Change comes in stages . . .
. . . and you’re never quite sure why
until one day . . .
. . . you look back
And it all makes sense . . .
Motivation [ mo-teh-vay-shun]:
The drive to do or achieve something, the need to improve, to be better or improve in direction, to attain something, or accomplish; incentive, and the act or instance of motivating
Motivation is a noun, which as you may or may not remember from our early days in the classroom or perhaps you date back as far or further then me and you remember back when Saturday morning cartoons played Schoolhouse Rock, and if any of these things taught you correctly, then you would remember a noun is a person, place, or thing.
Motivation is a noun, —it’s a thing, and whether we believe this or not, we always have motivation; it just matters which direction we choose to use it
And some will ask, “How can you say that?”
Truth is we have motivation. Motivation is neither a positive or negative; instead, motivation is an energy. It is constant and uninterrupted.
And some will ask, “How can you say that?”
Some will say, “That doesn’t make sense.”
But it does
In one of my empowerment classes, we discussed goals. We discussed the need to define our goals, to choose them realistically, to create a time line, to set achievable targets along the way to held define our vision and allow for tangible feels for success, and as a class, we came together with powerful results. We discussed the importance of short term goals, or incremental goals, and how any success no matter how tiny or huge, all of them add and then bring us one step closer to our overall goal of living a good life.
One person in the class explained how it’s hard enough to get out of bed. In this case, it was explained what it feels like to have the weight of the world on your shoulders, nothing is going right, no one cares, and no one wants to help, —it’s lonely enough to keep a man in bed to stare up at the ceiling and not have the motivation to get up, except to go to the bathroom, of course
And there it is; there’s that word again: Motivation.
Motivation is energy. It is fuel and fuel can be consumed in either efficient or inefficient ways.
If what I say is true and motivation is constant, then how can it be said that, “I don’t even have the motivation to get out of bed.”
Again since motivation is constant, it is not the absence of motivation in this case; however, look carefully at the words here: “I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed.” Look at this sentence carefully. I don’t have the motivation to . . .”
I may not have always had the motivation to eat right or live well, exercise, or make choices with better outcomes; but at the time, my motivation and the intention behind my goals was different. There were times when I did not have the motivation to get out of bed; instead, my only motivation was to lay there with covers pulled up to my chin, laying either on my side or on my back, looking at the painfully informative stick-figure numbers on my alarm clock, or staring up at the flat white ceiling, watching a cobweb sway in the corner, or looking at the curtain that moves ever so slightly.
I did not have the motivation to get up. I did not have the motivation to fight back or climb out of this pitfall I define as my depression. However, this does not mean I did not have motivation. Instead, this means I chose to spend my energy in a different way. Instead of achieving one direction; I chose to honor a different direction. In either direction, whether good or bad, —it is not the motivation that was my problem; but more so, I placed my energy towards a different spectrum.
But why? What was I honoring when I lay in bed, not moving, and stuck in my depression? I was honoring my pain. I was honoring my feelings, my fears, and I was honoring my long list of complaints.
In the worst of my times, I was alone, financially beaten, angry, aggressive, and misusing my energies and intention. I needed to shift. I needed to feel better but I didn’t know how. I needed to talk to someone but yet, at the same time; I didn’t want to talk to anyone because I didn’t like the sound of different opinions. I didn’t like the work I would need to do in order to follow through with the suggestions. Instead, I remained stuck and chose to use my motivation to remain as I was.
When I changed the direction of my motivation and when I began with the smallest incremental goal to simply get out of bed, things changed. Action, no matter how big or small is a decision that alters everything.
It all starts here . . .
So what did I decide to do?
I decided to use my energies in different ways. In either way, I still honored my feelings; however, I wanted to honor them in a new way. Rather than sit still and remain in my depression, or instead of remaining in my addiction of whichever form it showed itself at the time, and rather that remain in my rage or continue with the behaviors that did not lead up to the desirable outcomes I truly wanted; I made one decision, which led to another and then to another.
Instead of using my energy wastefully or honoring my sadness in a way which kept my outcomes bleak; I chose to honor my feelings and use my energy in a direction toward achieving attainable goals. I needed to be mindful that a goal is still a goal; in which case, I chose to be mindful of my focus.
Of course, someone would argue this is only because I found my motivation. But I will argue and explain that I always had motivation. I just chose to channel it differently.
The fact that we look for inspiration or we look for the simplest reason to go on and continue is proof enough that we still have motivation. Had it been so that we had no motivation, we wouldn’t be looking for any reasons whatsoever.
Look at a ruler for example. A ruler marks distance with incremental marks. I see my goals and life choices the very same way. And by doing this, I choose to nurture my goals by marking them along the way instead of honoring ideas that keep me stuck
I opened this message to you by telling writing that change comes in stages. And it does. It comes with a beginning, which is the most freeing experience if we choose to use it. And it comes with steps, which adversely can seem overwhelming when faced with a climb ahead; however, once the targets are achieved and once your incremental goals improve by numbers, the use of your energy and the feeling of empowerment behind the new directions of your motivation are truly incredible.
On a lonely afternoon in the month of June, 2006, I sat on the coach of a small apartment after a downfall in life. I was fresh into divorce, fresh into financial failure, and while sitting on the couch with a loaded shotgun about to be placed in my mouth; I was fortunate enough to have brief moment of clarity to act as intervention.
I cannot say that my math or my method works for everyone. I can say what I do is what worked for me. And who knows, maybe if you and I worked together, this can work for you as well
Are you ready?