational blogs and came up short. Everything read like the same old blah, blah, blah that ran through my head. Nothing signaled a brain spark until I noticed a post by Olympic athlete, Inga Stasiulionyte.

Now I was onto something. If anyone could help me carve a path out of this listless do-nothing fog, a javelin thrower turned executive coach had a chance. Obviously anyone who followed her dream all the way to the Beijing Olympic Games knows something about victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I studied her approach to success, it all boiled down to one common theme. Discipline. Okay, nothing new, we all know it takes commitment and focus to get to the goal line, however, in this simple sentence Inga offered up a key to get me back on track. “Build a no-matter what mindset.” Aha! You see all week long I gave myself permission goof-off. I decided if I could permit a lax attitude, I could also create a no-matter what mindset.

While testing it out the next day I encountered some resistance. After working on my top priority for twenty minutes, I found myself cleaning out a desk drawer. Obviously my brain preferring to operate on auto-pilot wasn’t buying into this new mindset thing. Faced with the choice of rearranging my desk or returning to work I vacillated for a moment. As I surveyed the objects in the drawer I spied a big black marker.  Grabbing the fat pen and a sheet of paper I wrote in large black letters “no matter what” and stuck it on the wall in front of me. Eyeing that powerful phrase was exactly what I needed to kick me back into action.

This new mindset worked again the next day. You see, I live in the desert and was late getting out for my power walk. Feeling like the heat was getting to me I considered cutting my trek short. Taking a deep breath I looked up at the sun and proclaimed (yep…you guessed it) no matter what! It was all I needed to suck it up and finish my walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it. Human beings fall into slumps that thwart progress. When the doldrums take over, search out a role model who didn’t give up. Grab on to a motivational mantra and push yourself forward. Although I cannot correctly  pronounce Inga’s last name, I assure you I will never forget her for inspiring a “no-matter what” mindset. Game on!

 

How to Get Over a Major Hurt

Thorny experiences are challenging. Bruised memories of a taxing ordeal linger on like a bad dream even after grinding through the pain and discomfort.

This baggage not only casts a negative shadow, it takes up space.  Living with a past hurt is like having a dreary dungeon-like room in your home so crammed full of unsightly objects you cannot get in to open a window and let the sun shine in.

Ridding yourself of the urge to ruminate over painful experiences takes some extra effort. Think pageantry or radical action. Recently I read about a practice called a sorrow bonfire.  I never was much of a Campfire Girl but the idea appeals to me.There is power in fire. Take your painful experience and commit it to paper. Trek out to the beach or a campsite and create a bonfire.

Bring some friends along to witness the event. With sincere reflection toss your missive into the fire.  As you watch the document go up in flames, reflect on the fact it’s been reduced to ash. It can no longer throw a dark pallor over your life.

Sometimes you just need to beat the crap out of a huge hurt.

Years ago, when I felt my stress and frustration level mounting, I’d head out to a local game room. Upon entering I’d make a beeline for a game involving a soft mallet used to beat down pop-up gophers. Smacking those little guys back in their hole was not only a fun stress reliever; I also racked up multiple valuable redeemable points. My next move was to gift some little person with tickets that could be converted into cute stuffed animals.

The smiles I received in return were worth the all the money I poured into the gopher machine. I left feeling joyful on the drive home.

In her book, “Happiness as a Second Language,” author Valerie Alexander offers up another interesting action to rid yourself of a painful experience. Fill a piñata with fun little treats.

Next hang it up and hammer your paper-mache image with all your might as you commit to letting go of the bad memory forever. Then scoop up the delights and share them with others.

Ready to leave your pain behind and move on? Try the bonfire or piñata or any other method that ends in joy. Let go of the hurt. It’s time, right?

The Power of Patience

Yesterday I found this fellow gracing my patio. He is so regal it takes my breath away. I’ve seen him around here before. It appears he’s established himself as a seasonal resident.

If you don’t know me, I should explain I live on a small man-made body of water called Lake Mirage. I’ve studied this bird a lot. In my estimation, he possesses an admirable quality, one I often lack. Yep, that characteristic is patience.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

Whether resting in quiet contemplation or eyeing his next meal, my big bird friend waits, and waits and waits without flinching. Then, at the perfect moment he goes in for the catch of the day. Voila! Mission accomplished, dinner is served.

Do you have trouble mastering patience? If so, please read on. If not, I urge you to read on anyway and please leave a comment explaining how you keep calm and carry on while the rest of us are chomping at the bit to move forward when we should be more like big bird and wait it out.

You may think patience is a passive act. On the contrary, it’s more about control which takes focus and energy. For example, if I placed a wrapped gift in front of a five year old and told her not to open it for five minutes, you can bet the poor little tyke would expend all kinds of energy waiting out the clock.

Someone once defined patience as “the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” So how do you notch it down from full speed ahead to slow and steady wins the race?

Begin by defining what gets under your skin. If it’s the wait that does you in, start using some positive self talk. Take comfort in the fact that patience builds character.

Stopping to pause also results in better decision making. No doubt my big bird friend patiently passes on the tiny appetizer fish and nabs one large enough to whet his appetite.

This water fowl taught me another lesson about patience in thought and movement. He never runs but moves gracefully covering the ground in long strides. I on the other hand have a tendency to rush, to move too fast, hurrying along like a dizzy chicken in a frenzied manner.

It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to emulate the stately big bird by being mindful and carefully considering the journey on my way to the goal line.

The next time your patience is tested think of my big bird buddy at Lake Mirage. Slow it down, think it through, and step on the brakes. Doing so will help you be more resourceful and productive.