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Last week, I talked about having faith. Faith is a great starting place, but faith needs to be active. Motivating faith properly makes it active. What gives you the motivation to go that extra mile, spend that extra ten minutes at work, edit those extra few lines, design that awesome craft for your kids to complete? What drives you to wake up and give it your all every day?
Understanding what motivates is incredibly important to giving it our all. Are we working for a paycheck or are we trying to feed our family? The result may be the same, money in the bank, but that driving factor is radically different. One speaks to a more primal need to care for our loved ones. The other speaks to just showing up either because you have nothing better to do or because you have to show up.
I view my writing as a small business to keep it grounded. I often ask myself what is going to push me to wake up a half-hour earlier. Why I am doing this or that is incredibly important because my small business is my side gig. I don’t have the luxury of wasting time. Everything takes a priority and a purpose.
Two motivating factors
There are two things, though, that really motivates me to give it my all even when I feel terrible, exhausted, angry or even happy but unwilling to work. Those two things are deep emotions. I would imagine that emotions play a large part in what motivates you too. If it weren’t for emotions, we would check out when it was logical to do so and not actually get that extra little bit done. Without emotional investment, the law of diminishing returns would govern our every action. Fortunately, that law does not govern us. We slam dunk that law in the dumpster at midnight and 5 am when we are still working. Emotions are what get us there. For me, my two emotions are peace and fear.
Right now my greatest fear is the best motivating factor to get me up in the morning. First, you need to remember that this fear is not there to paralyze you. Leverage it to wake you up and get going, the opposite of paralyzing. Fear is a powerful tool when we use it correctly. Even the Bible says that the path to righteousness begins with Fearing the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10)
My greatest fear is that my son will be ashamed of his father. I am incredibly proud of my father. I take joy and security from boasting of his accomplishments. It helps me in a variety of ways, but most importantly it helps me understand legacy. Legacy and its friend remembrance are key pillars of my faith. I am able to remember all that God has done for me because I remember all that my dad has done for me. My pride in my earthly father translates directly to my pride in my Heavenly Father.
The motivating factor to schedule that extra post, that extra edit, that 5 AM alarm instead of the 5:30 alarm is that I want my son to be able to say that his dad gave his all. His dad worked hard and taught him more than he could imagine. His dad loved him and protected him and spent his life providing for him. When I reflect on my life, I am not very proud of myself. That has to change for my son. I have to be proud of my accomplishments so that my son can be proud of my accomplishments.
To not work hard enough to earn my son’s pride teaches him so many negative things. I have to do better. That fear of hurting his spiritual foundation motivates me every time I just want to throw in the towel and be done with something. I leverage that fear all the time just to keep myself in line and on track.
Do you ever leverage your fears in the same way? Or, do you find them paralyzing? I encourage you to take those paralyzing fears and instead use them to your advantage to take a little risk and see how it works out.
I love writing. I have not worked this hard at anything in a really long time, if ever. My nights, my mornings, and my nap-times are spent thinking about or working on writing. I am not the greatest writer either. So, it takes all that extra time just to generate a readable blog post or worse yet, tweet. Thank goodness there are few words on Instagram, which I am just starting to try out. To my surprise, I love it.
There is a deep peace I find when writing. Fear may get me to the keyboard, but peace keeps me there. Frederick Buechner has this great quote.
I am deeply glad to write. It is peaceful and engrossing in the best kind of way. I enjoy writing even when all I have to do is editing. Editing is the worst, but at least it is still writing.
Joy does not mean that you will always be happy, but it does mean that you have found some peace. I enjoy writing, and once I am at the keyboard, joy motivates me to remain. I leverage that joy to work that sentence over one more time and to rebuild that paragraph that has a good idea in there somewhere.
Taking joy in what you do is essential to foregoing other pleasures. Joy allows you to move beyond the pain of that early workday, that extra workout rep or being nice to the next jerk you interact with. Joy is the release that we all need to stay above gloom we wade through. Emotional joy gives us peace that passes understanding.
Peace is the internal get after it factor that balances out the external fear. Leveraging them both gets me to work and keeps me at work long after I should have burned out. When there are dishes to do, floors to sweep and baths to give, you need all the leverage you can get. Being a stay-at-home parent is enough to wear somebody out. You have to leverage yourself to get that extra mileage out of your day. Emotional Motivation pushes us beyond our limits and capabilities. This applies to all walks of life.
How do you find that extra oomph? Do you leverage your emotions like me? Do you do something different? Let me know in the comments or more privately by email.
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