Do you think that with some people they'll never find meaning from work and they'll always only derive meaning and purpose from non-work?
This is a fabulous question and I have a lot of thoughts about it.
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Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited you are here. I'm ready to jump in. I'm excited about today's episode. I'm doing my first ever listener Q&A. So I put a little button on my website. If you go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/podcasts, right at the top there's this orange button, can't miss it, and says I think send a message or leave a voicemail, something like that. You get the picture and you can just leave me a voicemail. And I figured that I would start answering some of your questions cuz I know I'm missing some stuff that you guys wanna hear about and either it'll be the jumping off point for a podcast episode, like a whole episode dedicated to that question if I realize that I haven't yet answered it or we could do some fun Q&A. So if you have a question, a burning desire and you like this type of episode, go to the website and leave me a voicemail. Let me know what you're struggling with. These are kind of general uh questions but you can even ask a specific one to your situation if you'd like because I'm sure other people can relate to it as well. Alright so that's what we're gonna do. We're gonna listen to some questions. I'm gonna try to answer them to the best of my ability and we're gonna have some fun. Alright, here's the first question.
Hi. So my question is how do you find motivation when you're stuck? How do you motivate yourself when lack of motivation is the issue to begin with?
Okay, great question. And when I hear a question like this, I have two responses, two questions, two different trains of thought. The first thing I wanna ask yourself is why do you need motivation? And I want you to think about that for a second because a lot of us are waiting to feel a certain way in order to do things and you don't need that in order to get anything done. Okay. We are like under this false impression that it has to feel good or we have to have this rush of energy or I don't know, have to have like this drive that makes it so easy. And like does it make it easier when you feel like that? Sure, of course it does. Right? That's why we all like it. It's not like a surprise why we like having motivation but you don't need it. And I think oftentimes the reason I say it is because we spend more time worried about why we don't have the motivation than like just spending the energy doing the thing we need to do. Right? It's like we create a problem for ourselves when there may not be a problem there. Okay. And the thing is that you don't necessarily need motivation. And oftentimes you won't have motivation when you're doing something that is hard, right. When you're doing something that's scary, when you're doing something for the first time or when you're doing something that requires discipline, okay? Motivation, willpower, all that stuff waxes and wanes, it comes and goes. And we'll talk about how you can get some more in a minute. But when you make it sort of this pretense, this rule, the underlying thing is that if I don't have motivation then I can't do it. You're putting yourself in a terrible position. Cuz the only time you're gonna be able to do the things you need to do is when you're feeling super great, which spoiler alert as a human, you're not gonna feel 50% of the time. Okay. So I would just say like you don't need motivation as much as you need discipline. And before I say that, I know a lot of times we beat ourselves up thinking we're not disciplined. I want you to know that you're a very disciplined person, no matter what you want to think. Human beings all day long are doing things that they don't want to do but they need to, for whatever reason, what, for whatever reason you've chosen to have discipline around something, right? You wake up, you brush your teeth. When you’re driving, you stay in your lane, you don't just like drive all over the road or you stop at stop signs. You know, like we do things in a very disciplined manner and you do things every single day without having the motivation. I guarantee you most days when you're going to work, you're not motivated. And somehow you make it there on time, right? Most days when you have to make dinner for yourself or your kids or you have to pack lunches, you don't wanna do it. And yet you do. Right. And so I just want you to see this really quickly before we move on that like motivation is not some kind of factor that needs to be there in order for us to do the things that we want to do. What you need to understand is why you're doing it, what you want out of it and then create the discipline for that. Right? So if I wanna create a business for myself, I cannot wait around until I feel motivated every day. Cuz I won't feel motivated most days. It's a lot of hard work. It's 50% stuff that I don't like doing. It's tons of things that are gonna bring up negative emotions for me. And if the only time I'm working is when there's motivation, I'm not gonna be working a lot. Okay. So I start thinking about like what do I want this business for? Why am I doing this, right? And what am I like creating a plan and sticking to for myself? I've talked about this a lot when it comes to the podcast. When I started this podcast, I gave myself a deadline, a goal. I don't know the right word right now, but it's like I had said I'm gonna do the podcast for one year every single week, come hell or a high water because I knew that my motivation would wane. I knew that as soon as I had started having certain thoughts about people not listening and it's not worth it and it's too much work, all of a sudden I wouldn't feel those great motivating feelings that I love. And so I just decided I'm gonna be disciplined with this and I'm gonna cut out that mental chatter and I'm gonna do the work that I say I'm gonna do because I want whatever that result is, right, for me, I wanted to see is a podcast gonna be something that's