Monday Motivation Inspiration and Commitment
Being mostly driven by feelings of inspiration, motivation, or desire.
When I create our Monday Motivation each week, I spend time reflecting on what drives me. Yesterday about 45 minutes through yoga when my endorphin high is usually in full swing and the music is carrying me into a connected, feel-good state, I noticed I wasn’t feeling any of those things. I had noticed the same earlier this week in a spin class. Whatever that “feeling” is that I get towards the end of a workout – the triumphant, stronger-than-I-was before feeling -wasn’t there. I was simply going through the motions. And in both cases I went through the motions until the end, never getting “the feeling” and got in my car and drove home. I’ve been noticing this recently in a few different areas of my life and today as I reflected on the holiday at hand and the idea of laboring, I remembered this very profound concept: that motivation follows action, inspiration follows commitment. While inspiration and motivation are somewhat different, the premise is the same. And I’ve known this for much of my life and yet it’s still so hard to remember. Why is that? I don’t think I’m alone in this either. Which is why I felt compelled to write on this topic. Because I think we all have this romantic notion of well, everything important in life (vocation, relationships, health, child-rearing, social change), being mostly driven by feelings of inspiration or motivation or desire. Ask a new mom about this and she will laugh at you but why is it so hard to remember? At every turn of my life I’ve experienced this and learned it in even a deeper way. In my athletic career when shooting 1000 shots at 6 am before another afternoon practice started to feel unbearable, even in then I started to figure out that if I could just get out of bed and into the gym and shoot one shot, the motivation came. The same for studying in high school and college. If the highlighter ever started moving across the page, the hardest part, which I believe is the initiation, had been completed. And yet still, most days I expect some overwhelming feeling to sweep me off my feet and blissfully into whatever task is at hand.
If you keep your end of the deal the motivation and inspiration will follow.
Yesterday after experiencing this in yoga I experienced it again around creativity. I’ve been working on the same painting for what feels like forever now and had planned to work on it some yesterday. And I actually wanted to but I didn’t want to walk upstairs, get out all of my supplies, organize what I needed for it and then have to clean it up. But I did anyway. In a lot of my areas of my life I have been feeling this. I’m just a little burned out. I’m tired and I find myself on certain days not wanting to show up to a start-up that always has an obstacle to overcome, or to the unending events and meetings and pickups for three kids, or maybe just to the kitchen to cook or clean. And yet this concept, every time, proves true. It’s not always immediate as in yoga yesterday. The inspiration from that one class never came. But as a whole as a practice I am building it will and always does. Washing dishes, even after getting started, doesn’t exactly bring inspiration but seeing my designs in a clean house does. Sometimes I think the hardest parts of my day are the drive to wherever I’m going. Not because I hate driving, I actually enjoy being in a car alone with music and my own thoughts. But because it’s that time in between one task and before another that is where the heavy lifting lies. Driving to my office, knowing how many things I have to do, fires to put out and goals to meet feels daunting. Once I sit down at my desk I am often catapulted into excitement and creativity and accomplishment. The drive to the carpool line reminds me of dinner needing to be made, the homework we’ll need to tackle that night, and the likely one hundred questions I’ll be asked over the course of the following few hours. And then the kids get in and they tell me something funny and we all laugh or they tell me something amazing that happened that day and it doesn’t all feel so hard anymore.
I did an interview recently and was asked what my current favorite quote is. I said “just keep going.” And I think it might be just that simple and just that profound. Keep showing up when you don’t want to. Keep climbing on the bike. Keep driving to the office. Turns out that’s the hard part and that if you keep your end of the deal the motivation and inspiration will, eventually, follow.