How to stay motivated?
It is a brand new year; you finished writing down your year’s resolutions. You want to know how to stay motivated. Maybe you just watched a long motivational video on YouTube and this time –you tell yourself- I’m going to make it. So maybe you posted your very first video on YouTube, you created a new page on Facebook based on your project. But as soon as you finish that, nobody reacts. Can you relate to this situation? How many times have you experienced a moment when you feel so motivated but you started to doubt yourself the moment after, when no one gives you their validation? So how to stay motivated?
Remember why you started in the first place
It is frustrating when nobody reacts to our post or when we receive less than we expected. We’ve put so much time in scripting, recording, editing and publishing our content but in the end, nobody cares. Maybe it is a bad thing, but it can also be interpreted as a good thing. As we start in our journey, people pay less attention to our mistakes, which leaves us room for improvement. It is better this way. When we progress on the ladder of success, we will have more followers. Our followers are even prompt to give virulent criticisms as we become more successful.
To help you get motivated, I suggest remembering in the first place why you started. Why did you decide to do what you do? Why did you promise yourself to commit this time? The “why power” connects with more emotional drives that will push us accomplish what we intended to.
How to stay motivated: The effort is enough
When we receive fewer feedback than we expected, it is also okay. The effort is enough. We need to regularly produce content, which is the only thing that matters. If you base our productivity on people’s reactions, it’s a losing game because we try to control something we can’t. Maybe they didn’t have time to check our content; maybe they were busy doing something else. In the end, we need to select our own criteria –independently of others- and be proud when we accomplish them.
Ryan Holiday highlights in his book “Ego is the enemy: “In life, there will be times when we do everything right, perhaps even perfectly. Yet the results will somehow be negative: failure, disrespect, jealousy, or even a resounding yawn from the world. Depending on what motivates us, this response can be crushing. If ego holds sway, we’ll accept nothing less than full appreciation. A dangerous attitude because when someone works on a project—whether it’s a book or a business or otherwise—at a certain point, that thing leaves their hands and enters the realm of the world. It is judged, received, and acted on by other people. It stops being something he controls and it depends on them”
Our ego craves rewards, things that are outside of our control. The best option remains doing good work and sticking to the process, neither praise nor the reward.
How to stay motivated: have clarity
The best way to live our own lives is to overlook other people’s opinions and live our life with our own standards. It’s even more important to see the world through our own eyes. For this, we must dive deep into who we are: “Know yourself” first.
This is why we must be very clear about our goals, be crystal-clear about our values and generally about who we think we are (not what people think who we are). I still struggle with this. I said, maybe if I care more about what other people think of me, I will be more motivated. But once again, it is dangerous. This attitude will make us more neurotic as we worry all the time what everyone thinks about us.
For example, I once had lunch with a friend I hadn’t met for a long time. She now works in a big multinational and seemed to enjoy it there. As we shared each other’s vision and plans, she confided to me how her job consumes most of her time. I suggested that she consider becoming an entrepreneur but she categorically refused. “I value security and stability” she argued. She could see my face lit up because I would’ve reacted the same way. Just like her, I know my values. When someone tries to get you sidetracked and you started to doubt yourself, it’s because you weren’t clear enough about your goals, your values.
I also used to feel extremely motivated when people give positive feedback or when they encourage me. But as soon as they no longer care –withdrawing their attention- I felt bitter, resentful as I craved more attention. The worst part of this is when we start to doubt ourselves, really! Should I really stick to this project? What if I fail? Should I get back to my old job? Wouldn’t it be more secure for me to get a job?
And then I remember that making a decision is supposed to exclude any other options. It is cutting all other possibilities and just “burn the boats”.