It’s been over a week since I was furloughed due to Coronavirus. The first few days were easier than I expected. I had a plan for each day, and I was eager to keep busy. Flash forward a few days, and it’s not as easy. Planning and keeping a routine has helped, but the burden of being out of work coupled with the uncertainty of the future has begun to feel stifling. My motivation is waning.
Change is hard. No matter who you are or what the change is, change is difficult. From a change in daily commute due to an accident or construction to an overwhelming change like moving (or a pandemic), we all cope with change differently. My coping mechanism has always been to rely on routine and structure (Hello, OCD!!!). Unfortunately, when a change is so disruptive that it forces my routine to change, I become almost paralyzed. I have learned to give myself up to my plan. Today, motivation was low, but my plan is to write in my blog everyday. Ta-da, welcome to today’s topic on motivation! It took me twice as long to write this as any other entry to date, but I worked the plan. I tackled the change. And, as an added bonus, I felt productive doing so. Change forced me to take action on the plan I had developed earlier.
A body in motion stays in motion. Much like physics, productivity breeds motivation. Once you get started on something, it is difficult to stop. The simple action of getting up and walking the dog becomes a habit, and that habit becomes an intrinsic motivation – you simply MUST do it. You feel good when it’s done. The simple act propelled you to be productive. Motivation isn’t always jumping for joy, sometimes it is a simple nudge. That simple nudge to do the things that are the right thing to do. You don’t necessarily WANT to walk your dog in the rain, but you have the motivation to do it because the consequences of not doing it are far worse.
Consequences are strong motivators. The consequence of not walking your dog gives you the motivation to get up even in the rain. What about the consequence of not being able to pay your bills this month? The motivation to look for work to be able to support you and your family becomes overwhelming. Desperation creeps in. This desperation can lead to unintended consequences, which then drives further desperation. The abyss of chasing a paycheck has started. Your motivation to go to work becomes an obligation to show up rather than a desire to do a good job. This is no longer motivation, this is evading consequence, and it was born from desperation. You are motivated by fear of loss rather than the desire for gain.
Fear is overcome by faith. I am a Christian woman with Christian values who is not ashamed to say that my faith has been tested these past few weeks. While I know there is a bigger plan in motion, the fear and uncertainty has me craving answers. But, something profound happens to me when I pray for help; I am reminded of how blessed and thankful I am for what I do have in my life. My faith in God eases my fears by showing me the gifts I have already received – an amazing husband that provides financial stability, an independent daughter who has excelled at virtual learning, the opportunity to pursue a different path in this blog, the support of colleagues that have written recommendations, and a sense of well being despite the chaos around me. My faith has given me motivation in a time of fear. My faith shows me that even though I cannot see it, a light (that beacon) is showing me the way forward.
Even if you are not Christian or are an atheist, believing in something bigger than ourselves provides a calm in the storm so that true motivation can flourish. Motivation drives us to be better than we were the day before, to be stronger than we thought we could be in a time of change. It points us to a higher purpose. Finding motivation in a time of chaos is really about finding our true identity; the person we were meant to be. Motivation is the beacon that we look for to guide us through the tough times. No time in history has been like the one we are in right now. Your personal motivation will keep you moving in the right direction. Don’t allow fear to be your motivation, let your motivation come from within and drive you forward.