As a successful businessman, I often get asked how I manage to maintain my personal motivation. And the truth is sometimes, I don’t!
Think about someone who you deem to be successful – I bet it seems as though they’ve never endured any hardship. But the journey to success is paved with insecurity and self-doubt. It’s just rarely spoken about.
Today I want to talk about the steps you can take to maintain your personal motivation even in the hardest of times.
Understand that you are a human – not a machine
The first step to maintaining your personal motivation is to understand that you are a human and not a machine.
At times in your life, you will lose motivation. This is completely normal – stop feeling bad and begrudging yourself because of it.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to take note of when you’re feeling demotivated – and try to understand the reason why.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as the fact that you’re not getting enough sleep. Not prioritising your health and wellbeing can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and demotivated.
Once you figure out the problem, you can take proactive steps towards finding a solution.
A few years into starting my business, we had a real toxic culture problem within our small team of staff. They were always out together partying and during work times they were unfocused and doing the very minimum they could get away with.
I had worked so hard to build the business up to that stage that I couldn’t have people jeopardizing its future because they had no personal motivation. I was devastated that things were turning out this way.
I turned the initial anger that I had felt towards the staff inwards onto myself, as I felt I was in the wrong for hiring these people in the first place. However, I could never have anticipated the toxic influence they would have on one another over time.
During this time, I too felt demotivated. My business seemed to be crashing in around me. Yet I knew what I had to do – and over a two-year-long period, we replaced every single member of staff.
This did not come without its challenges. It was a gradual phase, as we could not replace every member of staff immediately.
At times, I felt like giving up altogether. Especially when the existing staff would poison the minds of the newcomers out of resentment.
But recognising the problem was the first step to coming up with a solution – and that’s what you must do, too.
Without favouritism or rose-tinted glasses, you must look deep within yourself to find the cause of any problem – that is the only way you’ll fix it.
Work-life balance – does it exist?
Work-life balance has been the “buzz phrase” of the past few years. We’re at a time where, unlike ever before, having a healthy attitude to work is encouraged.
We are gradually seeing a shift in the workplace whereby the person who is the first in the office in the morning and the last out at night is no longer seen as the hardest worker by default.
We’re in a “work-smarter era” – and for the majority of people and workplaces, it sure is a welcome change!
Having a good work-life balance in my life has been key to maintaining my personal motivation. You can’t keep on running at optimum capacity when your battery is at 30%.
However, I think that the mistake people make is thinking that work-life balance is all about leaving the office at 3pm every day. When actually, work-life balance is about just that – balancing.
Some days, your work will require more of you. When I was setting up my first business, I was unemployed and broke and I was easily working all day seven days a week. But I knew it was only short-term and that the long-term benefits would be worth it in the end.
Similarly, at other times, your life outside of work will take priority. If someone you care about is ill, or you have other things going on in your personal life then you don’t need to feel bad about putting your family, or health and wellbeing first.
Though be careful – as it’s easy to start to using your health and wellbeing as an excuse for not working as hard as you could be.
Remember that no one feels 100%, 100% of the time. Give yourself the freedom to do what’s best for you, but not so much freedom that it’s counter-intuitive and you end up losing motivation – then you’re right back where you started.
Never stop challenging yourself
One of the main reasons that people lose personal motivation is because they stop challenging themselves.
You’ll often hear that you are the equivalent of the five people you spend the most time with – good qualities and bad.
In my experiences, it’s true. So if you’re spending a lot of time with people who are negative, or content to just carry on doing the same thing, day in, day out, then that will, in turn, have a knock-on effect on you.
Ask yourself – when was the last time you can truthfully say you challenged yourself? Learned a new skill, did something that truly pushed yourself out of your comfort zone?
Humans are creatures of habit. By nature, we don’t like to leave the quiet, comforting confines of what we know to explore what we don’t.
But this is what you MUST do, continually, day-in, day-out in order to maintain your personal motivation and achieve success – whatever success may look like for you.
I’m not saying you have to do commit to learn French or start a new hobby every day – challenging yourself can be as little as deciding to walk to work or getting to know a new colleague if you’re naturally introverted.
When I started playing wheelchair basketball in my mid-30s and I was absolutely terrified. To say it was pushing myself out of my comfort zone was an understatement, but I really wanted the sense of pride and purpose that comes from playing competitive sport.
I was never going to let disability stand in the way of working to constantly better myself as a person and you shouldn’t either.
Lastly – what do you want people to say about you after you’re gone?
One of the most inspirational talks I’ve ever heard told the story of a funeral. You walked in, your loved ones were there crying and someone close to you – your wife, husband, partner or sibling is up at the podium.
As you get closer down the church aisle, you realise something. The funeral is your own, and they’re about to describe you and the story of your life.
Now consider this – what do you want people to say about you after you’ve gone?
What kind of person do you want to be?
What do you want to be remembered for?
Though it may seem a slightly morbid example, it’s the best way you can consider your life objectively, look at what you’re doing now and ask yourself the paramount question:
“Is what I’m doing today leading me further towards being the person I want to be remembered for?”
If the answer is no, then you need to make a change.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, you can read more about my experiences of surviving disability, abuse and racism in my best-selling book, I Can, I Will.
I love the opportunity to spread my message of the power of a positive mindset. Therefore if you would like me to speak at your event you can also contact me here.
And lastly, you can keep in touch with me on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading!