How do you help your clients to motivate themselves? You ask questions, encourage them, call them out on avoidant or excuse-based behavior, praise them for steps forward. All of this you can apply to yourself – become your own client. That’s one useful tip… and here are twenty-one more ideas to regain your motivation and fall in love with your work all over again.
Recognize that Goals and Paths are Two Different Things
You’ve been focusing on your goal but not really getting closer. Your business is much too busy, and you feel like you’re expending all your energy on clients.
If this is happening to you, you’ve likely wandered off the path towards your goal. Re-evaluate your path: Is it moving you forward? Are you letting yourself get caught on tangents?
Lack of progress can diffuse motivation. Rethink your path and set it up to really move you forward.
Milestones or checkpoints – these are markers along the way that prove your progress. They can be tremendously heartening, so be sure to build them in. And be sure to reward yourself for arriving at each one in some small but significant way.
As you reach each milestone or checkpoint, be aware of your feelings. If you reach one and don’t feel satisfaction or positive emotions, stop and re-evaluate till you identify what is wrong. (A lack of reaction or negative feelings often means you are veering away from your goal.)
Don’t Let Other People Invade Your Head
Another reason you might find yourself feeling flat when you reach a checkpoint or milestone: The mini-goal you’ve achieved is not really yours. It’s something you’ve been told to do, or expected to do, by someone else.
Listen to your own voice. Learn to be aware when yours isn’t the one setting the pace.
What’s right for ninety percent of your peers might not be right for you.
Work in Your Area of Genius
If you really want to feel happy and fulfilled (and win back your motivation) work in your area of genius. This is an aspect of organizational physics long talked about and acknowledged as a universal truth.
Your area of genius can be found where what you love to do meets what you have mastered – the things you do without even counting them as “work” and the things people always ask you for help with. Look for what you’ve always ended up doing in every job you’ve ever had – the sort of thing you did back in elementary school. For example, have people always asked you to organize things? Or facilitate? Solve conflicts? Draw? (Something you were great at doing or being, but usually never charged for.)
That’s where you’ll find your area of genius, so make sure you are working within that zone for maximum life satisfaction.
Work on Your Goals with Others
If you really want to feel motivated, surround yourself with positive and focused people who share a similar mindset and drive. Join an accountability group. Find a mentor. Hire a coach.
Sometimes the whole problem is just that you’re going it alone and you’re too close to see the forest for those pesky trees. Others round out our square corners. They point out blind spots and hazards and encourage us when the going gets tough.
Align Your Work with Your Life Purpose
If you combine your area of genius with a deep, inner life purpose that drives you, regaining your motivation comes naturally.
Your life purpose is not external, like “teaching kids to play hockey”. That would just be a manifestation of what drives you. The sort of life purpose to identify and embrace is spiritual, even if you are not. It gives your life meaning. It’s something you want to live for every day, like “leading by example”.
Even if you don’t like journaling, this is a highly useful tool to embrace when you are on an inner journey. Articulating your thoughts on paper helps you quickly see through premises or statements that aren’t really true (just as it does if you talk about a topic in a group). It helps you get to the reasons behind the feelings, the feelings behind the excuses. Journaling enables you to map your progress and allows you to look back at how far you’ve actually come.
And sometimes, that is the most motivational strategy of all.
Try Something You Routinely Reject
If you feel your business is stuck in a stalemate, try changing things up. But don’t just try obvious solutions: Take a new look at options and solutions you have previously rejected without thinking.
For example, if you think you’re tired of coaching, consider that perhaps it is just one-on-one coaching that is wearing you out. Try group coaching instead. Or write a book.
Change up Your Space
Sometimes our workspaces can add to depression, frustration and weariness. Take a good look at yours. Is it too dark? Is your chair uncomfortable? Is the lighting too harsh from that particular lamp? Is there too much clutter?
Create a plan to make your workspace or home office an inspiring place that energizes and gets you excited again. Change the layout. Get rid of the clutter. Get in that shelving unit you so desperately need. Put up inspirational posters or artwork. Have your favorite mantra made into a graphic for your wall. Put in a sound system and play motivational tapes or exciting music while you work. Move your desk to a different location. Buy a new chair. Paint your room a color that either calms or energizes you, depending on what you feel you need most.
Once you’ve planned out what you need to do, act. Transform your home office into the workspace of your dreams – one that reflects your mission and your brand.
Realize it’s Not About the Money – even when it is
Don’t feel you have to hang on to any client who is sucking the joy out of going to work, no matter how much he or she is paying you.
If a client is making you doubt yourself, feel bullied, or is just plain unpleasant and draining, release that client and reclaim your time. Use that time slot to recharge or brainstorm, or put out new material.
When you act and release energy-sapping clients, you are actually making room for better clients to come along. Believe it: You’ll soon fill that gap!
