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Motivation

5 Steps To Stay Motivated In Times Of Uncertainty

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staying motivated in times of uncertainty

It was a Saturday morning, sunny and relatively warm even though it was the middle of winter. Driving toward the highway, I reminded myself to rehearse my elevator pitch a few more times before that morning’s networking meeting.

But before I could rehearse my pitch, I spotted a “Going-Out-of-Business Sale” sign at one of my favorite shops. I sighed. Another business who had failed! I thought of the somber statistics I had read on several Internet sites: on average, 8 out of 10 businesses are doomed to fail. A chill settled in my gut.

What if my business became one of the losers? What I failed? And if I had such a high chance of failing, was it even worth it to spend my Saturday at a networking meeting? Why bother? That’s when I realized that the uncertainty of my future was putting my motivation—and confidence—at risk.

If you feel that your uncertain future might be hurting your motivation, you might benefit from these 5 steps:

1. Create a list of positive and negative scenarios

I wrote 5 possible scenarios, ranked from “Life Is Perfect” to “What a Nightmare!” My immediate reaction to the worst-case scenario was that the chances of it happening were ridiculously low, which made me feel safer.

You, too, might realize that a disaster scenario, while probable, is not the most likely to materialize. This encouraging realization will allow you to keep going with a much more positive mindset.

See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” – Dalai Lama

2. Write the possible consequences of each scenario

Listing all possible scenarios isn’t enough. I expanded my list by imagining what would happen if each of the 5 possible scenarios came true. This objective assessment was a powerful way to pinpoint potential obstacles to overcome in case of a least-desirable scenario. It was also a gauge of the delightful results I would realize if things went according to plan.

Start with the worst possible scenario and work your way up to the best. If you end this exercise by imagining the wonderful life that awaits you if you’re successful, you’ll spark positive momentum to skyrocket your motivation.

 

3. Devise a plan to avoid possible problems

Lack of foresight is one of the most common precursors of failure. Knowing this, I listed all the action steps I need to take to avoid the 2 worst case scenarios. Because I knew the problems that could potentially arise, I was in a great position to prepare for these challenges and avoid them altogether.

It’s your turn to be proactive. Create a comprehensive list of action steps you will follow to avoid possible issues in the future, and leave time in your schedule to execute these action steps. Seek outside help if you need it.

Being prepared will not only minimize your chances of failure, but will motivate you to keep working hard to achieve what you desire.

 

4. Create a worst-case scenario strategy

Having an exit strategy is a key to succeed in business—and in life. I asked myself, “What will I do if the worst happens?” I created a detailed “Plan B” that would also allow me to use my gifts and live my passion.

What would you do if things went wrong? Don’t focus on the unwanted results. Instead, place your attention of alternatives that would, in the end, also lead to fulfillment and satisfaction. Keep the end goal in mind but also keep an open mind.

This is a powerful exercise that will temper your feeling of uncertainty. You will feel safe and encouraged. You’ll know that a deviation from your original plan is not a failure. Instead, it’s an opportunity to explore a whole new set of possibilities.

 

5. List the times things worked out exactly the way you wanted them

To no avail, I tried to find a time in my life when my future was 100% predictable. That’s when it hit me. Life is never certain, and that’s what makes it exciting!

Remember that you have learned and grown as a person because of life’s endless surprises. Some of those surprises will be pleasant, and some will not. But in the end, you are who you are today as a result of your life experiences.

In a few words, certainty is an illusion. This is a profound realization that will help you look at the future without fear.

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill 

Follow the 5 steps above to keep your motivation reserves healthy and plentiful, and continue taking daily, focused steps to design a successful and fulfilling life!

How do you stay motivated in times of uncertainty? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Cloris Kylie, Marketing MBA, helps coaches, consultants, and service-based professionals to attract the right clients so that they skyrocket their impact and revenue. A sought-after speaker, trainer, and author, Cloris has been featured on various television and radio shows, including the #1 podcast for entrepreneurs, "Entrepreneur On Fire." Cloris's articles have been published on websites with millions of followers. Visit her website here https://www.cloriskylie.com and get her free eBook to build authority and grow your audience here: https://myplatform.info/free-pdf-ebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Jay

    Jan 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Excellent article. I loved phrases like Certainty is an illusion. Worst-case scenario action steps. This piece of advice will be very useful to every entrepreneur.

  2. LOURDES CAIBE

    Mar 17, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Cloris, your articles are excellent .You are very smart. I enjoy your comments about Donald Trump are great. Being a successful person, like you has an important message: Never stop
    Congratulation

  3. Pamina Mullins

    Mar 17, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Very sound advice Cloris! As both you and Bertie’s comment point out – much of the pain of “failure” is due to the shock of unanticipated developments. With a plan like you’ve described here, you’ve considered the best and worst case scenarios and the implications, so are prepared for the unexpected.

  4. leadership skills

    Mar 17, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Hi, true indeed that lessons learned in life made us who we are today. Failure, bad experiences, doubts, disappointments comes in our life but learning to deal with them through listing the positive and negative aspects would help us a lot. Thanks for sharing a very motivating post.

  5. Bertie

    Mar 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I was particularly touched by #5. In fact, I remember there were times where I *thought* my future was safe and predictable. Working for a solid company, with a good salary and a probable promotion in sight. But some unanticipated events turned everything upside down. So I learned that even when you feel safe and comfortable (or perhaps, specially in that case) you shouldn’t think that bliss will last forever. There is no other way than embracing uncertainity in life, and making the most of it.

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Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.

Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.

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Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.

2. Do something that you love

When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all? 

Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

3. Don’t overcomplicate it

Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.  

4. Get up and get moving

This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.

5. Reset your focus

It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do. 

One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.

6. Listen to your favorite music

Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.

7. Expand your knowledge

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“Work like there is someone working twenty four hours a day to take it away from you.” – Mark Cuban

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