viable for me, is it gonna turn into anything? And I needed a good chunk of time to really be able to see that. And so I just dedicated myself to that. Anybody that works out, I'm personally not one of those people, but will tell you the same thing. Right? Most of the days you don't wanna go but you just decide you're gonna do it. So that's first, I would just really, really curious with yourself and very honest of why do I need motivation in order to do the thing that I want to do? That's one but two, you know, motivation feels good. So I'm not knocking it. I love feeling motivated sometimes. I just don't wait around for it. But okay. Motivation is just the opposite side of procrastination. What I mean by that is like they're just two sides of the same coin. And so if you go back and you listen to the episode of on procrastination, you know, I talked a lot about how procrastination, that feeling of procrastination, I mean the act of procrastination just comes from your thoughts. Your negative thoughts about that task, right? Like whatever task is bringing up negative feelings for you, you end up procrastinating to get rid of that negative feeling like you buffer with social media or food or a million other things so that you don't have to feel that thing. And it only comes because you're having tons of negative thoughts about whatever it is you're doing, right? The opposite of that is also true with motivation. The only reason you feel motivated ever is because you're thinking thoughts that make you feel motivated. Okay. So think about it. You don't really have to work up motivation to eat ice cream or to watch Netflix cuz you already have a ton of positive thoughts about it. Your thought E is like oh my God, this is gonna feel so good. I can't wait to get home and watch Netflix. Right? Like yes, pass me that ice cream. Whatever the thought is. It could be very simple but there's not a lot of resistance. Okay. So when you are trying to quote unquote create motivation for whatever it is that you're doing, you have to examine the thoughts that you’re having about whatever it is that you're doing and why you're feeling stuck. Okay. So typically, we have terrible thoughts. We have thoughts of like let's say you wanna, I don't know, you said how do you find motivation when you're stuck? So let's say you feel stuck in a career and you want to start some kind of side hustle or something. Let's just as an example. Oftentimes what I see with people is like they wanna start some business but then as soon as they start to do it, their thoughts are like oh this is gonna take way too long. I don't know what I'm doing. It's not worth it. I've tried it for a month and nothing has happened. I'm wasting all my time. Like not surprising that you're not gonna feel super motivated. Right? So the only way that you gain that is by changing your thoughts around that task. And so that also goes back to the first thing, right? Like why do you wanna do this thing? So when I was thinking about the podcast, if I thought thoughts about how many people were downloading and the fact that I wasn't making money off of it and all this other stuff, I would very quickly lose motivation. So I decided to focus on things of like how many people I was helping, the people that were reaching out, all of the people that loved it, whatever it is like thinking about that magically increased my motivation, not magically, right? Like those thoughts felt very good. And that would motivate me to do it more. There's no like secret behind this. That's the way it works. The reason I say why I started with the first part is that there's also nothing wrong if you don't always have positive thoughts about things, right? You can spend your time fixing all your thoughts and that's a good use of time for a certain amount. Like that's why so many people do these exercises of finding your why. Cuz when you get super clear about why you're doing something it motivates you, right? Like when you get really grounded in all of the benefits. So let's take the example of exercising, right? If you're always thinking about how terrible it is or how much it's gonna hurt or how horrible you feel, which tends to be my thoughts about exercise, you're not really motivated to do it. Right. But if you have a long list of whys you're doing it like how great it feels in your body and how like, you know, how much more movement you have and how you feel so energized during the day and how you can last more through your work day and how you can keep up with your kids or whatever. There's a million other reasons why you might wanna do it. Then every day when the time comes to exercise, you're gonna have more of motivation cuz those thoughts are more top of mind if you keep them top of mind. Right? So part of this is really uncovering what are my thoughts that are keeping me quote unquote stuck cuz I will just gently remind you that you are not in fact stuck. You're just choosing to do the same things over and over again every day. And if you want to change that, you can start examining what those thoughts are and changing those thoughts. Or you can just decide I don't need to feel motivated to do the things that I've chosen to do. Right? I've told myself I wanna do this so I'm going to do it because I keep my word to myself, because I want this result, because I'm willing to do hard things, whatever that thing is. And I will say that oftentimes I find that your motivation might be very high in the beginning and then it might wane a little bit because your thoughts change. And once you kind of pick back up, when you start seeing results, then the motivation comes back. And so that's the only reason I say that these two parts are both equally important cuz it it's great to have motivation when it's there. It's great when you can get your thoughts aligned, you can coach yourself and keep your thoughts, you know, positive or whatever you wanna call it. But ultimately, you're also gonna have to just do things when you don't feel motivated and that's okay too. Alright, go out there and get unstuck my friend. I hope that helped. Okay, second question.
