Stuck in a Rut – how to stay motivated when the results don’t come

work life balance

A lovely friend said to me recently: “Life’s a fickle old business”. She’d just read a post I’d shared on Facebook and it arrived at just the right time to help her with something. That made me feel good, which was perfect for me too as it hadn’t been the best day up to that point! I’d been stuck in a rut myself and helping her gave me a nice boost.

It’s true, whether you’re talking personal or work life. It’s a fickle old thing. A bad day can suddenly turn into a good day. Or vice versa! One day you can be sailing on the crest of a wave of success, you feel happy and fulfilled, life feels abundant, business prospects biting your hand off to get what you’re offering, nothing could possibly ruin your day. Then….bam! You wake up and nothing seems to go right from the minute you stub your toe on the bedside table, till the minute you accidently step in the cat’s litter tray on the way up to bed. All you want to do is pull the duvet over your head and hope when you wake up tomorrow it was all just a horrible dream.

Stuck in a Rut. Next stop….Pity Party

That was me. I woke up with a thumping headache, and it all went south from there. I couldn’t focus during my meditation sitting, my mind was busy with thoughts of all the things I had to do. Taking our kitten to the Vet (how much was that going to cost!?). I had the school run to tackle, usually a joy, but today a chore. And horror of horrors – I had to go grocery shopping (my least favourite way to spend an hour and a half, made worse by the 25-mile round trip to the nearest supermarket)! Somehow in my black state I had managed to forget the bliss of living in this beautiful rural village! Oh yes, fickle indeed!

Having made it home safely from the supermarket, with great anticipation I decided to check the results of the article I published the previous day. However, it seemed that despite all my efforts in putting out what I considered to be a pretty damn good blog, nobody was reading it. No interactions, no comments, not even a single “like”! Rather than put it down to the inexplicable nature of social media algorithms, I decided there and then that nobody actually cared what I thought, that I wasn’t adding value to the world, I was simply contributing to the noise. I was a failure.

Stuck in a RutWhat ensued was a pity party on a monumental scale! Why was I bothering? Why didn’t I just go and get a boring job that paid adequately but that didn’t cause me all of this self-doubt and pain? What was I doing, putting us under financial strain while I tried to build a new business, something I clearly knew nothing about and that kept me awake at night? I was supposed to be securing our financial future, but here I was going nowhere fast! What was the point????

 

So…how do you stay motivated when the results don’t come?

This is, indeed, the million dollar question! I pondered it a lot and, being stuck in a rut as I was, I had to dig pretty deep to come up with any sort of definitive answer. I eventually cleared my head and focussed. Here is my checklist:

  1. Find inspiration – read, learn, absorb as many positive stories and experiences from those who have been there and come out the other side. My personal favourites include Zig Ziglar, the late Jim Rohn, amongst others, and not forgetting “The Secret” (we should all be watching this or reading it every day!!). I also get inspired by listening to my guided meditations, they help to focus my mind and clear away the fog that’s clouding my vision
  2. Never lose sight of your “WHY” – if you don’t remember what you’re doing all of this for (in my case, to build a life of financial and time freedom for my husband and family), then you have no reason to keep going. Visualise this every day, imagine how you feel living and breathing your “Why”
  3. Move away from the pain. We are told to focus on our goals (which we should – after all, you can’t hit a target you can’t see). But often we are more motivated to get away from whatever is causing us pain or suffering. So remember how this current situation makes you feel, and learn from it. Then the next time you get stuck in a dark place, recall exactly how you felt. It will help to push you back up towards the light
  4. Seek good advice. And then TAKE IT!
  5. Work on yourself. If you were helping your best friend who was in this situation, what would you tell them? Take your own best advice
  6. Be careful who you’re hanging out with. You need to surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and want what’s best for you. Ever heard the expression “If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas“? Unpleasant as this may sound, it illustrates my point!
  7. Have a plan of action…but one that also includes your own self-improvement. Fears, and a plan to face them. Weaknesses, and a plan to strengthen them. Strengths, and a plan to celebrate them!
  8. Don’t bring other people down to your level. You shouldn’t expect those around you to join you at the bottom of your rut. Lift yourself up to meet them
  9. Celebrate every success, however small it may seem. Trust me, when I publish this blog, there’ll be the popping of corks heard all around the village!!!
  10. Don’t beat yourself up! Almost everyone goes through this, it’s normal! Accept that there’ll be highs and lows, in life and in business!
  11. And the golden rule……DON’T QUIT!!!

Related: Mindfulness Meditation – 10 Simple Breaths

Onwards and upwards

I’ve not perfected this by any means, and I know I’ll fall into the rut again. So I plan to re-read this article often and take my own advice. I hope that it has given you a little inspiration, and that it helps you when you, like me, find yourself stuck in a rut. It’s difficult to stay motivated, especially when the results don’t come. But they will. Don’t let a lack of results today define what you do or who you are tomorrow. Remember it is WE who hold the key to unlocking the chains that are holding us down. We just have to remember to use them!

As Richard Branson says: “Tough times are inevitable in life and in business. But how you compose yourself during those times defines your spirit and will define your future“. Go define yours. I will too. See you at the top!

A special “thank you” to Joan – your lovely comment inspired me to climb out of my rut and write this. I hope you enjoy it xxx

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