A month ago, I received an email titled “I am giving up” from a young woman. She was an aspiring life coach and had a huge money problem she was dealing with.
The young lady tried everything to get out of the situation and was even prepared to sleep in her car. There was one problem though: she had a daughter.
Things got so bad that she was even considering becoming a stripper to make some money fast but it was eating away at her on the inside because this very idea went against her ethics and values.
She felt she could never be a life coach again if she became a stripper, because the thought of helping other women after she had put her ass in lots of guys’ faces (this is what she actually said) was far too painful for her.
Becoming a stripper to fix her money problem would simultaneously kill her dream of becoming a life coach.
After she told me this story, she wanted my advice. ‘What should I do Tim?” she said to me in the email.
I really wanted to help her.
I gave her this advice even though it sounds brutal and somewhat harsh:
I told her “Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.”
Here’s how to eat garbage for a while so that you can rise up again:
Take a job you may not love.
Life is not all rainbows and butterflies (forgot who said that but it’s true). There will be times when your life goes off track and you could lose your job, all your money or even your partner. It’s messed up and we all go through it.
The answer is not to go against all of your values, so you feel even more worthless. The advice I gave though goes against every self-help book and motivational quote you’ve ever read including #LoveYourWork
If you fall down, sometimes you have to eat garbage for a while and if it’s a financial crisis, then that could mean doing a job or work you hate.
When my business dreams collapsed in 2011, I took a call center job that I hated with every bone in my body. I took the job because it rebuilt my confidence and taught me how to sell again.
I learned how the big bad corporate world worked and I became incredibly disciplined. I even learned how to love a woman again which sounds corny, but it’s true.
I ate the worst kind of garbage you could possibly eat and I tried to enjoy every moment of it. I then saved up enough money to attend a Tony Robbins event and that was the catalyst for my transformation.
Superman didn’t come and save me like you see in the movies. I had to save myself and that involved doing something I didn’t like. There are more lessons in the stuff you hate than you may realize. Embrace it.
Work on a side hustle at the same time.
The first point is horribly wrong unless you couple it with a side hustle. Eating garbage and having no way out of it is putting yourself through unnecessary torture that you may not recover from.
The rope marks could scar you for life without a side hustle.
My side hustle started out as personal development which eventually led me to begin blogging. Without this side hustle, the time where I had to eat garbage would have been unbearable.
Every day while I worked a job I hated, I looked forward to the small amounts of spare time I had so that I could work on my side hustle. In the first week of this difficult job, I outsold the other staff and hit 200% of my sales target.
“I achieved 200% of my sales target because I was determined to outperform so I could gain the privileges that came with it — more time and more freedom”
Instead of being micromanaged, I got the chance to watch Ted Talks with my people leader and strategize about the future of the business.
The side hustle then became much bigger later on and now it fuels everything I do. I’m obsessed with everyone finding a side hustle, so they have something to motivate them at least some of the time.
Eating garbage is where GRIT is built.
I never used to have an “anything is possible” mindset. The grit I have was built from having to eat garbage for a while.
“I knew that if I could make it through the muddy waters of not following my passion, I could do anything”
The harsh part of life taught me how to fend for myself and overcome my own demons, so I could rise up again out of the ashes. Grit does not come from your comfort zone.
Grit is found in the biggest and boldest of challenges where you have to use every ounce of your strength to come out alive.
The young woman that emailed me is working on developing the same personality trait. This work is what will make her an exceptional life coach.
You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Eating garbage is short term and if you have a financial problem or something that just won’t go away, you’ve got to tackle it head on. Complaining about your situation and telling yourself the odds are stacked against you won’t help.
When you see eating garbage as short term, you develop the mindset that will help you break through.
There’s no magic cure.
I told the young lady that emailed me to eat garbage for a while (I was nicer than that, don’t worry) and do what she has to do to earn some money (without breaking her values). This battle is short-term and that’s how we all have to see it.
Think about a situation that is worse than yours.
Speaking of eating garbage, one of my mentors reached out to me and told me they had been demoted. They no longer had people underneath them and they were forced into something they didn’t love as much.
I told my mentor the same thing: we all have to eat garbage sometimes.
That advice was then followed up with my story of going from business owner to a call center operator. I then told him the story of a mutual friend who had gone from a high flying job to a nobody that was ignored.
He put up with that for three years and then eventually someone saw what I saw in him, and he was given a very senior role in another company.
Your situation may suck big time but getting some perspective and hearing about others who’ve had to eat garbage is a refreshing way (refreshing and brown stuff in the same sentence?) to overcome the negativity you’ll experience .
Understand that no one stays at the top of anything forever.
You could be the richest person in the world today. Eventually, you’ll be knocked off the top spot.
You could be the fastest 100m sprinter in the world. Tomorrow, or eventually, someone will be faster than you. The simple fact is that no one is permanently at the top of their game.
“All of us will fall from grace at some point”
What I’ve learned is that falling from grace and eating garbage for a while is how you rise up again. You can’t rise up if you haven’t fallen down before.
The deep, dark problem you think you’re facing will pass- it always does eventually. This is not the time to make a dumb decision, ask for sympathy or complain.
It’s time to eat garbage for a while and put in the work. Earn the right to get what you want by starting again at the bottom. That’s how you rise up again.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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