Hey Goli, um my name is Ali and I'm a lawyer. I'm a mid-level associate at a big law firm and my question's pretty simple but something I've been grappling with a lot lately. And it's do you think that with some people they'll never find meaning from work and they'll always only derive meaning and, for lack of a better word, purpose, I know you don't like to use that word too much, but meaning and purpose from non-work issues only? Like I love reading and I and I love hanging out with my dog and my friends and traveling and and I'm worried that if I quit my job or I continue changing practice areas, it will never matter because work is just something that will never light a fire within me. Anyway, just wondering your thoughts on that and whether maybe it's possible that some people will just always just view a job as a job and maybe quitting’s not the right answer for them.
This is a fabulous question and I have a lot of thoughts about it. Okay. First, no, I don't think that there are just like different types of people that like some people's brains just can't find meaning in work and other people's brains just do. Okay. I don't think it works that way as you will see if you come to any of our coaching calls, the free coaching calls. If you come into my group, we all have the same brain pretty much. And so I don't subscribe to the fact that there is something like quote unquote different or unique about you that makes it hard for you to find meaning in work. Okay. So I'm just gonna put that out there as like an overarching thing. I think everybody can, if they want to, find some meaning in work. I will say though that I don't think that you have to find meaning in work. I think that it is over-blown, the idea of finding your passion or finding this one thing. And I think if you can find meaning outside of work and you are okay with, that's totally a fine way to live. There's nothing wrong with that. I would not get caught in, you know, the Instagram quotes that, you know, have everybody living their best life because I don't think that's really true either. So I think if you've decided like listen my job is gonna pay for my lifestyle and I don't need it to fulfill me. I don't need it to be some like great passion project and I'm gonna really like live into my days outside of work and really enjoy my evenings and my weekends and work is just kind of a means to an end. I think that is a fantastic attitude. You can have some great thoughts around that and you can be fine but if you want to find meaning in your work, I believe that you wholeheartedly, I wholeheartedly believe that you can, okay. Now you said something in this, cause you said maybe I don't wanna quit and go from job to job. Quitting may not be the right answer. I don't wanna go from practice area to practice area. And I will say this to that, the way that we derive meaning is through our thoughts. Okay. I've talked about this before. When people talk, even about their purpose, I say this a lot, like when I was a lawyer, as a public defender, I believed my purpose was in giving a voice to the voiceless. I believed in standing up for people that were getting kind of trampled by the criminal justice system. I wholeheartedly believed in that purpose. I found a lot of meaning in that. Now as a life coach, I wholeheartedly believe that my purpose is to help people suffer less. It's to hel- give people the tools to end so much of the needless suffering that they have going on in their lives.
How I found those purposes, that meaning, whatever is, I just decided. It's just my thoughts. Right? I just decided that this brings me a lot of purpose. I love this aspect of it. Right. I focus on that and that grows and that's all anybody does. Anybody that finds any meaning or purpose or anything in what they do is simply because they just choose to think those thoughts. There's no like committee, there's no purpose committee that gives you a stamp of approval and says like you know what? You're allowed to find meaning in this work. And so the reason I say that is to say you could find meaning really in any work, anything you do, cuz if you change your thoughts about it, if you start looking at like what is the gran-, like what are we doing here? Who are we helping? How does this, what, how is this a needed service in society? How is this moving the needle forward in one way or another? Whatever it might be, you could likely come up with thoughts that would provide meaning for you. And the more you focus on that, the more you would find meaning. Okay. Like instead of what we tend to focus on, which is all the thoughts of why we hate the work we're doing. Okay. So I will say that but I will also say if like you're looking for the thing that lights you up, if you're looking, if you're looking for the thing where your natural talents and uh abilities and your unique personality finds a lot of uh joy in and and finds a lot of excitement or whatever that just might not be in this field. That doesn't mean you can't find work like meaning from work. And that doesn't mean you can't find some meaning in a legal career but I'm just saying, if you want to find the thing that you find extremely fulfilling and meaningful, you absolutely can. It is out there. There are millions of ways to make money. You just have to decide is this something that I'm willing to leave this career for and go on this journey to like figure out who I am, what I love, what it is I wanna do, how I would get paid or am I just happier getting a paycheck, staying here and finding fulfillment out of outside of work. There is no right or wrong answer here. It's just what you value more. It's just where you wanna spend your time. And that decision can change. You can decide that for now I wanna stay put and I wanna just collect that paycheck. And I wanna focus on my life outside of work and then in five years or in a year or in six months or in 10 years or whenever, you can decide again like oh no, I really wanna find something that lights me up. It’s one of those, a very long winded way of saying this but like I definitely don't want you to think that there is something just different about certain people and they just can't ever find fulfillment in what they do for work. I don't believe that for a second. I just do believe that like you may not find it in the traditional way that we work. You may not find it in corporate America. You may have to find it in kind of like the new way that so many people are making livings. And that might be like you were saying you like to read or you like to be with your dog. I mean, there's so many things around that. I'm not saying you have to turn those into work. I'm just saying like there are places to explore. Like what is it that I truly love doing? How are there ways to make money in that? Am I willing to leave my job and this career to explore that? Whatever that answer is for you, I think is totally fine. Okay. Last question I'm gonna answer. This one didn't come in a voice note but it came on my Instagram post and I just thought it was such a good question that I wanted to answer it here. I had posted something on Instagram. If you're not following me, what are you doing? Get over there @LessonsFromAQuitter. I posted something, I think it said something like repeat after me: I will not work over the weekend, I deserve rest. And somebody posted what do you recommend for those in professions that require off the clock work? I'm a teacher and if I don't spend quite a few hours working each weekend, I can't teach on Monday. I want a better way but I can't figure it out. And I think that's a fantastic question that I'm assuming a lot of people suffer from. So I wanted to answer that here. Okay, here's the thing, what this requires for every person that has this, is to get brutally honest and do a very truthful assessment of what the job actually requires and what parts of it is your people-pleasing and your perfectionist traits. Okay? I'm not saying that there aren't things that you may have to do outside of work. But I think that oftentimes, especially when we go into fields where we went in order to help, like teachers, right? Like you go in because you want to provide some kind of service, you wanna help some group of people. You feel called to do that work. And you tend to be people who like to give of yourself, which is fabulous to a certain extent but we end up just martyring ourselves. Right? I think when you combine the need to wanna help with our people-pleasing and wanting everybody to like us, it can be a very dangerous thing. And so what I say, what I mean, like an honest assessment, I want you to look at like what are the things that I'm doing because I have a ton of thoughts of like I wanna be a team player, I want my boss to like me, I can't say no, if I say no, they're gonna think that I'm, you know, whatever, fill in the blank, I'm not good enough, I'm mean, I am not like trying to be cooperative, whatever, or the best thought of all: if I don't do it, no one else will. Right? Like that's still not a reason that you need to do anything. And so I see people who, especially like even teachers, I would really get clear on like where are you volunteering for like committees to be on? Like where are you doing a lot of unpaid labor and you're just sort of accepting that this is part of the job? And is it really part of the job? Like what happens if you say no? Is it that you get fired? Is it that you're just not like the teacher pet? You're not, you know, best