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Find Motivation from Within

The United States Military is forged around the foundation of “teamwork” and a commitment to one another. You’ve heard the mantras of “never leave a teammate behind,” “never will I fail my comrades” and others that have cemented a foundation of the “one team = one fight” concept. I’ve spent my military and civilian leadership career believing, teaching and implementing these necessary and key concepts.

That being said, what about when YOU need to pick yourself up? When there is no one else around or someone you can talk to? What do you do? How do you motivate yourself?

Recently a very successful client asked me, “JB what do you do when your motivation is low? Who do you call?” I replied “well I’m Superman remember?" We both chuckled, however a little later I reflected on this very important question she asked me and did a deep dive to what really helps me “motivate myself.”

There will be times in your life, whether you’re an up and coming professional, seasoned executive/coach, stay at home caregiver, college student, maintenance worker, etcetera, that you will have to find your own ways to motivate yourself.

First and foremost this way MUST be healthy. You cannot find this in alcohol, or any other type of addiction that gives you false sense of relief. This is not motivation; this is source that erodes the positive work you’ve done. There are healthy ways to inspire your mind; your spirit, your soul and can bring yourself positive energy. Always understand that your mind and body is a high performance system, one that additionally has feelings and spirit.

You must work on all facets of yourself and need to keep everything in balance. It’s been proven that we need both stress and enjoyment in our lives, but both must be in the right proportions. Too much of either will get out off kilter and the effects can be a systemic issue.

So, back to the original question, how do I motivate myself? Since I implement some type of reading and fitness into my daily routines, when I need an additional boost I will change my routine and instead of the “regular gym day” I might go on a long hike into the mountains, or a jog along a river, a bike ride, or just a walk through a neighboring park doing a complete version of SLLS (pronounced “Sills”) which stands for: stop, look, listen, smell.

I stay uninterrupted from my phone and slowly conduct SLLS just gathering everything in. From the wind blowing through the trees, a dog dark barking in the distance, smell of fresh cut grass, on and on. Breath, relax, take it all in. Then I count the small victories of the day and the week. I mean even the smallest of victories; eating healthy yogurt, berries and granola over the bagel and cream cheese; phone call with an old friend or a loved one; personal high-five for inspiring or helping someone today, and so on.

Next thing you know, the small victories begin to add up, and what you have done is tunneled down to refuel your spirit. I also find a way to pray and give thanks for my health and my wonderful family. If you have a pet, especially a dog, this is when you will truly see the meaning of “man’s best friend.”

It’s difficult to pick ourselves up, especially when you feel like you are running in circles, or as I eloquently use, on the “hamster wheel!” When I need to really pick myself up, I shorten my thought process, not let what’s happening tomorrow overwhelm me. Sometimes I’m just trying to make it to lunch, then make it to dinner. I celebrate the small victories. I find the positives, and salute those. I pray heavily, even sometimes out loud.

Never let the enemy (those fears and doubts) take hold in your mind. Sure you have to be realistic, but allowing the negative thoughts control you will stifle your initiative and attack your own resolve. You control your thoughts. You are in charge of your own spirit and soul. Keep it focused, keep it healthy, get outside as much as possible, and salute the small victories!

I hope you enjoyed this short message! For more tips and inspiration on motivation - follow on Instagram @jbspisso.