I was coaching someone the other day who is generally a highly committed and passionate person. He is also someone who has historically dedicated himself to big commitments and self-improvement. I was coaching him because somewhere along the way he got stuck and deteriorated into a state of resignation and suffering.
When I asked him to share what had happened he said, “I have lost my motivation.”
Over the years, I have supported so many committed people who have experienced this same sensation of feeling stuck. I have also struggled through it myself. So, I want to dedicate this blog to the question: “how do you find your motivation when you have lost it?”
Part of the problem is that most people don’t understand where motivation comes from so when they “lose it,” they look in the wrong place to find it. As a result, it takes a long time for them to get back on the horse.
Most people wait, expect and hope for external things to motivate them – more money, a promotion, good news, success at work and/or someone “inspirational” who will compel them and put them back in touch with who they really are and their passion and self-expression.
Others refer to themselves as “self-motivated.” They try to always bring a positive, optimistic outlook and spirit to everything. This is very powerful. But, even the self-motivated sometimes slump. In fact, I have found that those who are most passionate and committed when they are in their high points tend to be the ones who crash and burn the hardest when they fall or get stuck. I know this because I have been there a few times in my own journey.
When you are stuck, you can’t rely on your motivation. As my client said, “I have lost my motivation.” You have to rely on your word.
What does that mean? You have to say what you’ll do and do what you say.
The two sides of my instructions are key. First part: you have to say what you will do, explicitly. If you don’t say what you will do, you will not do anything. If you say vague and wishy-washy things, you will take vague and wishy-washy actions. In reality this means no action.
When you are stuck, don’t declare or set your objectives and outcomes. Only promise specific short-term actions you will take with specific deadlines. Box yourself in day by day, say what you will do and do what you say. Follow this routine until you start generating a momentum of success in that motion.
The second part I already mentioned above: do what you say, no matter how you feel about it. This means: go through the motions if needed, fake it till you make it and/or do what you say even if it feels mechanical and inauthentic.
The more you do that, the more you will recover your word and your ability to determine your destiny and future. Even if your promises only on a short-term basis at first, you will ultimately begin to regain your power and self-confidence. This will quickly lead to higher energy and motivation, and enable you to promise bigger things and deliver them.
Motivation and action are like the chicken and the egg. They feed, fuel and inspire each other. When you are at the top of your game, your motivation inspires your action. That is the time to declare your vision, commitments and what you stand for, set goals and act spontaneously.
But, when you are stuck, promising what you will do and doing it will get you unstuck and back on track for your motivation and commitment. You will regain your integrity and recover your motivation and power. That is how you “find your motivation.”
It may sound too simple, but it really works.