Staying motivated when times are tough

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When you first put together your plan, it seems to make perfect sense. The steps are straightforward, the timeframes are reasonable, and youre on the course for greatness. The day-to-day management of it can end up being very different. There will be great days but there will be very hard days. Staying motivated when things are bad is challenging for even the most optimistic people. When paving your own road to success, you have to keep yourself motivated. Obstacles will always end up in your path but how you stay positive will ultimately determine how much you can achieve.

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  • Staying Motivated When Times Are Tough

    When you first put together your plan,

    it seems to make perfect sense. The

    steps are straightforward, the

    timeframes are reasonable, and youre

    on the course for greatness. The day-

    to-day management of it can end up

    being very different. There will be

    great days but there will be very hard

    days. Staying motivated when things

    are bad is challenging for even the most optimistic people. When paving your own road to

    success, you have to keep yourself motivated. Obstacles will always end up in your path but

    how you stay positive will ultimately determine how much you can achieve.

    Breathe

    Youd be surprised at how staying motivated can come down to a couple of deep breaths.

    During times of high pressure or stress, your amygdala (the part of the brain that controls

    your fight-or-flight response) becomes very active, causing you to overreact to normal

    stressors and become more susceptible to negative thoughts. Proper breathing, on the other

    hand, gives you the ability to calm your blood pressure, your stress level, and your mind.

    Yesterday, I was driving home from a successful speaking engagement, but as I neared my

    home city, a strong wave of dread came over me, the result of all the responsibilities and

    obligations that awaited me once I made it back safely. I realized my sweaty palms,

    plummeting mood, and increased stress level and employed the following technique:

    1. I inhaled deeply for 5 seconds, not from the chest but deep within my belly.

    2. I held that breath for 5 seconds.

    3. I exhaled slowly for 5 seconds, letting all of the air in my lungs escape.

    4. I waited 5 seconds before taking my next breath.

    5. I repeated the steps above once again.

  • Less than one minute in, I immediately began to feel better. My mind cleared up, my

    motivation returned, and I felt much more in control of my situation. All because of two

    slow, deep breaths.

    Prayer

    When the obstacles seem insurmountable, I turn to my most reliable source of support.

    Bringing my trials to God not only reduces their emotional burdenit also makes me

    consider whats truly important and what isnt. I dont want to sweat the small stuff, even

    though its easy to get tangled in. Just considering asking God for help gives me the ability to

    see things more rationally. I have a great deal to be thankful for and all the positives that exist

    in my life. It makes negative comments or discouraging rejections seem less significant in the

    long run.

    Just the other day, I was feeling more than overwhelmed in my current situation. Lately Ive

    been managing and planning my crowdfunding campaign, had a few family emergencies,

    been working on delivering high-quality posts to you all, and found out my contract at work

    will be ending soon and my company wont be renewing. Couple all of that with some health

    issues my wife and I have been dealing with, and its easy to see why Ive been so stressed

    out lately. However, the simple act of praying in the morning as well as the various times I

    feel anxiety creeping up throughout the day instantly brings much-needed peace in a time of

    serious uncertainty.

    Conversation

    Talk to people you care about when youre feeling down. If youre not already sharing your

    goals with your friends and family, you need to start. Having people around you to check in

    and see how your projects are progressing is a great way to build an accountability network.

    But dont forget to reach out to them when you start to struggle. The people who believe in

    you are the ones you want to have around. They can remind you of why you got started.

    Another important thing you can get from your support system is advice or the opportunity to

    brainstorm out loud. Talking to other entrepreneurs with more experience than me gave me

    some fantastic information that made staying motivated much easier. Yesterday, I had a

    conversation with a fellow entrepreneur where we mostly just described our business

    struggles over the past several weeks: our disagreements with partners and potential clients,

  • miscues and miscommunication, and general business frustrations. Through this pow-wow, I

    was able to come to conclusions and had ideas that otherwise never would have struck me.

    When anything can be an inspiration, communicating with people is essential.

    Stories

    Stories of other peoples struggles can help you overcome your own. When Ive run out of

    momentum and success doesnt feel attainable, I recharge by seeing whats gotten other

    people ahead.

    The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed with a bit

    less but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of ok. Number

    four almost didnt fail. It didnt really feel great but it did ok. Number five was PayPal.

    Yup, thats PayPal co-founder and former CTO Max Levchin. Four company foundings and

    four failures in a row are enough to make anyone give up. It was an expensive, unfulfilling

    prospect. But Levchin kept going and innovating. Not only did he found a successful

    business, but his company changed the way people exchange money online. Thousands of

    small businesses, independent contractors, and individuals have been able to make money

    and send it out to others quickly and securely. PayPal has transformed the economic

    landscape for the better. And it happened because Levchin stayed motivated.

    Listening to podcasts or reading stories of triumph reminds me that everyone, no matter how

    rich, smart, or powerful they may seem, has faced countless barriers on the road to success.

    Failure and rejection are inevitable but good things come to those who are staying motivated.

    Service

    Opening your heart and offering your time to others is one of the most valuable things you

    can do to strengthen your spirit. Bringing back that strength and resilience is critical to

    handling future problems. This can be very minora neighbor who needs help with their

    gutters, a friend with a baby who desperately needs the laundry done, or a sick family

    member who could use a home meal delivery. Theres much to gain and little to lose when

    you try to help others.

    Getting involved with a local organization on a regular basis is a great way to stay positive

    over a long term. Charities and organizations host different events and often have regular

    opportunities to use your skills or develop new ones while making life better for others. And

  • you never know when you might meet the person who becomes instrumental to success.

    Volunteering is just as important to networking as any other event. There are so many

    wonderful people giving their time to causes out there, youre bound to make a friend or

    two maybe someone who can help you out of your tough situation.

    Celebration

    When things are at their worst, any positive is worth celebrating! At the end of a terrible day,

    getting a nice email or a friendly comment on Facebook can make all the difference. Just

    because a success is smaller doesnt make it less valuable. Focusing on the positive is what

    keeps successful motivated. Little celebrations can lift you out of a rut and back into an active

    mode. Dont miss the opportunity to congratulate yourself. When I was finishing my book,

    sometimes finishing a chapter was successbut some days, just getting through a page was

    worth getting excited about. It wont always be easy but it will always be worth it.

    The drive to achieve your goals comes from within. Whether work feels like too much of the

    same old stuff or youre having trouble starting something new, always remember that failure

    is an integral part of success. There will always be setbacks and opportunities to quit. Staying

    motivated can be difficult when things are at their darkest but you can push through. You can

    make a change and renew your inspiration.