Have you ever felt that a task is too big to even start? Or maybe you’ve started and hit some obstacles on the way? I must admit, growing my own business, I often feel this way… Many times in my life I gave up is similar circumstances but this time I keep going. So what to do to find the motivation and the energy to go on?
Recently we went to Le Morne in the south-east part of the island. Apart from wonderful beaches it’s mostly know because of the Le Morne Brabant mountain (556m) that dominates the coastline. The mountain itself is truly beautiful, it raises like a thorn at the coast, guarding the land from the wind that is pretty strong here, as for Mauritius coastline. The local legend says that runaway slaves from the surrounding sugar plantations were hiding in the mountain caves here. After the abolition of slavery on 1st Feb 1986, a police party was sent to inform the marrons (slaves) that they are free. The fugitives, thinking that police was on it’s way to catch them, jumped from the mountain, as they preferred being dead than slaves again. The story remains a legend, as archeologists and historians who carried out field work in 2003 found evidence of human habitation in the caves but proposed that since there is no source of fresh water, it’s unlikely people lived there.
Sitting on the beach looking at the beautifully azure ocean, I couldn’t forget the mountain behind my back and the tragic story. I was thinking how unfair and terrible the incident was, how ironic that the people who wanted freedom gave up the moment it actually came to them. And I was thinking that this situation is so relevant to people these days. How often we give up, loose hope and stop working towards our goals because life gets hard? Because we loose faith in life, in ourselves? Because we compare our 'results' to other people’s and feel we are not doing good enough? All these things stop us from reaching our full potential!
Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with tasks at hand, questioning myself and doubting my own strength, wisdom, knowledge… I’ve started a new business and with all the 'helpful' people around me (You shouldn’t be doing this, It’s so difficult to be self-employed, you should have stayed in your safe job, Your service is too expensive, Your service is too cheap, Never do this, Always do that…) sometimes I really loose motivation and will to live! But I’ve decided to CONSCIOUSLY change that. It’s very easy to give up and it’s difficult to do things differently. It takes hard work, effort, conscious actions and rituals/routine to keep things going when the monkey in my head is shouting No, I don’t want to do that! I want to run and hide!
So what do I do, to keep myself going?
Well, the list is long. What works some days doesn’t work on other days. The important thing is to keep going…
- Remember the big picture (in a lot of detail) – Very rarely the road from A to B is a straight line. More often than not, it’s a long, back and forth way with many obstacles. It takes time and energy to get where you want to be but when you focus on the end result, the obstacles seem smaller and you don’t concentrate on them that much. When you clearly define where you want to get to, imagine it in a lot of detail. The future will 'pull you' through the difficult parts. I actually have a Vision Board of my perfect life to remember exactly where I want to be and this visual really helps me.
- Set goals/intentions – Once you clarify the big picture, it’s good to split it in more smaller ones. When you set intentions – what you know you want to achieve in order to get to your big dream – the tasks seem more manageable. What I also find useful is to put a time frame on the goals (but it has to be realistic). No point in setting goals that you know you can’t achieve, you will only get frustrated.
- Have a plan – Maybe it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I love to have a plan. A goal is 'what' I want to achieve, a plan is the 'how'. Think of steps to get you through the process and then do one step at a time. And don’t plan every detail – leave some space for the little surprises that life will inevitably serve and for the days when you don’t feel like doing anything 😉
- Have a routine – Sometimes routine can save the day. When you have a routine, e.g. get up at 7am, have breakfast, work till 12.30, always have a tuna sandwich for lunch, except Fridays, when you have a burger, you don’t think too much on how to survive the day, you just do it. The set time frame helps to go through each chunk of the day, if your spirit is low. Sometimes, it’s OK to do nothing and sometimes you need to push through. Pushing through is necessary but only occasionally. Don’t do it too often, as it’s takes away more energy than it brings result and it’s the shortest way to burnout!
- Get some rest – Especially on the days when you push through but as a rule, everyday! Sleep counts but restful, peaceful sleep when you don’t drop dead after 15h of work. Other forms are also allowed – Sport, watching TV, reading, cooking, cleaning (?!) … Whatever makes you relaxed and helps you recharge you batteries.
- Reward yourself – Especially after big achievements, don’t forget to celebrate. You don’t have to party all night, a nice coffee out or meeting with a friend is fine too. Maybe a little present to yourself? You are working hard. Don’t wait for others to appreciate it, give yourself a pat on the back.
- Being humble – It’s not nice to hear but you are not perfect and you don’t know it all. Admit it to yourself. The good news is that you don’t have to be. Nobody is! When you start a new journey, task or career chances are that you don’t know how to do it. The sooner you come to terms with that the better. Be patient with yourself, keep an open mind and learn as much as you can. There are people who have been there and done that, and you can learn a lot from them. Try to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
- Being brave – It basically means: feel the fear and do it anyway. Try, try try. There is no other way. Do it once, if you like it, if it works, do it again. If it doesn’t work, try something else. And remember that you are not on your own. You have your family/friends who support you and believe in you. You even have your dead grandmother or Oprah Winfrey who you can call upon and ask to hold your hand when you go to this office or that job interview. Why not? Whatever works, right?:)
- Trust yourself – If you are doing what you truly believe is the right thing to do, you can trust yourself that you will be OK. We are stronger than we think. Do you remember this very difficult exam you thought you’ll never pass but you did or the horrible conversation with your partner you managed so well, or the broken heart you recovered from? You’ve done it in the past and you can do it this time. Don’t loose hope:)
This is my main list, there is more and I’m sure you can come up with even more ways to keep yourself going. Everyone woman is different and what works for me not necessarily will work for you but please try to find your own way. If you are working towards a bigger life a better future never forget where you’re going and remember that you are always the best version of yourself at the moment. You are already doing great!