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B-School Archives - Haloway Consulting
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Celebrate National Go for Broke Day

How to go the distance when the going gets tough

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.

Here are some of my favorite tactics I learned from masters of motivation that really do work.
Tactic #1. 
Tackle the really big rocks first. And then reward yourself handsomely for taking care of them.

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.

Tactic #2.
Fear busting.

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:

  • meditation for energy clearing and grounding
  • reviewing my big hairy, audacious goals to get me pumped up again (creative idea time with my vision or dream board is especially happy)
  • taking a time-out break with a favorite friend or family loved one at my beloved Umbria Café in the Pearl District. Bella vita!
  • going for a walk in a favorite park or working in my garden. My reward this Sunday is to visit Portland’s Japanese gardens now that the cherry trees are in bloom.
  • when all else fails, I take a bubble bath with a favorite book. No interruptions until my batteries are fully recharged.

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.”

Tactic #3. 
Focus on what you really want.

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.

  1. I had to rate each and every item in my spreadsheet on a scale of 1 to 10 for how much joy it would generate in my life.
  2. I had to evaluate where each and every item fit in my long-term plan.

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: