Businesses, regardless of their shape or shade, are always facing challenges, but for many leaders of small and medium size enterprises, the challenges of the last twelve months have been on steroids. It can feel that your internal motivation or mojo has been furloughed. But so much of what we feel is actually a decision.
This is an idea that goes back to Greek and Roman philosophy, and a great deal of the science around positive psychology and happiness has roots in ancient philosophy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is largely drawn from the teaching of Socrates, and it considers the origin of mental disorder, including a lack of motivation or absence of mojo, to lie not in brain chemistry but in our irrational beliefs. Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Men are not disturbed by things, but by their opinions about them.”
What can you do if your mojo is a little harder to access than it used to be? Micro-moments. They offer a quick, practical way to change our opinions about things and, as a result, the outcome.
One of the founders of CBT, Albert Ellis created his ABC model which can be a useful guide to regaining control over thoughts and feelings so we can better access our best self.
A is for activating event.
B is our beliefs that interpret that event and construct meaning.
C is the consequence – especially the emotional consequence.
The next time something happens, or you feel stressed by some news from a client or a change in trading, or some other situation, take a moment to notice what you’ve made it mean. If you are delegating work, does that mean that you are lazy, or does it mean that you are smart enough to free yourself to build the business? What we make something mean is not the only meaning on offer
2. Aim for 1%
When we are in a slump or finding it hard to get motivated, the tendency is to pursue an all-or-nothing approach. Throwing everything at the wall in the hope that everything sticks is not a smart strategy. You wouldn’t begin training for a marathon by running a marathon. You would start small and build.
Take a moment to consider one thing you would like to change and focus on improving that by 1% every day. This approach is much more viable and is much more likely to produce the desired effect.
3. Decide to be Happy
In Michael Singer’s book The Untethered Soul, he asks: Do you want to be happy? Yes or No? If it’s Yes, then what do you need to change to be happy?
Motivation is tough to access when we are miserable. Unless of course you are one of those individuals for whom misery is their blue blanket. But if you are not one of them, decide to be happy and do what you need to do to make space for happiness. If you do, your motivation will also increase.
There is nothing more powerful than a changed mind.
4. What is it NOT?
Take a moment to turn your lack of motivation on its head. Instead of wondering what’s happened or why you suddenly feel so flat and unenthusiastic, go in the other direction. Make a list of the things that DO NOT motivate you.
Sometimes it helps to focus on what we know we don’t want and won’t do as a way to gain clarity about how to regain our mojo.
5. Gratitude Ritual
One of the most powerful mind tricks you can employ is the gratitude ritual. The idea is to start and end your day with three things that you’re grateful for. Do you have a supportive partner or spouse? Is your team a good balance of experience and youthful enthusiasm? Are your suppliers easy to deal with? Try to come up with different things rather than the same few each time. And don’t make it merely a list. Properly connect to each gratitude as an emotion—it is not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.
These ‘micro-moment’ suggestions are focused on changing your meaning or choosing a better frame or belief through which to view the circumstances of your business. Making these little changes to your thinking can make a huge difference and go a long way to helping you stay motivated and positive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.