Motivation and My Gas Tank

Full tank Ever run out of gas?

Then you know the vulnerable and uneasy feeling of being stranded right where you are until you get some gas in your tank.

The engine in your vehicle won’t crank over without fuel. You’ll be left to rely on “foot” power to reach your destination unless you gas up.

Motivation works the same way.

It’s an internal component that drives you to reach your personal and professional destinations — meeting deadlines, finishing projects, fulfilling your dreams, developing and nurturing relationships, taking that next step, and sometimes, just getting through the day.

Motivation is something each person has to kindle themselves. 

If I don’t constantly refuel my motivation tank, nothing much gets accomplished. I bet the same is true for you, especially if you’re a solopreneur.

Ever run out of entrepreneurial motivation?

Then you know what it’s like to tread water. Your arms and legs are moving furiously– but you’re not going anywhere. And it’s very tiring. It can also be disheartening.

It’s easy to give up when you’re not motivated. Without filling your motivation tank, your business won’t move forward.

So how do you beat the motivation blues and learn to love your business again?

Be kind to yourself.
Surround yourself with positivity.
Ask yourself what you want and make realistic goals.
Acknowledge your attributes.
Celebrate the small victories.
Recognize your progress.
Believe in yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Take it one day at a time.

Intrinsic motivators win every time!

Dan Pink, career analyst, talks about “The Puzzle of Motivation” in the video below and why “Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose” are much better motivators than fortune and fame. (And he shares some very enlightening and fun scientific proof!)

I love the part where Dan talks about solving “the candle problem”.

 

Word Carnival Blogger badge This month’s Word Carnivals topic is “Beating the Motivation Blues: Reboot, Re-energize and Learn to Love Your Business Again.” Play ring toss, step up to the shooting gallery, or ride the merry-go-round by checking out the rest of the Carney posts here: January 2013 Word Carnivals

 

Photo Credit:  Salvatore Vuono

Comments

  1. Fantastic point. Could not agree more.
    http://my-amazing-car-blog.tumblr.com/ recently posted..http://my-amazing-car-blog.tumblr.com/

  2. Kamran says:

    Great post! there are many times when we lose our motivation but we have to work harder then expected to achieve our goals.

  3. Justin says:

    It is true that Motivation and Inspiration is compulsory to become successful and to get stuff done and it is also reasonable to look for Motivation from others in case you are lost. Two tips that are mentioned in the article are really important. First is don’t ever compare yourself with others and second one is ‘Enjoy and Celebrate Small Victories’. As i have listened to many Motivational Speakers and Inspirational Personalities, i made a different approach to survive in such situations. Here is a little bit of my story: I started Blogging because one of my friend suggested me to do so and told that it is very easy and beneficial. I tried for about 6 months and found no luck. Then i started spending time to watch inspirational videos on YouTube and other websites to get motivated in order to write posts but finally it didn’t worked out. So then i met a Motivational Speaker in our locality and that inspirational figure changed my whole attitude. He told me that external Motivation is not long lasting. So you better find your internal motivation. And the internal inspiration is what you really love to do, What you can do without worrying about Money or Output. If you do what you love then you won’t be working hard, for you, you will just enjoying but for others you will be working hard. This is just what i feel and what i found motivational and working for me. You can try it if you want or find your own source of Motivation.
    Justin recently posted..Words of Inspiration to discover your life’s calling…

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Beautiful personal story, Justin, and OH, so inspiring!

      Thanks so much for the visit and I want to wish you the very best. :)

  4. evan austin
    Twitter: graphicsbyevan
    says:

    Potent stuff! I’ve read and struggled with Alfie Kohn’s “Punished by Rewards”, mostly in a parenting context, but to even stop and consider intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators is an intriguing – and confounding – exercise.
    evan austin recently posted..Communicating Love in Business: Colors & Imagery

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      “Confounding” for certain, Evan!!

      Who doesn’t want money, right? It’s one of those extrinsic motivators that … well … pays the bills! And notoriety? Well, who wouldn’t like to get their mug out there in a big recognizable way?!

      However, the question remains …
      Do extrinsic motivators REALLY drive us? Especially as solopreneurs? I don’t think so. ;)

      Thanks for chiming in!

  5. Hiten
    Twitter: stutteringhub
    says:

    Hi Mel,

    Wondering post indeed with some great advice.

    I’ve been experiencing what you said when our arms and legs are moving, but we’re not really moving, with my entrepreneurial activities recently. At least it feels this way.

    I loved your points on how to beat the motivation blues. I needed to read these. Thank you.

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Hi Hiten

      You’re not alone!

      Seems there’s a lot of us out in that vast and mysterious sea, known as the internet, treading water. Just hoping our inner strength holds up before our arms and legs give out. :)

      Thanks so much for coming by!

  6. Yes…Great minds think alike we both had the idea of running out of gas! I think that is just brilliant because it says it all in a quick way. I so resonate with your post (of course) because I have been running out of gas, or rather it’s there just not focused. My most fav or your suggestions is “Don’t compare yourself to others” – wow…I do that and often beat myself up behind it. I know we never really know what others are going through, but in comparison – I am subconsciously thinking they are better which is not the case. I really appreciate those suggestions as sometimes it just takes someone else mentioning and that light bulb said aha…so whatcha gonna do about that one! So I am now inspired to stop that, re-energize and get this new party started!

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Oh, Michelle, you are the epitome of “one of a kind” — no comparison needed! :)

      I know exactly what you mean about someone else mentioning something and that proverbial bulb lighting up. Sometimes we’re just too “close” to an issue and it’s as if we’re wrapped in cobwebs or encompassed by a dense fog. I believe that scenario is true in both our personal lives and our business lives. Just like that old adage, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” LOL!

      Since you and I both alluded to gas tanks in our carnival posts …
      Let’s make a pact to keep our motivation indicators on “F” — as in full to the brim!

      Thanks for dropping in to share your thoughts. :)

  7. Nicole Fende
    Twitter: NicoleAFende
    says:

    Being a muscle car fan (yup that’s me!), I can relate well to the gas tank analogy. And boy oh boy does treading water stink after about 30 seconds.

    For me it’s important to surround myself with people who want to celebrate my small victories. When I’ve finally won the fight against a WordPress Plugin I want to be able to share that somewhere with someone and get an “Go girl”. Those two combined are like using nitrous to turbo charge your car.

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Hi Nicole!

      I’m a classic car and truck fan. :)

      I think celebrating the small victories with people works wonders to kindle motivation. We all need strokes in life! I’m always excited and anxious to pass along loads of words of encouragement and congrats when someone I know (especially my Word Carnivals buddies) masters a new skill, wins a blogging contest, launches a new product or service, etc.

      Your positive energy, unique sense of humor, and spunk help to fuel my motivation tank! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  8. Well, hello Ms. Positive ;)

    Actually, I love your idea of surrounding yourself with positivity. In spite of my pencil-throwing temper tantrums, it’s a tactic I like that works. When you’re feeling down or things aren’t going well, the last thing you need are a bunch of Negative Nancys. I think, honestly, you need someone quite realistic! Neither optimism nor pessimism is particularly helpful sometimes – but someone who can be a good sounding board.

    You can also make your environment very positive. Buy some flowers. Light a candle. Add some color or take out your favorite teddy bear and put it on your desk :) That helps too, by creating a positive environment.

    And you’re so right – intrinsic motivation wins! It all goes back to your “why” and your own successes, doesn’t it? Much more helpful to focus on those than the crummy, unmotivating stuff!

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Welcome to the conversation, Ms. Tantrum! (Although I’ll have to say throwing pencils is a lightweight tantrum) LOL!!

      Here’s a heavyweight example:

      A couple of decades ago I was visiting with a therapist building my courage to walk away from a dangerously abusive relationship. My therapist asked, “Melanie, why haven’t you opened the second-story windows of your home, thrown his computers down onto the driveway and then set his Porsche on fire?” My ears perked up! Sounded pretty darn tempting. To this day, I wish I would have followed through with that BIG BADASS tantrum!! My therapist assured me that would have been “normal” behavior under the circumstances and totally justified.

      Moral of this back story? Sometimes tantrums are in order and they’re not just reserved for children!

      Carol Lynn, I really love your idea to make your “environment” positive as a means of staying motivated. “Visuals” and “color” definitely have an impact on our emotions. My guy is currently adding red accents to his kitchen — a bold color that signifies powerful “energy”. He told me it’s already making a difference in how he feels in the kitchen. :)

  9. SandyMc
    Twitter: theclanmaker
    says:

    Wonderful post Melanie, thank you. So related to the treading water image, flailing arms and legs, going nowhere fast! Absolutely right to that we must kindle our own passion and purpose.

    Thank you for introducing me to Dan Pink in the is video. This line from his summary of intrinsic motivation just sung to my heart:

    Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
    SandyMc recently posted..Battle of the brains: Seven ways to shut the Lizard up.

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Hello Sandy!

