We’ve all heard of the little engine that could. “I think I can, I think I can.” But what happens if the little engine can, but just doesn’t feel like it? What if you’re tired or weak or just not motivated that day? What if you only want to eat that salad when you feel like it, but often times you say “screw it” and throw in the towel? What kept the little engine that could so motivated to keep pushing and driving even when it got tough and how can we do the same?
This week while I was running I had a sudden realization as I was out on the road alone. Many mornings I don’t feel like getting up at 5:30, but I do it anyway. Many mornings I want to hit the snooze button and get the extra hour of sleep. In fact, there are so many things I don’t feel like doing, even when I know the payoff will be rewarding. Even when it’s part of my bigger vision, I often don’t feel like doing what’s necessary to reach the end goal. And the truth is, I have (many times) submitted to my feelings and ended up not practicing for auditions or not reading the chapter a day or writing the post or prospecting for clients or taking my kids to the park or waking up early to play with my kids in the morning, or…the list goes on and on. I rationalize to take the easy route, self-sabatoge in the end, and usually end up disappointed with my results (or the lack thereof). In those moments I realize I need to dig a little deeper. Pause and re-energize. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but staying motivated is a daily choice.
So how do we re-charge? How do we stay motivated?
Simon Sinek wrote in his book, “Start with Why,” many innovative companies and individuals don’t ask questions like what do I want and how do I get it? They reverse the process and first ask “Why do I want X?” Apple’s “Why” is about thinking differently and empowering others with tools to help them do it. If the Why isn’t strong enough, then the what and how don’t matter. If you don’t really care why you’re trying to hit 120% of quota, then who cares if you miss it by 30%? If you don’t know why you want your kids to read at a 1st grade level when they are in kindergarten, then you probably won’t spend the time studying with them at night after a long day. You will know EXACTLY what to do, but you won’t feel like it. When your Why is weak, your feelings overcome the vision and the goal. The consequence is that you skip critical steps, and eventually lower your targets. “I didn’t REALLY need to hit 120%.” “It’s ok if my child reads at a lower level, he/she will be fine.”
The little engine that could probably didn’t feel like charging up that mountain, especially when he saw the challenge in front of him. But little by little, his Why carried him through. He wasn’t saying “this is impossible, I could be doing so many other things…” or “I don’t feel like pushing harder, I can just rest and head back down the mountain” or “I’m tired, I don’t REALLY need to go up this mountain.” He famously focused on himself, his internal power, his will to succeed, and of course his why and said “I think I can, I think I can.”
The last leg of my run every morning is up hill and honestly, it sucks! But I love the challenge. In that last leg of my run I find myself saying, “I think I can, I think I can…” WHY? Because I want to feel that burst of adrenaline that releases dopamine into my brain and creates a feeling of euphoria! It cancels out all feelings of doubt and uncertainty and it sets me up for a fantastic day. So at 5:30 in the morning, I choose not to focus on being tired, or the extra hour of sleep I could get, I choose to focus on that hill, on that last leg of my run. I choose to focus on my Why.
Find your Why, even in the little things you do, and stay focus on that to keep you motivated.
Next week I’ll give you the 5 questions needed to find your Why and driving force to complete any goal. I look forward to helping you succeed in a new and exciting way.
Have a great week and feel free to reach out as you discover your why! Here to help!