“You were ranked second to last in 4 of your interviews. You won’t be getting a job offer.”
I remember hearing my manager say that to me when I was 22 and looking to land my first serious job. I had interviewed at a Fortune 100 company with 5 different hiring managers and 4 of them ranked me second to last. My heart sank when I heard the news.
Guess what happened? I bounced back. I spent multiple days prepping for the interview with the 5th hiring manager. He even asked me to deliver an impromptu presentation and I crushed it. I got the job offer.
When I was 23, I was in the worst shape of my life. I would consistently eat chicken wings, burgers and pretty much anything you could put into a deep fryer. Guess what happened? I bounced back. I started doing home DVD workouts, eating more vegetables regularly and within 3 months I was in the best shape of my life. I celebrated by going to the beach for the first time in a year!
When I was 30, I told people I wanted to write motivational articles for the biggest and best online publications. Most people told me that was impossible. I pitched numerous editors and every single one of them turned me down or didn’t respond. Guess what happened? I never gave up, I kept writing and now I have articles that have been published in Inc., Forbes, Fortune and Business Insider.
In those moments in life when everything seemed to be failing, I always found a way to get back on track.
I began to think back to all of those moments and I put together a list of ways to find motivation.
Here are the top 10:
1. Be friends with people that inspire you
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
I love this quote from Jim Rohn. If you’re around highly motivated friends all the time, chances are you’ll feel more energized just by spending time with them.
When one of my close friends built a series of iPhone apps and began to experience huge success, his eyes would light up with excitement and passion when he shared his stories.
I immediately started working on iPhone apps and have made 14 apps since I met him. 4 of those have hit the top 100 in different categories.
What would have happened if I had never met my friend? Would I have built the iPhone apps?
Inspiration is contagious. Surround yourself with people that motivate you to be great.
2. Take baby steps
It’s good to have big, audacious goals. All too often though, I see people sprinting to achieve their goals and expecting success quickly. When they don’t find immediate success, they become deflated and give up.
Instead of solely focusing on one big goal, break that down into a series of smaller bite sized goals.
Having small goals that are more easily achievable will give you a sense of accomplishment and progress. It’s very motivating to see small wins as time goes on. It also gives you a chance to celebrate along the way.
For example, when I started my blog my goal was to get to 100,000 subscribers. I wanted to build an awesome community of folks that could share ideas on how to be passionate about life and lessons on how to build an online business. But 100,000 subscribers is a huge number. It definitely wasn’t going to happen over night.
So what did I do?
I set a weekly goal. For the 1st month, I set a goal of 10 subscribers per week. For the 2nd month, I set a goal of 20 subscribers per week.
Did I always hit my goal? Of course not. But every week I felt like I was making progress.
And that motivates me to keep going.
3. Reframe your problems
When we run into problems, it’s easy to lose confidence and to give up. We’re conditioned to avoid pain after all.
But what if we reframed the way we saw a problem?
I’ll give you an example:
A few years ago, I was working with a client that was struggling to generate new business. Leads weren’t flowing in like they were in the past. Morale was low on the sales team.
But what if we reframed the problem? What if we stopped thinking of it as a problem and thought of it as an opportunity? In other words - what if we stopped complaining about the lack of leads and spent our energy learning about how to generate new ones?
After a few weeks of research and collaboration with other companies, we decided to run a marketing campaign consisting of creative emails and warm follow up calls.
The result? We closed a monster deal worth over $800,000 from that campaign.
4. Take 5 minutes every day to be grateful
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday work. Often times we find ourselves wishing for what we want, rather than being grateful for what we already have.
I have a friend who almost died from Nephrotic Syndroe when he was in his early twenties. Luckily he found a kidney donor and is alive today. Most days he wakes up and says he’s just grateful to see the sunrise.
Everytime I feel down, I think of his story and realize how grateful I should be for everything I have in my life: My health, my friends, my family and the opportunity to make a difference in the world. You can bet that I get motivated every single time I think of that story.
Take 5 minutes each morning thinking about something you’re grateful for in life. You’ll be glad that you did.
5. Mix up your workout
Working out is a great way to motivate yourself. The problem is that if you run every day, your body plateaus and adapts to that workout. A great way to keep things exciting and challenging is to mix up your workouts. For example, you could take spin classes on Monday, run on Tuesday, weight lifting on Wednesday and well, you get the point. By challenging yourself to try new workouts, you’ll test your limits. When you’re able to go beyond those limits, you’ll feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. The energy you get from the workouts will carry over into the rest of your life.
6. Run the 5 minute test
Whenever I find myself struggling to start something, I try to apply the “5 minute test.” Here’s how it works.
Whatever it is that you want to do (we’ll use working out as an example), tell yourself that you have to give it a go for at least 5 minutes. I mean, seriously, is it really that hard to try something for 5 minutes? 99% of the time, it isn’t.
Here’s the best part: Once you start, it’s really hard to stop usually. That’s because you’ve already built a freight train of momentum.
For example, if I change into my gym clothes and start a jog for 5 minutes, chances are I will want to keep going. Do I really want to quit after I spent 3 of those minutes to change into gym clothes?
Didn’t think so.
Try the 5 minute test. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish once you get going.
7. Go to sleep
Have you ever tried to be really productive when you’re tired and cranky?
I think we all have and the results are usually disastrous. It’s hard to focus, you burn out easily and ultimately it’s hard to do great work.
In one of my old jobs, I traveled to over 50 cities in a year for work. I was tired 90% of the time. Guess what happened? I lost my passion for work and I burned out.
You can only drink so many cups of coffee before it no longer has an effect on you. So try this instead:
Go to sleep.
Take a nap for 20 minutes. Or better yet, get a solid 8 hours of sleep (or more if you’re playing catch up). Do this consistently.
It’s really important to take care of yourself. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself first.
And when you wake up, you’ll feel refreshed and motivated to do great things again.
8. Remember why you started
One of my top apps was a dating app. Someone once asked me why I was building it.
A lot of answers crossed my mind including:
It was a huge market opportunity.
It would be a fun app to build.
It was an untapped demographic.
But when I thought long and hard, I realized that my “why” was really simple and boiled down to one thing: I wanted to help people fall in love.
And that was more motivating to me than any other reason. And whenever we ran into problems in working on the app, I would always think of why we were building it in the first place and that always motivated me to make it better. Because you know what? Helping people fall in love is awesome.
So remember why you started.
9. Put it on your calendar
“I’ll do it later.” Admit it, this thought crosses our minds all the time, doesn’t it?
I know it does for me. One of the hardest things to do in staying motivated is to hold yourself accountable. We always think that there’s more time later on to get stuff done. You know what ends up happening half the time? I totally forget to do it.
Here’s a neat trick to help you overcome procrastination: Put it on your calendar.
If you block off time for that activity, chances are you’re more likely to do it.
Don’t be in such a rush to get to the end goal. Life’s a heck of a marathon and you need to make sure you enjoy the ride. So next time you accomplish something, take a break and celebrate that win with people, no matter how small or big it is.
Because you know what, sharing positivity is awesome.