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Persevering When Motivation is Missing

Persevering When Motivation is Missing

As a young entrepreneur, running Little Perfections single-handedly without any prior experience in operating or growing a business, I often get struck with a looming case of imposter syndrome. A small voice in my mind creeps in with heavy doubts and negativity; "What do you even know about running a business? You're making all the wrong decisions. You were doomed before you even began. You've got no hope of making this a success. You'll fail eventually, might as well just give up now."

When this voice gets louder and the doubts start to feel like facts rather than fleeting perceptions, I feel helpless and insecure. It feels as though, no matter how much time and effort I sieve into making this work, I'm fighting a losing battle. In these periods, the passing moments of motivation aren't sufficient to break through and shake off the pessimism. Instead, I look to commitment and dedication.

This is because, motivation is a temporary feeling/experience that we might encounter after watching a super cool Instagram or TikTok video, where you see someone make a huge life transformation, be it their home, body or lifestyle and it inspires you in the moment to grab the bull by its horns and momentarily motivates you to make a change. The brevity of this feeling is why we can't rely on motivation as a driver to push us through the tough times. Instead, we must remember the hidden driver that made us pursue a certain goal in the first place, be it escaping fear/discomfort or, heading towards pleasure. 

In my case, honestly, it's a bit of both. I've always been ambitious and dreamed of providing myself financial freedom and being able to do the same, in time, for my family. I enjoy challenging myself and taking risks that I truly believe will be of benefit in the future. However, the stronger driving force is that from what I'm fleeing: A life of instability, uncertainty and anxiety, proving to the people who have mistreated and doubted me that they were right all along. Having an eternal feeling of disappointment in myself for not achieving what I expected of myself. Having to rely on somebody else to keep me financially afloat. Also, I'm an inherent people-pleaser, so the thought of letting anybody down is crushing for me. These are the drivers that encourage me to keep going and push through the difficult times - as Dory famously said, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." - Finding Nemo.

It's useful to identify your drivers so that, when times get tough, you can revert back to them to help you stay committed.

Here are some tips that have helped me to persevere when all motivation seems lost:

  • Take a step back from your thoughts and question them; are the statements true? Is there any evidence to support them? How could you argue against them? 
  • Remember that we all have these days, even if it's not visible to everyone else. You're not alone. Even the greatest, most successful people of our time have felt this same way and often still do, even after they've achieved the unthinkable and smashed their goals. 
  • Think back to a time where you achieved something that was extremely difficult and you questioned if you ever would manage it. You've overcome these hurdles before, you can do it again.
  • Try to focus in on what first excited you about the task/goal at hand. Feel that excitement again and hold onto it for as long you can; reinforce that initial belief you had in yourself to take the first step. 
  • I cannot stress this enough, don't put a timeline on it! Our lives are just a compiled series of present moments. The future that we envisage and allow to taunt us so deeply doesn't yet exist, so don't waste your energy on it. Accept that the goal you're trying to achieve will take a long time, so that you can release the pressure you put on yourself to achieve it within an unrealistic timeframe. As long as you take frequent, actionable steps in the right direction, you will reach you goal.
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