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Ever lose your inspiration and motivation? This seems common for most of us. Read on to learn more about how your mind’s innate design can help.
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Inspiration and Motivation
I mentioned to my colleague Robin Charbit that I was feeling uninspired about this month’s newsletter. This is unusual. I usually have many newsletter topics floating around in my mind. My problem is picking one to put to paper. Not this month.
Interestingly, I had a coaching call later that day with a client who was also experiencing an inspiration and motivation drought. After commiserating for a while, we got curious.
I asked her when she last felt inspired and she explained that she “was on fire” two weeks ago while working long hours on a project with her team. There were snafus, but there were also lots of ideas for workarounds and lots of fun. At the end of the week she was tired but exhilarated. Since then – nothing.
We talked about potential reasons for the dip. I asked, “What if there is a natural ebb and flow to inspiration and motivation?” After all, nothing in nature stays the same. There are seasons – a time to plant, grow, and harvest. The tides come in and go back out. Weather changes.
We finished the call feeling settled and satisfied that there was nothing to do about our respective inspiration slumps. We could simply wait for the next wave.
Afterward, I continued reflecting. It seems true that inspiration and motivation are not constant for most of us, but are there also ways to innocently interfere or even prevent inspiration and motivation from showing up naturally?
Disappointment and Discouragement
I remember hanging out with a friend and her 4-year-old at one of those restaurant/amusement parks. My friend’s little boy was playing in this big cage filled with balls. We watched him as he picked up a ball and tried tossing it into the basketball hoop attached to the cage. He kept tossing and missing, tossing and missing. “Almost,” he’d say after each miss, laughing.
Missing the basket did not phase the 4-year-old, but how about the 40-year-old? Do you react to mistakes or misses with disappointment? Can you become discouraged? It is easy to see how disappointment and discouragement can interfere with motivation. But it doesn’t have to. These feelings are not coming from the so-called failure. They are coming from your thinking about that failure. A failure may not be something you can change but thinking can always change.
A Busy Mind
When you are inspired and motivated, I’d venture to guess that your mind is also present and focused. Contrast this with your unmotivated mind. Quite a difference, right? While you might not be able to discern the specific thinking on your mind, one thing is certain: there’s a lot of it. And it can promote the false idea that something external has to change in order for your motivation to return.
I walk my dog on a trail through my neighbor’s woods. Parts of the trail are bordered by non-native Himalayan blackberry bushes. Unless you are vigilant, these prolific bushes will take over, burying the trail.
Depending on your particular habit, your mind may be filled with thoughts of analysis, worry, bother, resentment, pessimism, the past, or even hopelessness. All of this thinking can be like the blackberry bushes, burying the trail of inspiration and motivation.
There is good news. A new thought – which is all inspiration actually is – can get through at any time, no matter what. That’s the beauty of the mind’s design. During times of low motivation it helps to remember that the feeling you are looking for is only one thought away. In other words, inspiration and motivation are bound to return. You can relax and let whatever the thinking plugging up the system simply pass by. Unlike the blackberry bushes, there is no need to hack them back!
Just another reminder of your built-in design for success. Keep going. Motivation and inspiration always comes back.