Tag Archives | motivation

A Success Story that will Amp Up Your Motivation

Photo courtesy of CR Artist

I’ve found that motivation is rather hard to come by this time of year, and that (ironically) was the catalyst for today’s post.

If you’re like me, then you’ve realized how difficult it is to overcome the emotional hurdles that come along with being in a slump – the biggest of which is a feeling of hopelessness. Luckily, motivation is something that comes and goes, and as long as you don’t give up on your goals, you will feel motivated again soon.

Along with staying focused on the end result, there are some other things you can do until your motivation returns, and some of them might even bring it back sooner. At times like this, choose one goal to focus on. Too many things on your To-Do list is a surefire way to overwhelm yourself. Spend some time with your negative thoughts; let yourself feel them without judgement. After a few days, start writing yourself inspirational notes, even if you don’t feel inspired yet.

You can also use this time to be inspired by other success stories, like the one that follows.

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When Howard was just 8 years old, his father lost his blue collar job due to injury, with no opportunities for sick leave or disability pay. Howard’s parents became unable to pay bills, afford healthcare, or even put food on the table. Howard wanted a better life, but he also wanted to make a difference for others. As the first member of his family to attend college, he earned a degree in Communications, after which he worked his way upward with sales and marketing positions.

His incredible drive and work ethic eventually got him hired as Vice President of a fairly large housewares company. Among his clients was a small company that sold coffee beans, loose teas, spices and beverage accessories. Howard became intrigued by this company when they began purchasing more and more of his company’s products. On a business trip to their location, he fostered a relationship with the company owners and eventually became their Director of Marketing.

Soon after, while Howard was on vacation in Italy, he noticed coffee shops on every corner, all brimming with customers day in and day out. People used the coffee shops as meeting places and hangouts. When Howard returned home, he pitched the idea to his bosses. However, the small coffee company owners wanted no part of the ‘restaurant business’ and they quickly dismissed his idea.

Howard was disheartened by their response to his idea, so he left the company to start a chain of coffee shops on his own, called Il Giornale. Two years later, he had enough capital to buy the rights to the small coffee bean company he had left. It cost him $3 million to purchase and he quickly rebranded Il Giornale to combine the two concepts into a colossal money making machine.

Of course, the name of that small coffee bean and tea company was Starbucks, and as of 2012, it is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, and Howard Schultz has a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion. True to his promise to himself when he was just a youngster, every Starbucks employee working 20 or more hours a week receives healthcare options, which are also extended to their spouses.

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I often think about Howard when my motivation is low, and I realize that if he can accomplish such amazing feats, having grown up in a housing project in the Canarsie area of Brooklyn, then surely the rest of us can find the motivation to accomplish our goals, too.

Until your motivation returns, let the stories of people like Howard stoke your fire. You only need one ember burning to keep your dreams from going up in smoke.

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Doldrums Dragging You Down? 10 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back

Photo courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography

We all have days when all of our responsibilities just seem like too much effort. Am I right?

Maybe a bad night’s sleep is to blame, or a fight with a significant other, or maybe there’s no obvious reason for falling into a funk. Sometimes it just happens.

On days when I’m feeling like my eyelids weigh one thousand pounds and my favorite word is ‘meh’, what I want to do is crawl under the covers and watch a marathon of bad reality tv. If I gave in to those urges though, I’d fall way behind on my work and my business would suffer. So, I get things done, whether I want to or not.

Instead of just powering through tasks that feel totally tiresome, it seems that it would be much more productive if we could get our mojo back first. Being motivated to get things done makes us work smarter and faster, and give us more satisfaction out of a job well done. The problem is – how in the world can we get motivated when what we really want to do is take a break from life?

When I’m feeling funky (and not in the Kool & the Gang way), I try a couple of things to break my foul mood before delving into the day, even if it means postponing my start time. I’d rather work on a project when I’m fully engaged and excited about what I’m doing than just plod through it. Here are some things that usually help me beat the blahs:

  • Distraction – Doing something fun and moderately active will get your heart rate up and stimulate your endorphins.
  • Discussion – Talking to a friend about a different topic entirely can get your smile muscles working and boost your mood.
  • Declaration - Tell yourself over and over again why you set out on your particular journey. Repeat your mantra until it sinks in. For me – “You can (and will) accomplish anything you set your mind to.”
  • Doing less – The blahs usually hit us when we are overloaded or overstimulated. Take stock of what you really want and need to accomplish immediately, and let some of your other responsibilities slide until later.
  • Daydreaming – Let your mind go free for awhile. You might feel much better after a little daydream about something awesome coming up in your life.
  • Dancing – I mean, really – who doesn’t feel happier after a little boogeying?
  • Diverging – Sometimes simply moving my workspace to my back porch is all it takes to get me up and running again. Change your location. If possible, try to get some sun in the process.
  • Dressing differently – Put on an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing.
  • Double-teaming it – Work with a partner who helps you stay motivated. If you work alone, contact a team member via Skype and ask them for help.
  • Delighting while working - Munch on your favorite snack, wear your fuzzy slippers, put on your most expensive perfume, drink a luxurious cup of tea – whatever your delight is – combine it with your task in order to associate good feelings with working.

While it is possible to power through even when you don’t feel like it, it’s best to break out of the doldrums before they turn into a long-lasting slump that could really set you back.  Nip your blahs in the bud now before they have a chance to take root and grow into something much harder to tame.

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