What Motivates You? Let’s Get Real About Motivation

What motivates you? Motivation: the big woo-hoo and to-do of the new year. Yeah, I know…we are all super fucking excited that 2020 is over. I am no exception. The year was brutal. My best friend of 20 years unexpectedly died at the beginning of the year. In February, both Uriel and I had the flu and strep at the same time. Of course, we all know about COVID. While I am so glad it did not directly touch my family, I know it could have. It also did not directly impact my business in a negative fashion. However, we dealt with a lot of personal bullshit that I won’t go into. I struggled. I struggled hard. I did not want to work…but I did. I laughed (hard) when so many people faced the work from home reality that it isn’t sunshine and roses.

The fact of the matter, though, motivation isn’t what people think.

I’ve worked from home for what often feels like forever. I wear that like a badge of honor. Of course, after 2020, it feels more like a giant scar. We are all being truthful: 2020 wasn’t easy for anyone.

It wasn’t easy to get or stay motivated most of the time. I was certainly no exception…and I am, in general, a very motivated person. But…that’s kinda the point of this post: what motivates you and the truth about motivation.

Let’s start with the first one…

What Motivates You?

Let’s look at this in a couple of ways:

  • What motivates you to get started? Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to start your business or start your day? To start, keep the fear out of your answer. “I want to start my business or side-hustle, but…” No, just answer the question. What motivates you to start your business? Or what motivates you to start your day? To learn what motivated me to start my business, read this post. I am a very practical person. I always have been (sorry to disappoint you, lol). What motivates me to start my day depends on a few factors. While I do have a few things to look forward to in general, again, I am very practical…making sure I can pay my bills motivates me (ha!). I also enjoy what I do. Before Christmas, I knew I wanted to buy myself a gift (I don’t like receiving gifts…at all. It’s a C-PTSD thing.). I wanted to pay for the 200 hours of yoga training. So, that motivated me to do additional work. As a lifestyle freelancer, I’m not always thinking about making six-figures. I don’t necessarily think I have to make six-figures to be successful. My husband and I have a special needs son to raise. I enjoy some down time although I also love to work. I love to help my friends who own small businesses by answering their questions. I love to bake. I love to do crafts. (I love six-figures, too…I do have goals!) Take the time to think about and clarify what motivates you both in your daily life and in your goals. It is imperative for your success.
  • What motivates you to keep going? You must have a plan to keep going. Fires don’t continue to burn on their own. Think about something you finished: why did you finish it? Did you finish high school? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t…hell, I didn’t. I dropped out my senior year (with fucking scholarships on the table) and got my GED. I could no longer handle the stress because of bullshit going on at home. Eventually, I went to college and still (clearly) turned out just fucking fine! (College isn’t a necessity, by the way, I wanted to go for personal reasons.) Did you lose weight? Did you gain weight that you needed to gain? Did you get a special certification? Did you get a black belt? Did you build an awesome website? Did you teach yourself to code? What motivated you to keep going? I am a spite fighter. What is a spite fighter? I tend to do (positive) things when people tell me I can’t do it. I went to college because my parents told me I was stupid. I started my business because I needed job security and I wanted to succeed out of spite instead of just, you know, curling up and emotionally dying. Success is the best revenge in my book. It is so very important to understand the thing or things that motivate you to keep going. Oh, and it is perfectly fine if, you know, your first motivating factor is getting away from the job you hate and the second motivating factor is paying your rent or your water bill. You know? You don’t need these giant, grand motivators (although those are just fine, too).

The Truth About Motivation

So, let’s get real about motivation.

Motivation is a fickle bitch.

There are two types of motivation:

There’s external motivation and intrinsic motivation. Unfortunately, most people strive for external motivation. External motivation is fun, but it is fleeting. External motivation include things like motivational quotes, podcasts, YouTube videos, that chocolate cupcake you promised yourself, and that cute outfit you’ll be able to wear if you lose that last X pounds.

Related: Unfuck Yourself: Motivational Speech of the Day

I fully believe in external motivation. I enjoy external motivation. To some degree, it works. The problem is that you cannot rely on other people to always motivate you anymore than you can rely on others to make you happy. It isn’t their job. Your life is your responsibility. I say this as someone who listens to podcasts and watches (listens to, I should say since I have YouTube premium and turn my screen off on my phone) motivational YouTube videos. They really do help keep me in a better frame of mind as someone with C-PTSD.

Intrinsic motivation is internal motivation. It is what you are convinced you want to do on the inside. So, if you really want to do something, you are motivated to do it…even when it sucks. Even when it is hard. Even when clients suck (because not all projects are awesome). Even when business gets hard. Even when the kids are sick. Even when.

Related: Dealing with Difficulties When You Work from Home

In short, how bad do you want it? And some days, you won’t want to do shit. And you do it anyway. So, how do you increase in your intrinsic motivation? Well, the good news is…there are ways. Some sound like some hippy woo-woo bullshit things. They do work, though. You can practice a concept known as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I’ve used NLP for quite a while for CPTSD and it’s been very helpful. It is, however, a daily process. (With CPTSD, some days are better than others, just for the record…but with life, I’m sure…that’s just life hashtag amirite…)

Meditation can also be very helpful. Meditation has been shown to increase focus and relieve anxiety. Don’t be alarmed if your thoughts go all over the place when you first start. It’s normal. There are guided meditations all over YouTube. The Meditation Minis podcast is excellent. Daily Shine is also excellent and can be found on Spotify. I have the paid version of the Shine App and the lifetime version of StopBreatheThink. I started with guided meditation when I was 14 by my first counselor when I was 14. I’m 42 now. My parents promptly ripped me out of therapy when Holly, the therapist, told my parents she believed they were the issue.

Learning to calm your mind to focus it on your goals can greatly help with your intrinsic motivation.

The not so fun version of intrinsic motivation is to just stick with it. That’s right: self-discipline. You do it anyway. Think daily on what you want to ultimately accomplish. If you aren’t working toward your goals each day, that’s an issue.

Do the work.

What’s your best motivation tip?

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What motivates you? Are you ready to get real about motivation? Here's what you need to know

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