      Bear hugs to you for taking time to view Dan Pink’s TED talk! I’m tickled his summary of intrinsic motivators sang to your heart (Mine, too — in a big beautiful way!)

      Thank you for reading my carnival post.
      You always bring a warm and bubbly vibe to my blog. :)

  10. Rich says:

    It doesn’t matter how big your gas tank is, the needle will eventually hit the “E”. Your post cleverly shows how we can maintain our motivation fuel levels to help us achieve our goals. It is very difficult to be successful in any endeavor when you’re driving on motivational fumes.

    I can totally relate to the Dan Pink video. I work in the mismatch of healthcare and the corporate world, with the associated disconnect. This video should be mandatory viewing for all corporate CEO’s.

    Great post again, my Mel.

    Rich
    143

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Unfortunately, you and I both work under the tutelage of corporate medicine. (Please pass me the emesis basin) :(

      “This video should be mandatory viewing for all corporate CEO’s.” IF ONLY. But I wholeheartedly agree!!

      Know what’s really tough, my Rich? Staying motivated can be really tough in an environment like that — even for those of us who are truly passionate about our work and genuinely care about the patients and the public we serve.

      One of the biggest reasons it’s hard to stay motivated is because the “truth” about how corporate officials view those of us in health care is planted FIRMLY in the forefront of our minds. No matter how dedicated, talented, skilled, resourceful, dependable, innovative, loyal, or knowledgeable you are … THEY DON’T CARE. They can boot you out the door tomorrow, not think twice about it, and go home and have a good night’s sleep. Kinda sad, wouldn’t you say?

      But on a positive note …
      I’m so happy you knocked on my door today and thank you for the compliment. Glad you enjoyed this little post.

      Love you!
      Mel

  11. Clare Price
    Twitter: clarestweets
    says:

    So true — motivation is something we have to kindle for ourselves. For me, its all about energy. I tell my clients that your time and money are not your biggest resources, your energy is.
    Clare Price recently posted..Comment on 2013 – Bring it On! by Annie Sisk (Pajama Productivity)

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Very good point, Clare! And I’ll back you up on that thought. It’s hard to put effort into anything when you’re feeling like a wrung-out mop. Heck, it’s hard to even get out of bed, let alone get anything done.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  12. Nick Armstrong
    Twitter: WTFMarketing
    says:

    I’m a big believer in Manufactured Victory.

    If the world has me down, I find something to celebrate, and I try to help other folks find something to celebrate too – especially if I know it’s been a tough day.

    It’s *really* hard to be kind to yourself when you own your own business and have to live with the day-to-day decisions (or, you know, lack of them when you can’t motivate yourself enough to put on pants).

    I’ve started to frame my accomplishments so I can see them in real time – I keep every thank you note, pin it to my board… and it’s filled up over time. And once a month I review my recommendations on LinkedIn to make sure I’m always living up to my own version of awesome. If not, I give myself an attitude adjustment.

    Great tips, thanks Melanie! Love as always!
    Nick Armstrong recently posted..How’d Those New Years Resolutions Go For You?

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Do you mean to tell me your “tude” needs a tune-up sometimes, Nick?! LOL!!

      I hang on to thank-you notes, too, and some of the heartfelt evaluations my Lamaze students write. They soothe my soul on crummy days and serve as a wonderful reminder I’m making a difference in peoples’ lives. I’m certain the same is true for you.

      Having those notes pinned to a board is a fabulous idea. All you need to do is glance up, take a look, and know you’re loved and appreciated.

      ” I try to help other folks find something to celebrate too – especially if I know it’s been a tough day.” I would say this is one your greatest attributes. :)

      Love ya back!

  13. Awesome post, Melanie! I love that notion of our true motivators — intrinsic motivation is always stronger than extrinsic rewards, as any parent can tell you. The rewards work — but only until the next test or trial.
    Annie Sisk (Pajama Productivity) recently posted..How to Find and Finesse Your Biz Mojo When It’s Been Wrangled and Wrestled Into a Sobbing Pile of Mush By Reality

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      As a single mum who’s raised four daughters, Annie …

      I’ll second that motion … BIG TIME!! ;)

  14. Sharon Hurley Hall
    Twitter: shurleyhall
    says:

    I especially agree about surrounding yourself with postivity, Melanie – nothing brings you down faster than energy-suckers (whether those are people or things) and if you’re already demotivated, you just don’t need them. The best thing is to surround yourself with the people and things that make you feel great – and then maybe the motivations blues won’t be quite as blue. :)

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      A tip of my hat to that, Sharon!

