There are two levels of self-motivation: firstly there is the day to day, “task level motivation” of achieving routine activities, and then there is the “big picture level motivation” that is required to get you through situations of significant imposed change that have large and perhaps dramatic impacts on your life.
Our focus here is on the self-motivation that is needed to deal with the “big picture” stuff.
I am terrified that I will lose it all…
Your company is downsizing and you are worried that this might include you…
Your organisation is restructuring, and you are facing major unwelcome changes in your working life…
You are experiencing severe financial pressure…
You run your own business and are owed a significant amount of money by a major customer or client – and you have just heard that they have gone bust…
You know what I am talking about – you may be experiencing this right now.
In all these types of stressful situations sustaining self-motivation can be extremely difficult. In my experience, the tendency is to attempt some form of action – to DO something – anything.
This is invariably accompanied with and followed by lots of thinking – the kind of thinking that we find hard to stop – the kind of thinking that keeps us awake at night – the kind of thinking that goes round and round in circles – the kind of thinking that starts to take over and dominate our minds.
Underneath all this thinking is a lot of emotion – invariably negative, anxious, fearful feelings – feelings of stress – feelings of overwhelm.
The compulsive need to “do” something
And then the urge, the need, the compulsion to “do something” arises again.
But actually there is not much if anything we can do – because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the whole situation, there are so many unknowns, and we have no way of figuring out how this thing is going to play itself out.
Then comes the painful realisation that we are not in control – that unwelcome change is being imposed upon us.
As this realisation sinks in it is usually accompanied by another round of frantic thinking accompanied by more urgent and insistent feelings of anxiety and insecurity.
How do we motivate ourselves when we do not know what to do?
Here are 4 key steps in to how allow our self-motivation to survive imposed change and for it to emerge renewed and transformed.
 Choosing our response to imposed change. It all comes down to these 3 simple choices:
– We can resist it, and increase our suffering
– We can adapt to it, and develop new responses
– We can accept it
 Dealing with our thoughts
The state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your experience of life, and very specifically on your capacity for managing personal change.
– We need to learn how to change the way we think so that we can maximise our capacity to think in the most constructive and positive way.
– We need to learn how to NOT think – that is to STOP thinking – and to be able to do so at will.
 Understanding the stages of the transition we are moving through
It is extremely helpful to realise the clearly defined stages that we will move through emotionally and psychologically as we adjust internally to the external change that is being imposed upon us.
– The letting go of “how things were” and “what was” – this really is all about practising deep acceptance
– The neutral zone (aka “The Dark Night Of The Soul”) – where nothing seems to make much sense and there is so much unknown and we just blindly feel our way forward as key internal psychological realignments take place within us – and we really need to accept the deep confusion and uncertainty that accompanies this
– The new horizon – where we develop fresh perceptions of our self – maybe a new identity, and the is accompanied by a feeling of new and increased energy, a new sense of purpose and the experience of a powerful self motivation that make the change begin to work
 Understanding the true nature and purpose of our struggles and suffering
Suffering and struggle are inbuilt into the way the universe runs.
However, through deep acceptance of what is being imposed upon us and by developing a quiet mind and thus allowing clarity to emerge we will – if we allow it – eventually and paradoxically find that the true nature and purpose of our struggles and suffering is constructive and transformative, it unmasks the true nature of “who we really are and why we are here” and it reveals a path to real and permanent personal change and transformation.