Perhaps Amazon isn’t breathing down your neck (for now), but whether it’s coping with extra red tape or adapting to changing pandemic restrictions, the chances are there has been, or will be soon, some sort of challenge for your business to deal with. The times they are a-changing, and it can feel more difficult to tap into your internal motivation or mojo. But so much of what we feel is actually a decision.
This isn’t a new idea—you’ll find it in Greek and Roman philosophy—but it has been confirmed by our modern thinkers, with a great deal of the science around positive psychology and happiness having roots in ancient philosophy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is largely drawn from the teaching of Socrates, considers the origin of mental disorder, including a lack of motivation or absence of mojo, to lie not in brain chemistry but in our irrational beliefs. Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Men are not disturbed by things, but by their opinions about them.”
What do we do about missing mojo? Micro-moments. They offer a quick, practical way to change our opinions about things and, as a result, change how we feel, the outcome and even our life.
- Make the right choice
One of the founders of CBT, Albert Ellis created his ABC model which can be a useful guide to regaining control over thoughts and feelings so we can better access our best self.
A is for activating event.
B is our beliefs that interpret that event and construct meaning.
C is the consequence – especially the emotional consequence.
The next time something happens, or you feel stressed by some news from a client or a change in trading, or some other situation, take a moment to notice what you’ve made it mean. If a valued employee leaves to join a larger company in a more senior position, does that mean you are a bad boss, or does it mean that you a great trainer with an eye for talent? What we make something mean is not the only meaning on offer.
- Decide to be happy
In Michael Singer’s book The Untethered Soul, he asks a really great question. Do you want to be happy? Yes or No? If it’s Yes, then what do you need to change to be happy?
Motivation is tough to access when we are miserable so take a moment to really think about and answer that question. We all know people who seem to be most content when they are miserable, but if you are not one of them, decide to be happy and do what you need to do to make space for happiness. If you do, your motivation will also increase.
There is nothing more powerful than a changed mind.
- Aim for 1%
When we are in a slump or finding it hard to get motivated, the tendency is to pursue an all-or-nothing approach. This strategy is the worst thing we can do. Instead, start small and aim to be a little better tomorrow than you are today.
Take a moment to consider one thing you would like to change and focus on improving that by 1% every day. This approach is much more viable and is much more likely to produce the desired effect.
- What is it NOT?
Take a moment to turn your lack of motivation on its head. Instead of wondering what’s happened or why you suddenly feel so flat and unenthusiastic, go in the other direction. Make a list of the things that DO NOT motivate you.
Sometimes it helps to focus on what we know we don’t want and won’t do as a way to gain clarity about how to regain our mojo.
- Gratitude Ritual
One of the most powerful mind tricks you can employ is the gratitude ritual. The idea is to start and end your day with three things that you’re grateful for. Do you have a supportive board and/or investor(s)? Is your team understanding about tough decisions you have had to take? Do you have a lead for a new income source? Try to come up with different things rather than the same few each time. And really connect to each gratitude as an emotion. Remember, it’s not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.
Things are really challenging for a lot of businesses right now, but we all need to stay motivated and positive. Micro-moment suggestions focus on changing your meaning or choosing a better frame or belief through which to view the circumstances of your business. Making these little changes to your thinking can make a huge difference.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.