What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? - Learning the Skills of Motivation
Years ago, I found a paperweight pictured that says “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I thought it was a great question, so I started asking my friends this same question. Answers I got:
“I always wanted to learn pottery, but I’m not artistic so I never bothered.”
“I always wanted to take ballroom dance lessons, but I have 2 left feet.”
“I always wanted to write a book, but no one wants to read what I have to say.”
Did you miss the “could not fail” part? Yikes. It pains my heart when I see people that will never enjoy life to the fullest because of pre-conceived notions about what their skill set is or isn’t.
When I started doing stand up comedy, I didn’t know the first thing about it. I read books on how to write jokes. I took a class and learned how to take the stage, talk into a microphone, and work the mic stand. I got on stage and practiced. It took patience, time, and perseverance, but I learned how to do stand up comedy. Was I ever worried about failing? Yep! Every time I got on stage. When I had a good show, I was thankful. When I had a bad show, I learned how to be better.
It is no secret that life can be tough. What I teach my clients with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is that you can learn ANYTHING provided you break it down into small enough steps. Sometimes the smallest (and often the hardest) skill that people need to learn is motivation, especially for anyone who desires to live a life of fulfillment and achievement. Motivation is the key factor responsible for rising above the rest of the population.
Motivation is the one variable that allows you to push yourself when those around you give up and seek out one challenge after another to conquer. Here are 5 helpful steps to help enhance your overall motivation and drive to achieve the goals you have set for yourself!
Know Your Why
While it may seem obvious, knowing your reasoning and passion behind anything you pursue is critical. When you first set out on a goal or achievement, your “why” for doing so typically starts out pretty clear. However, somewhere in the grind of working towards this goal, this foundation can quickly become obscured.
Make no mistake; any time you are tirelessly working towards something worthwhile, no matter how important, there WILL be days in which you feel less motivated than others. Remaining conscientious of why you started in this first place serves as your second (or third, or fourth) wind to get back up and keep pushing.
Know Your Direction
Extreme motivation has a tendency to cause one to put their head down and work like a maniac. While there are times that this mindset is beneficial, some sense of direction must be maintained. Big goals rarely consist of point A and point B.
Instead, it is important to have a general outline in mind of each specific step towards your destination. So yes, while keeping your nose to the grindstone is a must, looking up every now and then to adjust and begin the next phase of your blueprint is the only way to continue heading in the right direction!
Allow Small Victories
No matter how much (or little) motivation you have towards a goal, failing to enjoy small successes in pursuit of the finish line is a sure fire way to run out of gas before you get there.
While resting on your laurels and settling for less than what you want must be avoided, depriving yourself of fulfillment along the way is also detrimental. In pursuit of your goals, take some time to reward yourself when you accomplish one of the (often many) small steps to get there.
You Versus You, Not You Versus Them
Don’t enter yourself into a competition with others when there is no competition! Keep in mind that your goals are YOUR goals. Letting other people’s pursuits dictate what you strive for is a slippery slope. After all, you will never find the motivation required to achieve anything great without a personal conviction to do so. Whatever it is you want, the only comparison to be made is to the person you were the day before.
Controlled Tunnel Vision
Consider this fact: whatever big goal or achievement you are after most likely involves only one facet of your life. Whether this goal is career, athletic or personally oriented, the rest of your life is not going to stop while you go after it. It is inevitable that much of your motivation and energy is going to be focused on the biggest victory you are after.
Your sense of fulfillment will be diminished upon reaching the finish line and realizing you have neglected every other facet of who you are to get there. Balance is always key. Don’t let the rest of your life fall to the wayside while you chase one dream.
In the meantime - I hope my friends will take a moment to learn pottery, ballroom dance, or whatever moves them. As for me? I’m thinking about writing book #2…