friends with the administrators? What is actually going on? Because I think oftentimes it's not a as a matter of like how much we have to work, it's like the discomfort of not doing it perfectly. Like even in when we are doing, let's say you have to work a little bit on the weekends in order to teach, are you going above and beyond because it always has to be perfect? What you wanna start figuring out is like where are you going above and beyond because you want it to be perfect? Okay. Like what what is actually required for you to finish the job? And what is it because you wanna be the best number one, most amazing teacher? And it's okay if you want to be that, there's nothing wrong with that. Okay. The problem is that usually because it's driven by thoughts that aren't helpful because you don't actually want to do it, you're just doing it because, you know, you don't want people to be mad at you or you don't want, like you feel so uncomfortable if there are certain balls that have dropped, like if nobody else is doing it, you pick up the slack for everybody. The problem is that you become resentful and you burn out, right? And then you quit, which is what happens all the time. And so part of this is really just even kind of longevity of the profession of staying in a certain field. Like how do I protect my own mental health, my own energy levels? What I can do? Is it better to not be a teacher at all? Because it's too much versus like doing B- work, right? I'm still there for the kids. Do they need an A+ teacher? I don't know. Like that's a question you have to answer. I just see so many people doing this stuff and thinking that they have to stay late. They have to work on the weekends. And when we dig a little bit deeper, that's not actually true. Right. They end up staying late because they feel bad because somebody like schedules the meeting at five o'clock or something. And it just requires having the difficult conversation of like I'm done at four. And I usually leave so I'm not going to stay for that meeting. Can it be earlier in the day or turning down committees to be on. I am not cleaning up other people's messes. I always hear this, this may not be with teachers, but I hear this all the time when people will tell me like yeah, like someone's quit or this person quit or got fired or whatever and now I've ended up having to do the work of two people. And I'm always like why? How did that just happen? Why did you agree to that? Right? Like why haven't we had these discussions? Because the thing is is that as long as you're gonna do it for free, they're gonna give you that work. They're not gonna hire somebody else. It's in their best interest for you to do it. Okay. And I understand like with school systems and stuff, like people talk about how underfunded they are and they had they may not have the money but that's the thing is like you have to understand like what are you willing to take on? And what is your responsibility versus what is not? You are not responsible for the entire school district and how much resources there are for these kids. You're responsible for what they hired you for and what you can give. You're responsible for your own time and your energy. You're responsible for what you take on. And if you choose to take something on, then manage your mind around it so that you're not burning out, so that you're not resent. But what we all do is like we say the yes because we want everyone to like us. We say the yes because we wanna do the best, most perfect job. We wanna be the best teacher there is. We wanna like be the A+ student. We wanna be the teacher's pet, so to speak and no pun intended, like speaking about teachers. I just think for everyone of us, it's like we want our boss to love us. We wanna be thought of as like the best employee. And then we're just angry and resentful and burned out the whole time. And we're so mad that other people aren't picking up the slack. And so my recommendation for people doing quote unquote off the clock work is like take a real inventory of what you have to do and why and what you're only doing because you are afraid of having the difficult conversation with your boss. And maybe it gets to the point where you decide like this isn't gonna work out because I'm not gonna do the work of two people. Right? Like I don't mean to say that there is no consequences ever. Maybe the decision becomes like in order to protect my own mental health of the amount that I'm willing to do, like I'm only willing to work 40 hours a week. Like you signed up for a job, you did not sign up to martyr yourself. And you have to keep reminding yourself of that. That just because they decide to pile on more, does not mean that you need to take it on. You need to learn to advocate for yourself. You need to learn to talk about what you need and what you can do. You need to learn to put up boundaries. You need to learn to say no. And then within that you can decide like yeah, maybe there's a committee you do want to be on. Maybe you wanna help the kids in some way. That's fine. Then that doesn't come from a place of resentment. And that's what leads to burnout, right? That becomes a choice, like making a very calculated choice of what I want to take on, either to help or for my future growth. But oftentimes we're not making these like conscious decisions. We're just like taking on whatever they pile on us. And that's the problem. So get very truthful with yourself about what you're doing and why you're doing it and how much you are willing to take on and how much you're not. And then have those difficult conversations. Alright my friends, that was super fun. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did and you want more of these types of episodes or you have your own question that you wanna ask, go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/podcast and leave me a voicemail. Let me know what's on your mind and we'll do some more Q&As. Alright y'all, I'll see you next week.
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