      Sometimes we just don’t realize how much negativity affects our lives. And the more of it we’re fed, the sicker we become.

      YOU are one beautiful soul that adds positivity to my life. Thank you! :)

  15. Tea Silvestre
    Twitter: teasilvestre
    says:

    Nice job, Mel. I hadn’t seen that TED talk before and found it especially interesting given my current project, Prosperity’s Kitchen. Will be sure to keep these in mind as I attempt to motivate the contestants to do their best work.
    Tea Silvestre recently posted..This Week’s Marketing Dish: Spaghetti & Meatballs

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Really glad you caught Dan Pink’s talk, Tea!

      Pretty interesting results when folks were given 24 hours to work on anything they wanted, wouldn’t you say? Just goes to show with the right motivation, people can easily become “self starters” and accomplish great things.

      I’m anxious to see how you’re going to keep the Prosperity’s Kitchen contestants’ motivation tanks fueled. If anything I’ve mentioned in this post helps — I’ll be a happy camper. :)

  16. Megan Joel Peterson
    Twitter: meganjopeterson
    says:

    Excellent post and a great reminder to take care of ourselves, Melanie. I think that sometimes, those of us trying to build something we’re passionate about can demand more of ourselves than we’d ever ask of an employee who worked for us! Good to be reminded that gas tanks don’t get refilled while the car is simultaneously doing a hundred miles per hour down the freeway. Thank you!
    Megan Joel Peterson recently posted..Liebster Award

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Ooh, Megan!

      I love this …

      ” … trying to build something we’re passionate about can demand more of ourselves than we’d ever ask of an employee who worked for us!” My goodness, you’ve nailed it!

      SO elated you dropped in. You consistently add a dash of spice to the conversation. :)

  17. Oh, great food for thought and action, Melanie! I love the line:

    Motivation is something each person has to kindle themselves.

    It is important to be able to do this for yourself, and I am finding that I am better able to do that when I follow the items on your list – especially “surround yourself with positivity.” Even if a person isn’t being negative to you directly, being around someone who is negative about life in general has its way of seeping in and sapping my energy. I think that sometimes when people are unable to motivate themselves they might not be so positive. A vicious cycle?

    • Melanie Kissell
      Twitter: melaniekissell
      says:

      Hi Tammy

      You and I are kindred spirits …

      ” … being around someone who is negative about life in general has its way of seeping in and sapping my energy” I couldn’t agree with you more! I recently said goodbye to someone in my life who filled my ears with negativity almost daily. No wonder I started to feel drained of my energy and unhappy. I guess it’s true someone’s behavior and general demeanor can actually “rub off on you.”

      Thanks so much for the visit! Always wonderful to see you here. :)

      • Hi Melanie,

        I am so glad you shared that. I have done the very same thing, and it is so very difficult. Thank you for sharing. It is so hard when you see many messages, blogs, etc. always saying to talk it out and accept things, unconditional love, etc. I think we have to be realistic and not idealistic. At least that’s my take! Love your message and appreciate your response.

        • Melanie Kissell
          Twitter: melaniekissell
          says:

          I’m almost sorry to say we have that issue in common, Tammy, but I’m here to say you’re not alone and neither am I. I’ve met and worked with women, in particular, over the years who have been practically beaten down emotionally by negative partners/boyfriends/husbands/significant others.

          Yes, no question about it, it’s always difficult to break off any kind of relationship. But when someone destroys your spirit and tries to drag you down into negativity-ville with them … it’s time to move on.

          When people ask me if I consider myself an “optimist” or “pessimist” … I tell them I’m a “realist”. ;)

  18. Melanie Kissell
    Twitter: melaniekissell
    says:

    Hi David

    My best piece of [newbie blogger] advice is something you probably don’t want to hear. But here goes! It takes a lot of time and even more “patience” to get a blog off the ground and acquire a loyal readership.

    First and foremost …
    Know precisely “who” you’re blogging for.
    Write your posts as if you’re speaking to just one person — you’re ideal reader/client/customer/target market.
    Promote your posts to social media venues (lots of new bloggers miss this step)
    Embed “sharing” icons at the top and/or bottom of your posts (make it easy for readers to share your posts!)
    Be consistent in delivering content that’s valuable to your readers (no fluff, no hype, no crap)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] “Motivation and My Gas Tank” by Melanie Kissell – a post about rekindling your energy and motivation for your pursuits. [...]

  2. [...] Kissell of Solo Mompreneur Motivation and My Gas Tank @melaniekissell [...]

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge