I’m just about to head off to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. That’s something new that I’ve started recently. I was struggling to find the motivation to get myself to attend the class tonight. I had all kinds of excuses: it’s raining, it’s Friday night, I’m tired, it’s been a really busy week at work. But the real reason, what it boils down to if I’m completely honest with myself, is that it’s very uncomfortable.
Jiu-Jitsu is physically uncomfortable – I’m rolling with men who are younger, bigger and stronger than me – and they’re trying to choke me or put me in an arm lock! But actually, the physical discomfort is minor compared to the psychological discomfort. The real source of discomfort is that I’m new at Jiu-Jitsu and I suck! It’s uncomfortable doing things that you’re not very good at, it’s really challenging. So I’m way outside my comfort zone.
It’s challenging to get yourself to show up and do something that you know intellectually is good for you but which you find difficult. We want the results – for example, physical fitness, feeling in shape and the confidence of knowing how to defend yourself in any situation. And it is good fun when you actually get there. But it does suck being completely new because it feels overwhelming like you’re never going to get it. I think that’s the real reason why it was difficult to motivate myself.
Fortunately, I’ve got lots of techniques and strategies available to get myself motivated. I’ve studied and practiced self-motivation since I was about 16 years old. So the one I used tonight is from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who is a stoic philosopher.
Here’s how it works. You picture someone that you really admire or alternatively imagine your best self — you at your very best, the person you aspire to become. Then ask yourself the question, “what would the person you’re picturing do in this situation?” Would they, for example, skip class to watch TV and eat pizza? Or would they get themselves to follow through, to take action and to do the class which is tough but will be ultimately more rewarding? And when I asked myself this question, the answer was obvious. And I put on my judo Gi (uniform) got in the car to drive to Jiu-Jitsu.
So I’d be keen to hear your comments – feel free to post below. What do you find challenging to motivate yourself to do? How do you motivate yourself in those situations when you want the reward or the results but you’re finding it tough to summon the energy to take action?
By the way, if you would like to have a business coach, someone to help you stay focused on your goals, hold you accountable and support you to take the necessary action no matter how uncomfortable or what challenges may arise, then get in touch.