Just before Christmas last year a customer of mine asked me the question “How do you self motivate yourself?” What a great question so here’s 10 secrets that I’ve discovered over the past 25 years that serve me well so I can self motivate myself.
Deal with decent people
I am in a privileged position in being self employed since I’m able to deal with customers and clients who I want to deal with. Now I’m not so arrogant to turn business away but when I encounter an unreasonable or rude or just plain disagreeable person…I can walk away. To be able to do this is so self fulfilling.
Work only with people I would invite to my home for dinner
In a similar fashion to the first point, I have a principle that I will only do business with someone who I would invite to dinner with my wife and three children at our home in Gloucestershire. Now that’s not to say I would invite everyone to our house for dinner although that would be nice but not practical, it makes me think who I really want to do business with. Once you trust someone or simply enjoying doing business with them you don’t have to have a gamut of contracts or small print surrounding everything you do.
Taking my long term goals and carrying forward everything from previous years ensures that each December I form my annual goals on a mindmap. This is so important to me as it gives me guidance and stability throughout the year. So often many of us, especially me, procrastinate…so having goals to fall back on is incredibly motivational as it gives you purpose, direction and allows you to channel all your energy to a specific purpose.
Languishing in what the success looks like, feels like and sounds like. That way I know exactly what it’s going to be like when I’ve achieved it
I couldn’t cope without my December goal setting (between Christmas and New Year). I don’t do anything fancy apart from focusing on PACES.
Think about what I want to do in the Positive, in other words say what I’m going to do rather than what I don’t want to do. Achievement, knowing what success looks like to me so I can see that I’ve achieved it. I leave a lot of success checking to visualisation. Control…am I in control of the outcome. Not to say that I’m a control freak although I do have tendencies. Being in control means that you’re not relying on outside influences to achieve your goals. Effect…what’s the effect on other people or other things you enjoy by achieving the goal. Does the goal affect things that you would rather not?
Step into the future. My favourite part of goal setting. I love letting my head imagine me heading out of my body and running along my time line which stretches into the future. When I reach the moment when my goal has been achieved I drop down and savour the moment. Languishing in what the success looks like, feels like and sounds like. That way I know exactly what it’s going to be like when I’ve achieved it.
Now I don’t do this for every goal I set myself each year, just the really important ones. Although thinking about it now, to ensure I do achieve all my goals, maybe I should follow the process every time.
I’ve got to be honest some goals I don’t achieve. Why? Things change, goals get adapted and altered and other things get in the way.
Simply breaking the goal down into bite sized chunks helps me see exactly what needs to be done using smaller bursts of energy.
Every quarter (January, February and March is Q1 and so on) I transfer goals from my annual mindmap to a quarterly goal or split an annual goal into parts that can be accommodated in a quarter. I then set about achieving these goals each quarter. When I fail to achieve a goal or part of, it’s not a problem as I just transfer it back to the annual picture and reset them to another quarter.
Self development goals and diary
I gained this idea a few years ago from someone and I can see that it was in 1997. I can look up to my shelf now and see 9 or 10 mini pocket diaries stacked side by side with goals and learnings achieved written on the side of each one. Inside the diary, I can revisit every accomplishment, every single piece of learning and any good idea I’ve found. Every time I attend a workshop, an association meeting, read a book, listen to an MP3, I note down exactly what I learnt in the date when I learnt it. The best thing is to regularly re-visit the learning diary to remind myself what I learnt and to check that I’ve taken the steps to change something or so something differently as a result of learning.
Ever so motivating to be able to sit back with a glass of my favourite wine and thumb through my learning diary from the past and to visualise what difference learning has made.
Anchoring was something I learnt about back in the 1990’s during my initial NLP training. Anchoring is great and has many uses. What I like to do is to anchor special feelings, good moments, high achievement times with something from my audio channel. Some people like visual anchors but I prefer auditory anchors and I assign special music tracks to special memories of success. Right now in my car I have a CD that I burnt which contains about 20 tunes that I can play at a moments notice. Each tune will bring back an anchor of a special feeling that makes me feel good. I’ve anchored a particular feeling or emotion to a song so when I want dollops of that emotion, I play the song in my car as loud as I can.
This really works for me.
Time management – red, blue, black time
Nothing special here really but I make sure that when I write something in my diary I do two things. Firstly I give it a colour and secondly I estimate the time it should take and put it in a part of the day. The colours indicate activities which either make profit, contribute to profit or back up profit making activities. Red for actions that make profit, blue for activities that lead towards profit and black which is pretty much everything else that supports the profit making activities. This simple colour coding system ensures I keep an eye on what is really important.
I make note of the things I do and where I can I automate them. In other words I don’t have to do it. You can use software and computers to do this or other people. Now my company is not littered with employees so this option is never there for me but I can outsource and do. For example I outsource my database management to a great guy based in Australia. Many process can be speeded up considerably using technology which is always changing. If it can’t be automated now it might be able to be automated next year or the year after.
Get a 21st Century work – life balance
Now this phrase has served to depress many 21st century workers as we spend countless hours on work tasks and little time with our loved ones and family. There is some truth in this and all us guilty ones should stand up to be counted. Me included. But here are my opposite views.
Way back in the 17th century before people rushed to the cities for the Industrial Revolution, life was different. The baker, for example, would bake his bread in the same place in which he brought up his family. He would sell his bread to passers by, whenever they appeared and not between the hours of 9am and 5pm. He would blend in time with his family whilst waiting for the latest batch of bread to bake and when it was ready he would take it out of the oven to cool. Work and home were mixed together in harmony.
Then along came the Industrial Revolution, working in factories and the commercial revolution, working in offices and shops. And we evolved into a working day with maximum hours spent at the coal face. With fierce competition, particularly from the Boomer population (born 1945 to 1960), long hours became the success indicator and our home lives suffered.
But now has come the Internet Revolution which has allowed many thousands of us to return back to the home where we carry out our work using the wonders of technology and the Internet. I think we have returned to the old baker’s way of life but are struggling with the 20th century ideals of working for so many hours and playing for so many hours, the work-life balance holy grail.
It’s now all mixed up again. If I want to wake up early, write this article and post it to my Blog before breakfast then I can do this. I can then spend breakfast with my family and take my children to school, return home to record some MP3 files to sell on my website. I can then take my dog out for a walk whilst thinking through some internet marketing strategies or a new workshop a client has asked me to create. Later that night after everyone has gone to bed I can Instant Message a friend over in Australia.
Because that’s what 21st century working is all about. And this is very, very self motivating.