Every great leader who has accomplished greatness has endured a motivational block. Whether it’s procrastination, or just plain fear of failure, it’s common to feel unmotivated. Factor in today’s digital age with so many distractions that shorten your attention span, and it’s a wonder a person gets anything accomplished at all.
However, there are actions you can take to change your mindset and get the engine revving again. When you are able to look at things just a little bit differently, it can mean the difference between decisive action and lazy inaction. Even when you feel like nothing could help you at all, there is always a way to start feeling motivated again.
I’ve encountered motivational blocks quite a few times in my journey as an entrepreneur and author, and these six strategies have helped me many times:
1. Know what you want.
Making great strides without a well-defined purpose will not bring positive results. It is essential that you are clear about what you want: what is your big Why? What are you living to achieve that will motivate you when you wake up in the morning, that ignites your heart and makes you feel alive? Find that desire, first and foremost.
2. Be awake to the cost of change.
Many times an inability to move forward is due to a deep fear of change. Change exacts a cost, and it can be difficult to face what could be loss, chaos, or failure. But change also brings wonderful things: success, happiness, and new adventures. Instead of running from your fear of change, lean into it. Look at your fear objectively, and see what lessons are there for you. Change is inevitable — but you can always manage how you react to it.
3. One task at a time.
If you’re really feeling stuck, narrow your focus. Focusing on the big picture can feel overwhelming, and that overwhelm can stop all progress in favor of doing something that feels achievable or easy. If you’re feeling blocked, make a list of tasks you need to do then break them down into smaller tasks, then smaller. Assign yourself a few tasks a day, then focus completely and do them. Once you start reaping the reward of a job well done, your motivation will snowball, and your desire to accomplish bigger things will return.
4. Make a great team.
I’ve seen over and over again that the people around you are who you become. The habits and attitudes of your friends, family, and staff infuse your daily thoughts, unconsciously. So why would you choose to surround yourself with unmotivated people? Hire people who are as motivated in their “why” as you are, or more. Hang out with friends who are positive and motivated to achieve great things. When you build a community that is moving forward, their momentum will carry you forward, too.
5. Prepare for failure.
The path to greatness is not just riddled with failures: it is created out of failures. There is no leader on this planet that has not failed, and you will not be the first to escape failure. Instead of cowering in fear of failure, prepare yourself for it. Know that you will encounter obstructions, and let them make you better than you were before. Have emergency plans in place, and go forth boldly to learn your lessons. When you’re prepared for a less-than-perfect outcome, it’s much easier to take the next necessary steps.
6. Make time for you.
Ask any great leader about their secret to success, and most will answer that they make time to be with themselves. Be it journaling, meditation, exercise, or prayer, you can’t do your best if you aren’t taking time to find your own inner peace. The chaos of being a human, added to the stressors of entrepreneurship, parenthood, family, taxes, and a mortgage can be too much for any person. Communing with yourself will make you feel more centered and assured, which will help you move forward without overwhelm.
7. Redefine success.
Take the time to really check in with yourself about what success means to you. Are you defining your success by someone else’s definition? Are you beholden to your family’s expectations, or contouring your own success by what your friends have accomplished? Success is many things to many people, but I’ve found that success does not equal personal happiness. When you strive for a success of someone else’s making, of course you’ll get off track; someone else’s success won’t make you happy or motivated. Focus on what will make you happy, and that will make you more successful than you’ve ever dreamed.
Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and business advisor, and he would be thrilled if you’d share this story with your networks. You can find him on Twitter (@murraynewlands), Instagram (murraynewlands) and Vine (murraynewlands) and learn more about his work at www.murraynewlands.com.