Friday, March 18, 2011

Stay Positive. Stay Up. Stay Motivated… Give Me A Break!

You’ve heard it all before, you have to feel motivated; you have to be determined to achieve what you want. I don’t know about you, but those words are feeling pretty empty and shallow to me these days. That’s because when you go beyond your reliance on those meaningless words, you uncover a power to concentrate that is so significant you know deep down that you will succeed and others feel it too.

There is no B.S., no trying to manipulate yourself into feeling positive instead your attitude and actions are quiet, humble and focused.

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend about why some people achieve their goals and others don’t. He used his own experience of feeling excited about “working out” and losing weight. His excitement and determination was high for about a month, and then waned significantly when he injured himself. After that, his interest in his goal fizzled out. He shared that he felt frustrated with himself that he couldn’t get back to his regime.

We have all been there, we start something with vigour and passion only to find our excitement and energy naturally dissipates.  The problem is we interpret this waning as a loss of interest which makes it difficult to overcome the natural ups and downs we are inevitably going to face. I can feel your head nodding as I write this.

The issue is not the loss of enthusiasm; the issue is where you have placed your attention and energy.

Typically, we place a great deal of emphasis on the initial excitement and passion we feel for our cause and this focus on that unbridled energy is what we rely on to move us forward. This energy is difficult to sustain because of its naive nature can disappear very quickly at the first set back. It can be seen in people and in companies wanting to improve; great beginning short lived follow through.

If we feel passionate and enthusiastic we move forward. If we feel it’s lost we unfortunately:
  • panic,
  • question our decision,
  • beat our self up.

An enormous amount of energy is spent on wondering why we are not excited any more. Our mistake is relying on a passion or excitement that isn’t deep enough to handle varying external conditions or fragile internal emotions.

Shift your focus away from whether you are excited and you will see that this lost energy can be directed to a re-commitment to the original purpose.

Contrary to what is said in motivational talks, you don’t need to get up every morning feeling passionate about your life. Nor is it necessary to be excited about your goal every moment.

You don’t need to artificially build yourself up. The energy it takes to do so is energy better spent on just achieving what you want.

The goal is to use your energy efficiently and economically right now.  When you do this you sustain higher levels of energy and focus over a longer period of time and ultimately achieve your goal faster.

The same occurs across companies when new initiatives are implemented. The classic assumption is to “bring out the band” build energy and enthusiasm for the initiative. This of course is unsustainable for when it is needed most. Many of you have experienced change initiatives which were perceived to be a failure and so die prematurely.

 It is never about the level of sustained enthusiasm, it’s about the efficient use of energy and focus over time at a high level that creates quality outcomes. And believe it or not this is easily attainable.

Whether in companies or with in yourself, your decision and commitment to who you are IS the driver, not the level of enthusiasm that you have.

When you place your attention on who you are and your abilities, you actually move beyond reliance on enthusiasm to experience, true passion and inspiration.

You will find something more profound:
  • a simple knowing that moves you forward regardless of external conditions and emotions
  • an unquestioning acceptance of what you do and why you do it - the true mechanism of achievement.
There is no struggle, there is no doubt. 

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