Because I have spent a lifetime in sales and write and speak on this topic, people often ask me for advice about staying motivated and inspired in the face of everyday frustrations. I guess they think that having been said “no” to so many times, I must have all the answers when it comes to remaining upbeat each day. As it happens, I do have a few thoughts on this subject and thought you might find them of some value.
- Fall in love with your work. No matter what your job or station in life, give all you have to give every moment. Believe me: Hard work and commitment are contagious, and once you get into the habit of giving yourself to your job, good things happen. Your bosses will begin to take notice, and when they are looking for people to fill an opening, they’ll remember your commitment and positive attitude. On the flip side, nobody wants to be around someone who is always down, always complaining. Energy is such a big part of success, and negative people have trouble summoning the will to do a good job. Inevitably, negativity is for losers.
- Seek inspiration from people who have conquered the odds. I had the pleasure of meeting Butch Lumpkin at the Fall IDN Summit in Phoenix. He’s a great golfer and a wonderful tennis player. Many of you may not be old enough to remember, but one of the most tragic drug recalls occurred back in the 60s when Thalidomide, prescribed to pregnant women for morning sickness, was taken off the market after it was linked to horrifying deformities in newborns. One of the “Thalidomide babies” was Butch Lumpkin, who was born without much in the way of arms even though the rest of his body was well-formed. He shoots golf in the 70s and can play tennis with some of the top players in the world. He thinks of his handicap as a challenge and opportunity that the good Lord has placed in his way. He told me he gets up inspired every day of his life because of the challenges he is about to face.
- Get plenty of sleep, lay off the booze and hit the track. Sleep is a healer; if you don’t get enough of it, your body will eventually break down and so will you. Then we come to booze and drugs. OK, having the occasional drink or two with family and friends is fine, but daily use of substances both legal and illegal is escape from life, not living. Unless you have all your wits about you day to day you just might miss the greatest opportunity of your life. So take care of your body and develop good habits like working out every day.
- Read and write. Turn off the laptop and TV, and read books as much as you can. From time to time, write down your thoughts on paper. Lots of people find daily diaries important. It is a way of keeping yourself aware of where you are headed and remembering what transpired. In keeping with my theme, it is also a time of inspiration, a way of generating new ideas. I find writing to be a thinking time. Write thank-you notes when someone does you a favor, or personal letters to customers thanking them for their business. And I don’t mean emails; I’m talking about actually writing letters the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper. Remember, the first letter anyone opens is the hand-written note.
- Listen to life. Take out the earbuds when running or walking. Turn off the cell phone and pager. Enjoy the cry of a baby or a bird or the laughter of a fellow human being. Listen with all the things at your disposal like your eyes and ears and intuition. Life is going on all around you, and yes, it is inspiring!
- Love others. People have love in their lives are happier, healthier and more productive. Studies prove it. Having a wealth of human interaction is essential to staying motivated and inspired. Spend time thinking about your friends, your family and how important they are to you.
- Take stock of who you are. See yourself anew through the eyes of others by seeking out and listening to advice and evaluations of your work. Talk openly about your goals and aspirations. Evaluating yourself can serve as inspiration and motivation for the rest of your life. Too many of us are too afraid to look at ourselves objectively; we don’t want to face ourselves and realize who we truly are. It’s a tough process but it always pays off.
- Never give up. Understand that if you shrink from challenges, life will be a series of disappointments and frustrations. If you stay on the field and give life a chance so many wonderful things will come your way! Yes, you will make many mistakes, but you will grow from them, perhaps more than from your successes.
Maybe Samuel Butler had it right when he wrote “Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.” We are here a short time but if you care about others, listen, face every day with courage and resolve, treat others with dignity and respect, work hard, make friends and give your all each day, you can’t help but be motivated and inspired. It’s the easiest road to success in life.