In my mind, my 2015 didn’t start until my holiday was over. Partly because I thought there was no point in launching myself into the new goals only to disappear weeks later and partly because I just didn’t have any motivation to do so.
This week, it was my first week back. My ‘first week’ of 2015. I thought I had two choices upon returning — cry about being home or use my new post-holiday motivation to throw myself into everything I hope to achieve this year. In actual fact, I think I fell somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t upset about being home (that hit later in the week), but I definitely wasn’t embracing the love I know I have for my job and the work that I do. That renewed post-holiday motivation I had hoped for? It was no where to be seen.
It took a couple of days wondering if something had gone fundamentally wrong, a little bit of self-help Googling and a lot of honesty until I ‘found’ that motivation I had hoped for. I had an epiphany midweek and I realised that motivation is not given to you and it’s not something that can be renewed with a few weeks away. It can’t be renewed because your motivation is always there. It sits inside of you and it’s always on full charge. It just has one or more obstacles to pass before it reaches the surface. You determine if it passes those obstacles, how well it passes those obstacles and how strong it is when it finally reaches the surface. It’s not something bestowed on you by ‘fate’. Motivation is completely and utterly 100% your choice. It is mind-made.
I took some time to figure out what my obstacle was. Figuring out that my obstacle was ‘fear’ was the easy bit, and while it didn’t take me long, being brutally honest with myself and determining what exactly I was afraid of was the hard bit. My fear?
Not being good at what I’m supposed to be good at.
You see, most times, when I am about to start working on something I think about the end result. Self-confidence has never been my strong point and most of the time I beat myself into thinking what I’m creating is terrible. In the early stages of a project I think, “what I’m creating is no where near as good as what XYZ could do” and it continues for the duration of the project. With these fears acting as sturdy obstacles, no wonder the motivation within me could not find its way to the surface. No wonder I always lacked the motivation to just start no matter what the situation was, no matter what the time was and no matter if I was going on holiday in the next few weeks or not.
During the days that followed, I replaced every negative thought with a positive one to the point where I was disturbing myself with my own no-holds faux-cockiness. I didn’t care though, it worked and it’s continuing to work. I’m finding myself enthusiastic about everything I’m working on, I feel good about the work I’m doing, I’m making decisions faster and thus I’m working faster. I’m finding myself feeling much more open as a new idea flies into my head each day and instead of thinking about the idea’s faults, I’m thinking about its possibilites. I’m finding myself feeling motivated.
Back in 2013, while I was at Semi-Permanent, on the other side of the country, alone, trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, I received a message from the holiest of gods — the toilet cubicle gods. During a slight anxiety attack, on the wall of a toilet cubicle situated in a crowded bar full of young, intimidatingly stylish and very successful creatives, was scrawled:
“Be brave, dickhead”.
I am pretty thankful for that poetic cubicle scribbler because after that, I was brave and that night I ended up having a great night with a couple of young, intimidatingly stylish and successful creatives I was previously terrified of. Sadly, the bravery must have worn off a little while after that night. Now that I’ve found it again I’m determined not to let it wear off because this time, I know what it costs.
Motivation is a state of mind. You either allow it to rise to the surface or stifle it by not facing the obstacles in its way. Find out your obstacle, be honest with yourself and let your motivation breathe. It will make for a much better state of mind, and much better work. Be brave, dickhead.