Got motivation? Sometimes when the going gets really tough, it is really hard for me to stay focused and keep taking those wretchedly hard baby steps to move forward. I know I need to, but there are so many fun, easy distractions out there. What I call the “ooh, shiny” syndrome—especially on those days where I’m tired from busting my ass and I’d rather be watching funny cat videos. Sometimes the difficulty and resistance come from my being stuck in fear, and not admitting that I don’t want to deal with it.
This one I learned from T. Harv Ecker’s seminars where he tells people to put a pile of rocks, smaller stones and sand into a container. All of it. Everyone takes a shot at filling the container, with hilariously messy results. The secret? Put the big rocks in first. Then add the smaller rocks to fill the gaps around the big rocks. And finally add the sand to fill in all the remaining cracks. Presto, a nicely filled container with no messy overflow.
Harv’s lesson? Each week, pick your top 3 big rocks, and work your butt off to get them done and crossed off your to-do list. I now have a monthly calendar whiteboard in my office that lists my 3 big rocks that I want to take care of, and the rewards for knocking them off the list.
This week my biggest priorities are finishing a marketing plan for a high-profile community project, nailing my new opt-in offers (my current module from Marie Forleo’s B-School program) and getting my newsletter out on time. ARGGGGH. I have a great list of ideas on how to use content I already developed. Now I get to actually do the work of repurposing the content. Not so much fun, and I am going to need some really fun carrots to bust through this rock. NO - make that lots of dark, rich chocolate.
Tip: find an accountability buddy to help you stay on track, provide lots of “atta boys,” “atta girls,” "atta theys" or "atta whatevers." I have two business partners-in-crime that are tough mothers, and a great FaceBook support group for Marie’s program. It’s like having kick-ass fitness workout partners for my business.
Ask yourself honestly what’s holding you back. Lots of times I have big, hairy goals that I set for myself, and I scare myself to death just thinking about them. Smack the little voices inside your head that aren’t helping you move forward. These little voices are fear-based, and they are not interested in the least to help you become happy and living in positive energy. I have a friend who has even named all of her inner critics. I think I have twins for some of hers. “Negative Nellie.” “Numbing Norma.” “Good-enough Gertie.” “Judgmental Judy.” Whenever these diabolical hooligans start popping up and attempt to derail me, I know it’s time to “patronus.”
As in Professor Lupin’s training on how to summon my own protective, good energy to disperse my negative thoughts and get me back into the positive zone. These gremlins especially like to attack after setbacks, snafus and receiving negative feedback or criticism. Sometimes it’s hard being a human being. Use whatever weapons you have at hand to fend them off. Some of my favorite tactics include:
Then get back up on your feet and keep going. Don’t waste your time on the nay-sayers. As my Kung Fu master always said, “Fall down 7 times. Get up 8.”
This is the bigger picture for tactic #2. I recently completed an exercise from Marie’s B-School program that was a real eye-opener. The assignment was to come up with a comprehensive list of all the products and services that I could offer to help people. I had to account for potential revenue generation and the amount of my time and energy it would take to do. Standard Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) kind of stuff. No big deal—standard MBA school assignment.
However, Marie added two catches to the assignment—ones that no business school even thinks about addressing.
WOW. I suggest that you look at your goals and to-do list with the same mindset as Marie’s. Once I completed these two steps, I had a completely different perspective on what opportunities would be the best fit for me. I am going to revisit these on a regular basis, just to make sure that I am fired up about what I am taking on, and giving myself permission to let go of the things that are no longer serving me.
P.s. – For more help with gremlin-wrangling, check out Rick Carson’s book Taming Your Gremlin.
Other great resources:
Today is National “I am in control day.” Yes, there is such a thing. This day reminds me of when I was first learning to ride a horse on my own. My uncles used to take me riding double when I was a small fry. Eventually I grew in size and needed to learn how to manage a horse by myself. I already knew how to tack up and get ready. But being on top of the horse all by myself was a whole new experience. My uncle the horse-whisperer started by clipping a lead on to the bridle. He led me around the barnyard while I discovered how to connect with the horse through the reins.
Wow. I had no idea of all the talking back and forth he did with the horse while we were flying down the farm driveway. And I had to learn how to do all of that on my own. It was scary but exhilarating at the same time. We spent weeks walking in circles, making turns, and even backing up before he was satisfied that I could work together with the horse without yanking or tugging on the reins, and I could cue the horse with my cowgirl boots when needed. Working in partnership with the horse opened up a whole new universe to me.
Maybe you have experienced something similar, where you are in control but not having to be an absolute control freak about it. Maybe it was learning how to drive your first car, ride a motor scooter or train your dog. Maybe taking salsa dancing lessons.
Whatever your beliefs around control, let’s take some time to think about being in control from a different perspective. When people think about being in control, it usually has the context of getting their personal life under control. A call to action to get things in order.
I have spent the last two years in a monthly personal energy class looking at my own behavior patterns through the lens of Steven Kessler’s “The 5 Personality Patterns.” My learned, default patterns that I resort to when I feel out of control or backed into a corner. Best as I can figure out, my primary defense mechanism is usually responding rigidly, putting up walls and rules, trying to control things I can’t control. Which usually doesn’t work very well, hence my spending a lot of energy and time relearning better, healthier ways to be in control.
My new response to stress and unpredictability is now to just to take a deep breath and relax before I jump into response mode. During the breath, I assess what is actually going on. I look for the facts. I definitely do not let my monkey mind immediately start telling me some old, distorted story from my past. That’s like letting the horse grab the bit and take over control with it. When that happens, I am immediately out of control. The horse wins. Which usually means a wild race back to the barn instead of what I want to do. Not good if my plan was to trot down the road to visit my cousins and go out for a group ride.
The brutal reality is that we all have triggers, and the mind starts to pull us into familiar old response patterns. The same old dance that gets us into trouble every time. As good old Albert says, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Start here. Start Today. Use today as the first step to get things in order and under control. For business owners, it usually means looking at your to-do list and setting priorities and boundaries. What are your top goals for the next six months? At the beginning of January, I gave an informal talk at one of my business networking groups on the 6 basic principles of entrepreneur business building that I learned at Sandra Yancey’s RISE Conference to help you move your business forward.
Answering these six simple questions will help you identify where your business is stuck and show you the steps you can take to remove obstacles and roadblocks.
What are the three action steps you need to take for each goal in order to reach them? Narrow your focus down to these 9 action steps, and work on them every day, every week. Make them your top priority. You need to make space in your life to execute the urgent and important tasks that will deliver the results you want. Ask yourself, do you have the time and focus to be innovative and work on income-generating activities? If this area is a challenge for you, work with someone like Robynne Davis to help you develop a business strategy.
Ask yourself, do you have the right people in place to free yourself to do only the things that you can do, the stuff that makes a real difference? Look at your pit crew – who is missing, or no longer a good fit for you and your mission? It’s ok to let go of the people who are no longer a good fit for you and your mission. Bless them, say thank you, and give yourself permission to make changes in your lineup. It could be finding a new mentor, collaborator, new networking groups or communities. List three action steps you can take to help you build your dream team.
In the end, it’s all about delivering on what you promise. If you say that you want to be a successful business, and you now know what exactly you need to do to make it happen, how willing are you to commit to doing this in the next month, or the next year? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on how well you are executing each of these six principles. If you have areas that you rank 5 or lower, make it a priority to build these areas up through the action steps you wrote down. Put these action steps in your daily or weekly planner, so they get the love and attention from you that they deserve. In as little as a month, you will see momentum and break-through that will help speed you to the winner’s circle by the end of the year and set you up for a successful 2019.