Stop Taking Responsibility for Your Clients
You dream of doing everything possible to help your client achieve the transformation she wants and needs: That is just a given. So, why are you taking responsibility if she doesn’t do the work, or needs to process other stuff first?
You may think you’re not doing this, but in our zeal to help, sometimes it sneaks in. Make sure it’s not zapping your motivation, and remember, your ‘stuff’ is yours; your client’s ‘stuff’ is hers.
Freshen Your Sessions
Do you find yourself asking the same repetitive client questions, client after client? Take an afternoon, remove yourself to a fresh (and preferably inspiring) location – a fun and colorful café, a beautiful nature spot, or perhaps even a library – and write down all your questions. Cross out those that never get a useful result, and brainstorm new ones to ask. Change your technique. Find or create new client exercises.
Take a Workshop or Go to a Mastermind Class
Continuing education is essential for coaches to remain on the cutting edge of their fields. If your own sessions are boring you, find a quality retreat, mastermind or workshop for coaches – preferably in person at a physical location (seems to work better) or online, if there are none taking place at physical locations when need them: One with other attendees to inspire you.
Go there with a goal – to rejuvenate your practice. Open your mind to learning new things in new ways. Be ready to participate and help others, and you will get out of it far more than you put in – pass it on to your clients!
Listen to Your Gut
Logic and business sense tells us one thing. If we focus on only those business decisions and don’t listen to the way our bodies and minds are reacting to those decisions, we can quickly end up losing motivation – and losing confidence too.
Listen to your gut. If a potentially lucrative client twists your stomach into a tight pretzel – if you develop a dull headache during a discovery session if your mood feels heavy right after completing one – respect those insights from your inner self. Turn that particular client down.
Your body and mind deliver these clues for a good reason. Let that trump ‘logical’ or financial considerations.
Create a Workshop or Mastermind Class
If you want to be inspired, take the time to put together an in-depth workshop or mastermind class. Limit the number of participants, charge twice what you would typically charge and create the workshop experience you’d like to take.
Be prepared to go overboard with delivering on your promise. Prepare your best material. Choose an inspiring location. Hire an assistant to help you ensure it goes off without a hitch. Invite and seed it with guest participants or presenters that you know will enrich the experience, and give your attendees memorable surprise gifts as a memento of an extraordinary class.
When it’s done, they’ll be raving about what they learned. And you will be inspired and invigorated by what you learned, too.
Look Outside Your Work
Sometimes lack of motivation can come from an unmet need – such as when you’ve been working too much and missing out on quiet time, date nights, or family activities.
Look to see what you don’t get enough of; what’s missing.
And put it back in.
Banish Your Inner Parent and Free the Child
Do you procrastinate? If the answer is ‘yes, watch for the number of times you tell yourself you “should” be doing what you can’t get motivated to do. According to Transactional Analysis (a theory prevalent in psychology circles during the nineteen-seventies) your inner Parent is scolding you, which tends to cause either resistance or helplessness.
Focus instead on either promising yourself a reward or finding a way to make what you’re avoiding fun. That’s the way to free your inner Child… and reclaim your true Adult, the one who feels confident and in control.
Adopt a Positive Posture
Are you slumping as you contemplate your lack of motivation? Don’t. Sit up straight. Make sure you are comfortable. Smile, and imagine yourself giving an introduction to someone awesome, sharing with your audience what a treat is in store for them.
When you mentally ‘sit down’ again, you’ll be better prepared and in a better emotional place to start working.
Eat Chocolate Before You Start
Lots of people reward themselves with chocolate. Almost everyone loves it. Good chocolate is easy to procure, and it supposedly has been proven to increase endorphins and dopamine levels, which in turn improve your mood.
But take it one step further. Reward yourself every time you begin a work session or face a challenging client by eating one perfect truffle or one amazing square of premium dark chocolate. If this behavior is repeated, your subconscious will find itself thinking of the challenging experience as a positive one. (Try it! It really does work!)
Use a Vision Board
Make this a physical vision board that you hang or set where you can see it – behind clients; as your desktop wallpaper; in a digital frame that will rotate your images.
This vision board should remind you why you are doing what you do; what you love about it… and what’s at stake (your dream goal!)
If you can ‘see’ these sources of inspiration, you will feel far more motivated and connected with your goal.
Look to Yourself for Inspiration and Answers
Don’t be like those clients who perpetually want others to ‘fix’ them. The answers are all within you. Buck the trends. Dare to disagree. Decide for yourself. Put yourself out there. Get rid of negative self-talk (and other peoples’ troubles and nay-saying voices). Disengage from negative people.
Ensure you are doing what you want for yourself – not to fulfill anyone else’s agenda.
And remember to dump, outsource or automate anything that is draining your motivation and stopping you from claiming the awesomeness that is in you.
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