Mindset: How to hack your motivation levels

by | Oct 15, 2019 | Leadership, Mindset

As you know, September for me was holiday month but you may only just be returning from holidays if you have been off with the kids. So, I thought this might be helpful to share…
As I came back from my trip to Broome I felt I had only just returned to a sense of myself and, if I’m honest, I still felt tired, flat and demotivated. One week’s break didn’t feel like enough. My expectation was that I would come back refreshed and ready to go…when actually I felt like taking a couple more days off. I felt confused and a little guilty that I had taken this time off that some don’t get to. So, instead of taking a few more days, I fired up some will power and pushed through.
What is the cost of ‘pushing’ through?
Have you ever noticed that the expectations we place on ourselves like ‘I have to get back into the breach’ ‘I should be busy again’ can often mean we ignore some of the signs our body is trying to tell us? How many of us stop and ask ourselves ‘what is the cost of doing this to our creativity, happiness and our ability to be our best selves?’
I certainly felt that in taking the ‘push through’ approach, I was not firing on all cylinders and as present and engaged as I could be. I also felt my monkey mind fire up and start to question things… “was I on the right path, why was I not happy and motivated given the role I have, maybe I need to make some drastic changes!” And on and on into this negative ‘self-talk’ spiral that really wasn’t helping those motivation and energy levels…I’m sure you might have experienced this too but why does this happen?
The difference between our mind in ‘being’ vs ‘doing’ mode
So, the inner geek in me did a little research around why I might have been feeling this way. It seems the answer lies in switching between modes in our minds. On holiday I had been in ‘being’ mode and as I came back to the reality of my life and business, I tried to flip back into ‘doing’ mode. This caused a kind of ‘miss-match’ in my mind. Thank you to Zindel Segal one of the writers for Mindful.org that had provided some more insight into what is going on, he writes;
“The driven-doing mode is goal-oriented, motivated to reduce the gap between how things are and how we think we need them to be; our attention is narrowly focused on these discrepancies between actual and desired states”, in my case, that was to jump back into work mode, deliver excellently to my clients, drive new business and so on, even when I wasn’t ‘feeling’ it.
By contrast, he writes “the being mode is not devoted to achieving particular goals. In this mode, there is no need to emphasize discrepancy-based processing or constantly to monitor and evaluate “How am I doing in meeting my goals?. Instead, the focus of the being mode is “accepting” and “allowing” what is.” He went onto say;
“In being mode, there is a sense of freedom and freshness as the experience unfolds in new ways”

Sounds more appealing doesn’t it?!
So last week, I actually resisted the urge to fill up my schedule and even canceled a few things, so I could actually think and feel in the way I wanted to.
But do you know what? In accepting this and allowing things to ‘be’ I found myself more energised again. I breezed through my usually hardcore Pilates class, I ran for an extra track on the soft sand, my brain is back and firing with a couple of cool ideas for my up and coming leaders retreat (more on that coming), and a way to reshape my coaching packages so they are more accessible to solopreneurs and small business owners.
So, what’s the lesson here?
Sometimes you just have to go against the grain of your expectations and give yourself permission to follow the wisdom that your body and mind are trying to share.
So, if you are just coming back from a trip (or it’s been a long few months), then be honest with yourself about how you are feeling and allow this to be the guide for your schedule next week. If you feel like I did, try cutting yourself a break. Reschedule a few things, resist filling up your diary for the next week or two and allow your break to fully integrate and become fuel for what’s next… This quote is a great reminder.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward”
Erika Taylor

Disclaimer: if you are ‘eye-rolling’ at me right now going “it’s easy for you to make these changes you are in your own business; my diary has been filled up whilst I’ve been away – no chance!”  Then I hear you. I certainly have felt this. Perhaps what is most helpful for you right now is to acknowledge that this week is going to be bonkers. Then perhaps you take a look at your schedule next week and just see, with a bit of notice, what you can shuffle out or reschedule.

So that’s it for today, wherever you are at, I’m wishing you an awesome week!

To your health and happiness,

Clare Robinson, Founder & Head Coach, CLARETY

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