How to Motivate Yourself When You are Completely Up Against It!

I have read many books on motivation. Been to a lot of presentations, speeches and lectures. They help. They really do. I encourage everyone to do the same because it helps you when you need it and when you don’t. You’ll find things that work for you to help you get the most out of yourself. In addition, you will also need to find what really, really, really works for you when you really, really, really need it. And not when it’s too late. Let me explain…

Consume as much motivation stuff as you can; techniques, ideas, books, and hints. Know that when you are up against it, in the trenches, bullets flying overhead, worried about cash flow, no sales, being sued… you’ll need to know what really works for you. Not anyone else, you. Prepare for this now, not when you are completely up against it, trying to get yourself out of it, business-wise, and staying motivated enough to do so. As the saying goes, ‘Make hay whilst the sunshine’s’. Or my alternative is, ‘Build your motivational mirror because you’ll need one’. As Gary Vaynerchuck says, ‘Being an entrepreneur is like being punched in the face 24 hours a day’. I just want to help you cope with the swelling.

Looking back at my corporate career of 13 years, and 15 years as an entrepreneur, I can identify at least 7 times that I have been in the deep stuff and struggled to get myself out. I’ve been sued, near bankrupt several times, had Trading Standards (UK government legal team) on my back, and borrowed money from the bank for ‘home improvements’ to pay the bank their mortgage. Each time I vowed that when I did I’d put in place another piece that would help me deal with it a little better next time I was in it.

My ‘Motivational Mirror’ won’t necessarily work for you because you need to know what works for you. That said, it may just bring to life what a motivational mirror could look like for you, to then motivate you to go build your own. The following 3 elements make up some of my motivational mirror and have been designed, redesigned, rebuilt, and smashed on many occasions. It’s still not right, but it’s a million times better than it was and it’s still being polished. As Thomas Edison said, ‘I now know 1,000 ways of how not to light a lightbulb’. I know what does and does not motivate me when I am completely up against it and what I need to help me think positively to win every time.

1. The Power of the Subconscious Mind

This book is very powerful. It does mean that you need to be open to all possibilities. If you are a heavy logical thinker this might not work for you, but then little will really work for you because I believe that real motivation comes from the heart, not from the logical mind. I have the ‘The Power of the Subconscious Mind’ book in a drawer of a table next to my armchair. I’ll be sitting watching tv with my family, and if it has been a particularly tough day, I’ll reach into the drawer and pull out this book, flick randomly to a page and read a few pages. The book will remind me that the possibilities are endless and that if I think just logically about the possibilities I’ll reach the same conclusion as the bank manager, accountant, and employees, ‘We’re screwed!’.

2. ‘I am the Greatest’

The legendary boxer Mohammed Ali said this. I think it’s even more important what he didn’t say. And that was, ‘One day I’ll be pretty good’. He was confident, he was assured and he meant it. The research on writing goals is endless. In essence, the research says write it down and date it, otherwise it’s a dream. I’ll take the research one stage further and say that you need to write it down with 3 P’s; Present, Personal and Powerful.

I am an avid fan of Mindstore – The mental fitness program. I have been following its founder, Jack Black, not the actor, ever since he gave a motivational speech in 1999 at the corporate company I worked at. I left 3 years later to ‘go it alone’. At my annual ‘pilgrimage’ to see Jack he asked his 10,000-strong audience to write down 30 goals that they wanted. Not 29, but 30. People ‘complained’ that they did not what to write and he replied with, ‘This is a checkbook for all your wishes and you don’t know?!’. Once each delegate had written their 30 goals, he then asked us to reduce it to 7. After some head scratching, we did. He then asked us to choose 1 from the 7. After individually turning ourselves inside and out we chose the one. This was our goal. In 20-minutes he had got us to figure what we truly wanted in life. What would motivate us at 2am in the morning, at the end of a 16-hour day. And for most it wasn’t a Ferrari, a big house, or a material item, it was something that represented we’d made it. It absolutely could be money, the house, or the car. It just not always that.

In whatever way you can, turn this goal into a piece of paper with an image, a symbol, a picture – Anything that powerfully represents your goal and have a few words on it and that you say to yourself that are present, personal and powerful. For example, ‘By 12th December 2020 I am the CEO of XYZ’, or ‘In 2025 I own…’. The only criterion is that it is present, ‘have/am, it is personal, ‘I’, and powerful, that when you see it and read it aloud to yourself, your heart skips a beat.

Look at your image before you start work and as you finish work.

3. The Most Important Talk is Self-Talk

You may have heard this. I believe it. There are 3 types of ‘talk’; You to others, others to you, and you to yourself. The one that matters most is ‘you to yourself’. This is the one you hear most, listen to most and believe most.

Start by being aware of what happens to your-self talk when things get tricky. How do you talk to yourself? Is it positive? Is it negative? Could it be better? Of course, it could. When this happens, we need to improve our self talk because this is when we need to believe in ourselves the most.

I use two things to help me…

The first is, as I come across sayings on the web, images on Facebook, and other things that motivate me, I print them off and have them in my motivational file. A simple file of prints that are my go to place when I most need them.

The second thing that helps me is ‘me’. When I had just won a large piece of business I video’d myself talking to my mac for about 2 minutes. I said to myself that when I was up against it I’d play this to myself to remind myself of what I can achieve, have achieved, and what I’d overcome. I’d recorded myself talk being uber positive and it’s from me so I believe it!
Darren A. Smith, Founder of MBM, wrote this article for GetMotivation. He spent 12 years as a Buyer for one of the big four UK supermarkets. MBM enable suppliers to the big four supermarkets to secure more profitable wins. They are from the UK Grocery Industry delivering People Development. Using their unique training method – ‘Sticky Learning ®’ – You too can have the best people for the long term. Checkout their Ultimate Guide to Leadership Skills.

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