The choice to give up always sits just on the horizon.
Beckoning to you.
It feels close enough to reach, but far enough that getting there would certainly be a sacrifice. The feeling of wanting to give up is not new to me — nor is it in my distant past. It’s a struggle, and I still have those moments.
There is no magical milestone to define when the feeling disappears. For me and most people I know, it’s always there. Eventually, the feeling gets weaker and quieter, but like imposter syndrome, it doesn’t go away.
Still, it’s important to learn how to deal with that overwhelming urge to let all your hard work go and start over; somewhere else, on something else.
I’ll share the most important lessons I’ve learned that have kept my head in the game and put everything back in perspective for me.
If Research Overcomes You, Then Wing It
Research is a dangerous, dirty little task. In the name of research, it’s far too easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of comparisons.
Studying other people’s success is inspiring —until it’s just not.
Many times, I’ve gone off to do research on something I’ve never done before, only to be overwhelmed by how well everyone else managed to pull it off. Has this ever happened to you?
The whole point of research is to feel more prepared. But when you put yourself side by side with people who have a ton of experience, it can start to feel like you pale in comparison.
If I don’t stop immediately, I begin second-guessing my own skill set. There’s a very thin line between motivated and discouraged. With practice, I’ve learned to be aware of signs that I’m toeing that line. Sometimes, it means stopping my research exactly where it is and just giving it a go on my own. Many times, I end up surprising myself. I might come up with a new way to do something that’s always been done one way. Maybe my creativity soars and I’m filled with a surge of confidence in my unique approach.
Other times, I fail horribly at whatever I was trying to do.
I win anyway.
With every failure, there are lessons to be learned. We don’t grow from our successes and failures alone. Our growth comes from the journey we took getting there.
Sometimes you have to trust yourself. Take a leap with both feet and trust that wherever you land, it will still work out in your favor. Watching other people will never get you to where you want to be. You have to go out there and take a chance on yourself. Start by focusing on one goal at a time.
Regardless of what the outcome might be, it can’t be any worse than giving up without ever finding out how well you flourish under pressure.
Surround Yourself With Your Vision
Are you clear about where you want to be? My working space is sacred, and yours should be too. Our minds are trained to retain information multi-dimensionally. We subconsciously pick up on visual, auditory and sensory cues.
If you want to stay motivated and determined to meet your goals, then planting success indicators around you will help you get there. I have white boards placed all throughout my house; from my bedroom to the kitchen and a few places in between.
Sometimes the white board will have a single word on it, other times it’s a jumble of words that altogether describe where I am in life at the moment and where I’m going.
On other boards, I use the magnetic buttons to attach pictures or achievements. These are the exact boards. They are my go-to because they’re lightweight and come with everything already packaged (plus a tray to store it all).
In the morning, my alarm clock is pre-programmed to wake me with words of encouragement. There are many apps for this, check the app store. I also have magazines spread out in my living room that matches the quality of life I aim for.
Everything that’s customizable in my house gets changed out every other week (even the desktop wallpaper on my computer). It serves as a reminder to never become stagnant and to always be focused on progression. How much has your environment changed in the past few months? It’s easy to get into a funk when it feels like nothing is changing. By switching things up, your brain becomes trained to keep pushing you out of your comfort zone.
Another way to motivate yourself to keep going is by visiting other neighborhoods.
I absolutely love coffee shops. (No matter how distracting they are.)
I don’t always get as much work done there as I’d like to, but I love people watching. Everyone has their own unique story that influences what they wear, how they walk, and the types of conversations they have. Coffee shops serve as the window into the lives of people who aren’t in your inner circle.
No one shows up at the coffee shop with pretenses. There’s no one to impress. People just want their java fix before they put on their game face for the day. Instead of going to Starbucks, I like popping in at small, local coffee shops on other sides of town. In every neighborhood, the energy is different and I get to bring that home.
If you want a burst of inspiration, go to a coffee shop on the other side of town.
Time to Do Something Else
I’m always telling you guys that the goal of an entrepreneurial life is dong exactly what you love to do, every day. At first, it’s great — pouring yourself into your hobby and centering your lifestyle around it. At some point, burnout is inevitable. Fun transforms into work. The next thing you know, you’re avoiding the one thing you love the most. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to do it anymore, it just means you’re way too overstimulated.
When your hobby becomes your career, it’s time to pick up another hobby.
Everyone needs a safe place to escape. A new hobby allows you to explore your interests without the pressure of money and success. Try picking up a healthy pastime you can do on the side just to relax and unwind.
You can knit, learn to play an instrument, read, cook, start a collection of items, hike, fish, or get involved with a sport. My best friend colors in a coloring book like a five-year-old… and even though I find it hilarious, it works for her!
As a matter of fact, I plan on surprising her with this bossed up coloring book. Mainly because I love Olori Swank, but also because I feel like these are some pretty stimulating images for the ambitious-minded.
Create a Morning Ritual That Works For You
One of my absolute favorite blogs is the Better Mornings section of Five O’ Clock, A Harry’s Magazine. It details the morning rituals of everyday people on a mission to make the most of their day. They emphasize the importance of a morning routine and how it jump starts a productive day. You should really take a moment to head over there and get ideas for your own morning routine.
A ritualistic morning routine makes all the difference in how well energized you are to take on the rest of the day. It gets you in the right head space to stay focused and keep going. I have a few non-negotiables in the morning:
- Make my bed
- Read at least one chapter
- Attempt meditation (some mornings aren’t as successful, but it’s important I try)
- Music while I shower
My morning ritual can use a little tightening, but these are tasks I know I must do if I have any hopes of having a successful, driven day. A proper morning ritual takes practice and concentrated effort until it becomes a habit for you. That means doing it,
even especially on the mornings when you really don’t want to.
(Pin this image so you can always find your way back!)
Giving up isn’t taking the easy way out. If you want to the simple choice, then don’t stop. It’s easier to keep going and give your efforts the opportunity to eventually mean something. Great people do things long before they’re ready.
Don’t let fear make decisions for you.
You might not see the results that you want right now, but take comfort in the fact that it’s impossible to keep hacking away at a tree and it never falls. Your goals will come to pass, it isn’t a matter of “if,” but a matter of when.
Our biggest challenges are the mental obstacles we keep creating for ourselves. Once you learn to conquer yourself, you can conquer the world.
Which of these strategies do you think will work for you?