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How to Stay Motivated

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Many of you know that I ran the Philadelphia Broad Street 10-mile Run this weekend. I have never been a runner before…and still don’t think other runners would consider me one now…but it was an accomplishment that I am proud of and it taught me a lesson in staying motivated in reaching a goal.

Regardless of whether you are self-employed or you work for someone else, staying motivated can be a challenge. When we start something new, it is always exciting and when we think about how things will be down the road, we tend to dream toward the positive. Think about it…you start a new job and you fantasize about the huge bonus or taking over the department or making it onto Oprah’s couch if you’re an entrepreneur like me. (In the 10-mile run scenario above, I thought I would look like Elle McPherson by the time the run came around) The world is your oyster.

Then, reality sets in. Prospects don’t call back. The person who reports to you is insubordinate. Your boss is difficult. Your body doesn’t look like Elle McPherson’s. You know the deal. Suddenly frustration starts to creep in and you start to doubt yourself, your abilities and your dreams.

Without sounding like too much of a Pollyanna, I have truly found that the biggest breakthroughs happen in our darkest times. We learn our toughest lessons after being fired, or in a business that’s failing. Is it fun? Well, not really. But if you pay attention, you learn and you grow. Our object in life shouldn’t be to avoid failure because if we do, it means we’re not trying hard enough. Failure is not the end; it’s just a part of the trip. You pick up, make adjustments and you move on.

So how do you stay motivated during trying times? How do you move forward when you want to quit or just curl up in a ball and sleep? I advise my clients to use these tactics:

1.Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and showing up. Continue to do one thing each day that moves you forward. If you can’t get on the treadmill for 45-minutes, get on for 10. If you can’t make 5 sales calls, make 1.

2.Take real time away, whether you have an hour, a week or a month. Get away from the source of your frustration and focus on something else. You will truly come back to things refreshed.

3.If there’s something you’ve been dreading or avoiding, get out there and do it or at least part of it. You know you’re living it in your head and beating yourself up over it anyway. That is worse and more painful than actually doing what you’ve been avoiding. Take one step forward and you may be surprised that you get re-energized.

For 18 years Karyn Pless built her career in marketing, working her way up the corporate ladder to Vice President of Marketing of Zany Brainy while also juggling two children and a husband. After turning to a personal coach herself to reduce the chaos in her life, Karyn decided to become trained and certified as a professional coach and started a company called Shine Personal Coaching in 2004 to help business leaders who are also mothers balance those competing roles.

In January of 2006, Shine Personal Coaching officially transitioned to Beyond Balance, Work Life Integration Strategies for Professionals in response to client requests for expanded offerings including corporate training, seminars and keynotes in addition to the executive coaching she was already providing

Visit Karyn’s website, http://www.worklifeexpert to purchase her publications and subscribe to her free ezine.


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  • Posted On December 21, 2006
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