The Secret Life of Motivated People

I am an optimist.

However, it would be a lie to assume that I am never frustrated or demotivated. I am.

Yesterday for example I was sitting in my living room and watching the 10th episode of “The Killing” and thought to myself: “I really do not want to go to work tomorrow. I should just quit. It is the same story over and over. The same questions. The same concerns. The same people yelling at me. The same difficulties and issues. And I will not get another raise this year, I will not get promoted, I might not even make top performer this year. Why bother”

This is me when I am the most frustrated. When I really do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I absolutely do not know how to get out. When everything just feels … depressing. This is when I feel sorry for myself.

Today, I woke up and I feel so much better. I am motivated. I am ready to conquer the world. I am ready to give it another try. What changed?

1. Sleep

I actually got a good night sleep. I did not try to wake up extra early to cramp in some stretching before work and do a run. I slept until I needed to get up to make my 7:00am meeting.  Which to me means waking up at 5:45am. And leaving the house at 6:20am.  Sleeping always helps. I typically prepare well: I lay out my clothes the night before, I do not wash my hair every day as I do not need to, I have a very strict make-up routine and I generally do not eat breakfast at home. All this to maximize my sleep.

2. Coffee

I made my favorite coffee in the morning. No sugar. But with heavy cream. This always makes me happy.

3. Attack Plan

I always attack things in priority order and also in order of most pain. I attack the topics that I do not like first, so they are out of the way. I do not postpone. I do not push them out. I confront my issues and work through them. Once I get the painful stuff out of the way the rest does not feel this hard anymore.

4. Be Very Selfish

I am typically not very selfish. Generally, I like to make sure everyone receives what they need in order to complete their work. Today will be different. I will leave early. I made an appointment with my hair stylist for today and I also made an appointment with my massage therapist (for back and should pain). If I am not happy at work at least I will look good.

5. Finding the Value

Whenever I am demotivated I spend an excessive amount of time thinking about “why am I doing what I am doing”. I do this typically when I run, but sometimes also in the car on my way to work. I just need to be alone with my thought. In order to overcome the demotivational wave that hit me yesterday, I needed to determine the root cause of my frustration. And the root cause in this instance is clear: lack of future vision and people. People sometimes frustrate me, in particular if they are new to the job (my company rotates people every two years) and I have to retrain, reexplain, or relearn a relationship. I am in my job now for 5 years (yes, there are exceptions to the 2 year rule) and I have seen people come and go. Every rotation is an immediate repeat of something for me. This frustrates me. So, I remembered this morning on my drive to work what I am really good at: building relationships. And I made it my own personal commitment of the day to ensure that I am building at least one new relationship today.  And that I would spend at least 30min today thinking and defining the future of me and my group, so I can determine the best path on how to get there. This means: dedicated 45min to improving my situation today should help reduce the frustration. Finding one more ally, utilizing a solid existing skill, and being creative. Things I love doing.

What I always have to remember myself of is: Everyone is occasionally unhappy at work. Being demotivated is not bad. Utilize the cues to find things to improve where you are today by doing the above five things: something to feel good (sleep, coffee), something to look good (hair cut), something to get the most painful thing out of the way (attack plan), be selfish and leave early, and ensure you understand a few key things to improve your current situations by utilizing existing skills and circumstances.

And that is it.

Today, already looks so much better.


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