Handling the Potholes in Life

One thing that has been on my mind a lot this past week is a question that one of the participants asked at my last workshop, “How do I stay motivated while I work towards my goal?”  It’s a very valid question – a great question in fact.  Everyone, no matter how committed they are to achieving a certain goal or dream, will go through “slump times” – times when they begin to have doubts about whether or not they will ever succeed.  No one is positive and upbeat all the time.  And, if someone gives the impression that they are – chances are they are faking it!

I’m normally a very optimistic and upbeat person but this past week was my “slump time”.  I found that for a few days I really found it difficult to motivate myself to do the things I needed to do to move my business forward.  All I really wanted to do was play games on my computer, check my email, and read!  Not my usual routine!  I used to call days like this my “envelope stuffing” days – when all I was really good for was stuffing envelopes – and they would last 1 day, 2 days, or stretch into a few.  But there are some things I do whenever I get into a slump that help me to refocus, recharge, and re-energize:

1.  Lean on my support team – One of the reasons having a support team is so important is that they can keep you motivated and focused on your goal.  This group of positive, supportive people have all probably been where you are and, therefore, can share tips and strategies they have found helpful.  Plus, their encouragement will help you to realize that you are still a great person under your blue mood and that better days are indeed ahead.

2.  Take a walk – Getting exercise is a great way to kick the blues.  While exercising your body releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormone.  I never fail to feel more upbeat and positive after a walk in my neighbourhood.  Plus, just having a change of scenery and getting out in the sun and fresh air will lighten your mood and help you to get “out of your head” and refocus.

3.  Rest – Often my lack of motivation and focus is my body’s way of telling me I need rest.  If I look back at the times I’ve suffered from the blues, I find that most of them have followed a long period where I’ve been working many days in a row without a break, or where I’ve been around people a lot.  Being an introvert, both of these situations are major energy drainers for me and my lethargy is usually due to my tank being empty.  I know that if I take some time to rest and recharge, I’ll be back to my usual motivated self in a couple of days.

4.  Give myself a break– I know that I can be hard on myself.  I’m a tough boss!  I have a tendency of beating myself up when I don’t meet the high standards I set for myself.  So if there is a day or two when I feel unfocused and unmotivated, I give myself a break and do tasks that are less challenging.  I know myself well enough to know that my mood will change in a couple of days so I accept it and work with it and wait for it to pass.  I know that I’ll be back to my old self- ready and raring to go – in a couple of days.

5.  Get help if you need it – This is a bit different than turning to your support team for support.  If a slump lasts for a week or more and overflows into the rest of your life, it is probably something more than just needing rest.  The lethary could be due to depression, anxiety or a medical condition.  In these cases you can’t go it alone.  This is the time to turn to a coach, counsellor or family doctor for help.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but is, instead, a sign of inner strength.  Sometimes we need help to get through the tough patches in our lives to make it to the other side.

Slumps and blue times happen – they are a part of living a normal life.  When you are working towards achieving an important goal or dream, the journey is almost as important, and exciting, as reaching your destination.  Pot holes and roadblocks are just part of the trip.  The trick is to learn how to make the best of these times and still stay on track.  When we can do this, your journey becomes much easier and more memorable, and your ultimate success much more meaningful!

If pot holes and roadblocks have thrown you off the road towards your goals and dreams and you would like to get back on track, than the “It’s Not About Willpower:  Move Your Goals and Dreams from Mess to Success”  workshop is for you!  During this day of information, fellowship and personal discovery, you will learn how to identify what exactly your pot holes and roadblocks are and how to handle them.  And, as a result, you will resume your journey to success with renewed confidence, excitement and vigor!  So mark off Saturday, May 5th on your calendar and visit www.brightenyourfuture.ca/events to get your pot hole repair kit!  I look forward to seeing you there!