Staying motivated when the chips are down isn’t easy. You feel deflated, perhaps a failure, and maybe even afraid for your job. The first thing to remember is that nobody is perfect; we all make mistakes. The second thing is that you can turn the situation around.
When nothing seems to go right, the following tips will help you get back on the road to success and keep moving forward:
Read Hardship Stories of Successful People
One of my favorite TV shows is ABC’s Shark Tank. As an entrepreneur myself I’m drawn to other entrepreneurs, and I’m often praising the brilliant Shark Tank businessmen who enter the tank hoping for a deal. I also enjoy hearing about the journey to the biggest meeting of their lives, many of which veer off the course that they originally set for themselves. Yet there they are, standing in front of dealmakers, heads held high, eagerly anticipating a partner that could one day make them rich.
Of course, their stories are a dime a dozen. Everyone has their own tale of hardship, and it can be helpful when you’re feeling down to tap into those anecdotes, not only for comfort but also perhaps as solutions to your problems. It’s certainly comforting to know that you’re not alone — and things will get better.
Remember This, Too, Shall Pass
Sometimes feelings change as often as the weather. Everyone has days when it seems like the world is out to get them, and nothing will ever be OK again, but the sun will come out eventually.
Adjust Your Goals
Most people who have trouble succeeding usually do so because they start out by setting unrealistically-high bars. People who set lofty goals are asking for disappointment. Setting small, achievable goals offers a greater chance of success and increases motivation. Who doesn’t like ticking off a box on their to-do list?
Clear Your Head
Sometimes taking a step back and refocusing your energy is the best solution to a problem. You can’t always jet away on vacation when things go wrong or your head is cloudy, but there are plenty of other ways to refresh yourself. For some that may be exercise; for others it may be drinks with friends after work. Wherever your safe space is located, go to it and relax. Then, after the stress is gone, go back and revisit your issue to get back on the straight and narrow.
Recognize That You Can’t Control Everything
Perfectionists and control freaks like myself have trouble staying motivated when life goes wrong. I just want to lie in bed, pull the covers over my head, and pretend I have no problems. Meanwhile, the issues continue to pile up as I ignore them — which is why I have to remind myself that some things are simply out of my control.
“It’s easy to lose hope when you aren’t in control of the outcome of a project, proposition, or plan,” says Lee Silber, a best-selling author and motivational speaker. “Instead, get lost in the process. The Nike slogan ‘Just Do It’ is appropriate here. Action is the antidote for frustration.”
Lean On Your Supporters
Nobody likes to admit that they’ve failed, but we all need someone to confide in from time to time.
“Those who are surrounded by positive non-judgmental people who are pulling for them and willing to listen can always see hope on the horizon,” Silber says. “Make a list of friends and family who you spend the most time with. Then put a plus sign next to their name if they’re positive people, and a minus sign if they’re negative. Make it your mission to spend more time with the positive people in your life. And if you don’t have enough positive people in your life, find a group that will help you better yourself. Toastmasters, is one example.”
Silber warns that seeking support on social media may not be a beneficial tactic because others are often flaunting their success there, and that’s not usually motivating when you’re feeling defeated.
Swallow Your Pride
I prefer to work alone. Mainly because I often work at a rapid pace, and I don’t like having to accommodate someone working slower. Of course, there are times when I need help with something, and I’m not too proud to ask for it. Recognizing that you can’t do everything isn’t a sign of failure, but rather success — especially when the alternative may result in failure anyway.
Focus on the Endgame
It’s hard to keep your eyes on the prize when a setback derails your progress. Setbacks are a time to remember why you’re doing whatever you’re doing. Always look for the positive in what you’re doing and refocus your sights on a worthy outcome.
Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral