Aren’t sure how to stay motivated when things aren’t going your way? I’ve been there!
It’s easy to jump behind the computer when you’re on deadline and there’s a demand for your talent. It’s easy to jump into your work when you know you’re #1 and you want to keep the title. It’s not, however, easy to keep jumping in when you’re working in obscurity, day after grueling day with little to no reward.
Ask me how I know.
So what’s the trick to staying motivated when things are not just NOT going your way, but they actually stink?
I wish there was a shortcut I could share or a magic formula that could fuel your motivation—I’d make millions! Instead, there are but a few simple steps that will help you stay the course until you catch a break.
How to Stay Motivated
Step back: This might seem counter-intuitive at first. After all, don’t we want to press in, dig deeper and just make something happen? Yes, but consider the fact that what you’ve been doing so far isn’t working. Now is a good time to determine if there are obvious reasons you aren’t succeeding. Talk to a trusted friend or colleague who can be gentle but truthful, because they may have insight that you can’t see. (We all have personal blind spots!)
It’s also a good time to re-evaluate your goals and see if you’re heading in the right direction, or if you’re pressing for a goal that’s slightly off-target.
Remember: Once you know you’re on-target, even if it’s not on your desired time table, think back to why you started the journey in the first place. Dig down to your core desire and steep in it for a while. Give yourself a chance to reconnect with your vision.
Surround: Surround yourself with a posse who motivates you. They might motivate you overtly by checking in, offering encouragement or even kicking you in the hiney when you need it. Or, your motivational posse might light you on fire just by who they are. Enthusiasm is contagious, but so is negativity. Who you surround yourself with matters!
Learn: Take a class or go to a conference, listen to a podcast or watch a video. Somehow, start shoring up the areas where you’re having issues. Even if you haven’t pinpointed the issues that are holding you back, you can still benefit from a learning environment that helps you to reengage with your goals.
Love: Do it for love, not for the goal. If you’re a writer, write because you love writing, not because you want publication. At some point you can use your goal to motivate you, but if you’re already struggling to stay motivated, continue on because you love what you’re doing. There’s a reason you picked this dream/vision in the first place—connect with that again to help you power through the hard times.
Reasons to Stay Motivated
I know how hard it is to stay motivated when you’ve been working for years and are stuck in the mud. Worse, you can’t even find the path. But life will seem just a little darker if you walk away too soon. So if you’re having trouble figuring out why you should continue, consider this:
- Your breakthrough could be sooner than you think
- Dreams unfulfilled due to lack of opportunity sting less than ones unfulfilled due to quitting
- Living with regret sucks
- You might just achieve what you set out to do, even if it takes longer than you thought
- Think how great you’ll feel if you succeed
To those of you struggling—I get it. But the cool thing is, you haven’t failed. You only fail when you stop trying, so that’s really up to you. Yes, it sounds like a bumper sticker and you’ve probably heard it a gazillion times, but it’s truth.
If you’re a writer who has been waiting for publication, you might want a bit more advice than just “how to stay motivated”—and I’ve got that too! If you become a subscriber, you will receive a PDF copy of 7 MISTAKES GUARANTEED TO DELAY PUBLICATION.
Now, let’s put our big kid pants on and get back to work.
How do you stay motivated when things aren’t going your way?