5 Ways to Kick Start Motivation

How many days do you finish, only to wonder why you took some actions and not others?

Perhaps your day was not as productive because of distractions or last minute “emergencies.” Maybe you accomplished alot but hardly any of those accomplishments were on your to do list.

Add reading to your task list

What motivated you to be less productive or to avoid the tasks you knew you should complete? Continue reading

What Else Can Poison Ivy Teach Us?

Last year I discovered poison ivy.

Up until a friend showed me what it was, I thought I was having some strange reaction to insects.

Apparently I have a ‘big’ reaction. Both years it was three weeks of itching and six weeks with a variety of creams. When I still thought it was bug bites, I was thinking I’d have to stay indoors all spring and summer – a very depressing thought.

So when I learned it was a reaction to a stationary plant (mostly stationary – they crawl up trees!) I felt relief.

And when my friend pointed out the offending plant that surrounded a tree in our front yard – in a small garden that I hadn’t bothered to transform from the wilderness – I jumped (carefully!) right in and dug up the vines, weeds and undergrowth. Then I raced to the shower and dumped “Tecnu” all over my skin. This is the liquid soap that cleans away the poison ivy oils.

I only developed one tiny bump. I was happy.

That year I learned to stay away from the three-leafed plant-with-the-slightly-asymmetrical leaves. Each time I saw them on a walk, I may as well have been hissing at them – evil things were they.

But what else did my encounters with poison ivy teach me?

1. Talk to a doctor, a neighbor or anyone who can suggest a solution to the strange transformation your body is undergoing. This applies to blisters, sudden changes in energy, or unexplained aches and pains. Don’t stay silent – speak up!

2. Don’t assume! While I can talk at length about what this does in business, for this purpose I mean:  When I first heard about poison ivy, I assumed it always grew in the woods… across the street. I assumed my yard was free of it.

Nope.

3. Ask Questions! 

4. Search for alternatives. I know one person who gets antibiotics every time they get a poison ivy reaction.

Me? I avoid antibiotics unless necessary. For poison ivy use Tecnu. And this year I discovered something new. The product line of my new biz: Rodan + Fields, has a cream called Soothe Sensitive Skin Treatment. With this, my three weeks of blisters and itchiness was reduced to 1 DAY. (Yes, shameless product pitch, but I still can’t believe how well it worked!)

Poison ivy – part of my “new” (three years) town, and I’m happy I know what to do about it!

What affects you in your environment? What questions can you ask? What changes can you make?

Use Your Passion to Nurture Other Ones

Do you ever find yourself in a slump, lacking enthusiasm for your job, your workouts or your family obligations?

Strawberry passion

If you are like me, you may find yourself with a to do list that grows. Unless it has a deadline, it doesn’t get done. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is frustrating.

Kick starting motivation can be difficult.

One way to do this is to invest time in a completely different passion. Ignore your to-do list for a day or two and focus on something you love to do.

My passion pick? Gardening.

The past few weeks have been quite warm and mostly sunny. Paul redid the deck, and I got into our garden.

This year was a different type of gardening. The first two springs in our house I reshaped the front garden, discovered what poison ivy was, weeded and divided plants.

This spring I felt like the garden would let me be more creative. The weeding wasn’t as cumbersome. Moving plants was a choice, not a necessity. Even the fruit and veggie garden was more choice. The 3rd-year strawberries are lush and finally producing fruit, and the raspberries are under control. I added things we eat, and not just things that are easy to grow: broccoli, lettuce, tomato and basil, and I just planted spaghetti squash, cucumber, cantaloupe and watermelon.

It is inspiring to see plants flourish with minimal effort. It feels like every small step I take produces a great result.

And that is how my passion pick motivates me to get back to my to-do list.

Expend energy to get more energy

When I work hard in the garden, sweating and feeling sore muscles at the end of the day (I didn’t yet mention the 9 loads of mulch I spread throughout the yard), I have more energy to do other things.

Take action on your passion to create more free time

By spending two or three hours immersed in an activity where results come from something you love to do, you free your mind from the bind of that list. It creates a psychological freedom to sit and drink iced tea (or a martini) on the new deck.

Focus in one area creates focus in another

When I was pregnant and all my thoughts and feelings were focused on the tiny human growing inside me, I wanted to give birth to new surroundings too. One focus expanded to other areas – painting, sorting, cleaning.

Likewise with gardening. Intense work to create beautiful landscape expanded my focus. I focused on my eating and exercise – “weeding” my body, in a way, from winter habits. I now spend focused time each week writing again and expanding my business.

Take your mind off problems – to see solutions

When I concentrated on activities I enjoyed, I suddenly saw what I wasn’t doing right. I got a business coach to help me maintain my focus and to create some accountability while I kick-started my motivation again. (Pooja targets just what I need, and she has laser listening and feedback skills, in case you are looking for a good coach.)

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Sometimes we have so many tasks to complete that we can’t possibly see a way past it. If someone suggests you do just one more thing, you may feel overwhelmed. However, if that suggestion is an activity that your heart calls you to do, carve out a few hours to do it.

If you enjoy pottery painting but haven’t done it in a while, go be creative! Paint! If you have always wanted to try zumba, get on it! If woodworking or tennis used to be your thing, jump right in.

Your passion will reward you with clarity, focus and energy.

What do you love to do that you haven’t “had time” to do for a while? Other than your to-do list, what is stopping you?

Let me know how it goes – I’d love to share in your stumbles and successes.

Commit to Your Kids – for the Ultimate Adrenaline Rush

My heart raced, my fists clenched, my voice cracked.

It was an adrenaline rush.

The last two weeks have been the most tense, most entertaining soccer ever. My 8 1/2 year old son was showing skills he didn’t have a few weeks before, and his whole team seemed to be doing the same.They are half the size of adults (it seems) and yet the kick backs, side moves, and strong  punts mirror professional soccer (at least it feels that way).

And as Ryan deeks out a defender, my feet leap around as if I was the one with the ball. I try to keep them still, but they are as enthusiastic as my voice.

I actually checked to make sure I wasn’t breaking any unwritten “yelling too loud” rule. I was told, “stay positive and you’ll be fine.” Oh yeah, I’m positive. Positive Ryan is going to be the best soccer player ever! (Along with the rest of his gelling team, of course.) I feel like I’m channeling my inner Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side, only she wasn’t so noisy.

But this is a new experience for me. How proud I feel, how excited for my son and his team, how happy to focus solely on the game.

As parents, we enjoy watching our children’s sports. Sensing their hard work, their accomplishments, and their personal pride are all part of the privilege of being a parent. We know this is part of our children’s life and we will support our children as fully as we can.

But how does this extend to our personal involvement? How does this become not just a sport but a life event? These are my thoughts.

1. The soccer field (or name your child’s sport) is a great place to be fully present. Being in the ‘now,’ not thinking of what must get done today, is a fulfilling experience.

2. Enthusiasm is nothing to shy away from. Be more enthusiastic – it is contagious, and we all have more fun.

3. Feel pride in your child’s accomplishments, and spread that pride to the rest of the team or community. There can never be too much of feeling good.

4. Double-check that these feelings are authentic. If pride comes from a place of love and happiness within you, it feels authentic and flows well with the group. If pride comes from ego, check it at the door. This type of pride feels incongruent to others and doesn’t sit right. When enthusiasm comes from a place of joy, it feels full of happiness. When it is ego-based, it seems over the top, unnecessary.

Throughout life we enjoy, we learn, we contribute and we enjoy some more. If we’re lucky we also feel that bit of adrenaline from something special.

Forget skydiving or running.  Once a week this is my new adrenaline rush.

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