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Do What You Don’t Feel Like Doing!

Last week I posted something to my social media that got a lot of likes and comments so I decided it would be the focus of this week’s blog post. Early one morning, when I was very tired, I wrote:

“Poor night of sleep, awoke at 2:30, decided to get out of bed at 3:30. Very tired when 5:30 rolled around. The LAST thing I wanted to do was run. BUT, I’ve learned that doing the right thing, the hard thing, is MOST important when you don’t FEEL like it. The moon was full, the run was good and it’s off to another great day.”

Can You Relate?

I’m sure you can relate to what I was feeling. We’ve all been there before. Maybe you stayed up too late watching television. Perhaps you had too much food and drink the night before. Sometimes you wake up and just don’t feel well.

Whatever the reason, we all have days when we don’t “feel” like doing things…even things we know will be good for us.

The Choice

How our lives unfold is primarily a result of the choices we make. Stuff happens and some people have much more adversity to overcome. But never forget; no matter what you’re facing you always have a choice in how you will respond.

Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, learned this valuable lesson during his three years of imprisonment. I’ve shared his quote before but it’s worth posting again because I want to encourage you:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

No matter what, until your last breath, YOU get to choose where you will place your thoughts! And your thoughts will determine your behavior and that will be the driving force for your life.

The Feeling

Last week it would have been easy to hit the alarm and gone back to sleep. I’ve learned that we humans can justify almost any action. Maybe you can relate to these thoughts that ran through my mind:

  • I’ll get the run in later today.
  • I’ll hit it harder tomorrow.
  • Skipping one workout won’t matter.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself.

To use healthy living as an example; one meal doesn’t make or break a diet. One workout doesn’t make or break training. It’s the accumulation of meals that makes the difference in gaining or losing weight. It’s the accumulation of workouts that make or break fitness. Each starts with a choice.

Flexible Discipline

Friends say I’m one of the most disciplined people they know. I take pride in that because I’ve worked hard for decades on how I approach life and it’s nice when people notice that hard work. However, I know I’m no different than you or anyone else. I’ve not been endowed with a discipline gene.

I’m fortunate that I had good coaches and mentors along the way. If you have not had such luck, make it a point to seek out a mentor or coach today.

I’ve learned over the years what works and what doesn’t when it comes to my personal growth. I try to shed what doesn’t work, leverage what works, and remain open to new and better ways to approach things.

In other words, while I’m disciplined I try to maintain flexibility. If my routine has to change I’m okay with that because I’ll figure out a new routine that will serve me well.

Conclusion

Here’s my perspective; much of life is about sustained effort. In college I quickly realized studying consistently, as opposed to cramming, led to better learning and good grades. When I went off to college my dad told me to treat school like a business. Put in the work every day, all day, then you can have fun at night and on the weekends. He was right!

When it came to lifting weights or running, there were no “secret” workouts. It was a willingness to grind it out every day in a smart, disciplined way.

To Do This Week

To build the discipline that will lead to success in whatever you desire to do won’t be easy. I’m just being honest and you know it’s true. Change is never easy but it’s also not impossible. If it’s not impossible that means you can do it and it starts with a choice each and every day. Make the choice to the hard thing, the right thing, the thing you don’t feel like doing but know you should, and success will eventually make its way to your doorstep.

A couple of resources you might want to look into are the following:

  • Pick up the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s the best book on forming and breaking habits that I’ve read.
  • Watch this video from Mel Robbins on The 5 Second Rule. She will encourage you that one decision can change your life.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live this sum. It’s been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in the insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling since launching.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courseshave been viewed by more than 75,000 people! His latest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available so make sure you check it out.

Choices, Books and People Define Who You Become

Last week I was reminded that the choices I make, the books I read and the people I associate with have a huge impact on who I’ve become. And those same things impact who you are and who you will become.

I was reminded of this when hosted a podcast for the first time. At State Auto Insurance we decided to start our own sales podcast we’re calling “Everybody Sells State Auto” or “ESSA” for short. It will be a learning opportunity for our field sales people during their drive time.

For the initial podcast I had the privilege of interviewing a longtime friend, coworker and boss, John Petrucci. John is the Senior Vice President of Customer Service at State Auto and came up with the ESSA slogan many years ago. Because of that, and his impending retirement at the end of the year, I thought it fitting to have him as our first guest.

During our hour-long conversation he shared this nugget of wisdom: You’re who you are because of the choices you’ve made over the course of your life. He went on to say the two choices that probably define you more than anything else are the people you associate with and the books you read. That’s sound advice worth exploring a little further.

Choices

When it comes to choices it’s tempting to think they don’t really define you because so many things happen that are outside of your control. It’s certainly true that you may have no control over some events but you do control how you respond to those events.

If you only focus on the fact that events are outside your control you’ll probably feel helpless, like a victim. Or, you can make thoughtful responses to the events of life in hopes of achieving the outcomes you desire. Does the death of a loved one, loss of a job, cancer or some other tragic event define you or will you make choices to define yourself? Viktor Frankl learned this lesson during his incarceration in Nazi concentration camps. He came to realize that people always retain the freedom to choose and therefore each of us can define our purpose and life.

People

You may have heard your parents warn you against associating with the wrong crowd growing up. They might have said, “You’ll be known by the company you keep.” They understood if you hung out with the wrong crowd you were likely to be lumped in with that group no matter how you behaved. It’s called guilt by association and right or wrong it happens.

As an adult are you spending time with people who will make you better? That doesn’t mean only associating with people who are better off than you are. It could be helping someone not as fortunate as yourself. Serving others might increase your appreciation for what you have and help you grow as a person.

On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to seek out people who are succeeding in life personally and professionally. By observing people who are doing well you’ll get ideas you can apply in your life to increase your odds of success. Experience may be the best teacher but you don’t need to fail if you can learn from others experienes. This approach will speed up your learning process while avoiding some costly mistakes.

Books

Last year I wrote about 5 Books that Radically Influence My Life. The article struck a chord with people because it was the most read blog post I’ve ever written. Beyond that handful of books, nearly every other book I’ve read has had some impact on me just as each meal or workout adds to my health and wellness.

Food feeds the body and reading feeds the mind! What are you feeding your mind with on a regular basis? There are so many benefits to learning through reading but I’d like to point out just one – developing your uniqueness.

You and I can read the same books but based on your prior experiences, current job and unique viewpoints you’re likely to draw different conclusions and come up with different ideas from just about anyone else. In other words, what you take in will help stimulate your thinking and growth which will make you uniquely you.

Conclusion

This week I encourage you to take time to reflect on who you’ve become. Give thought to the decisions that have led you to where you are today. As you contemplate the future think about who you want to become. What people and books can help you achieve the future you? If you do that and take the necessary actions you’ll become the person you aspire to be.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE and Learning Director at State Auto Insurance. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 120,000 times! Have you seen it yet? Watch it and you’ll learn how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.

Do You Love What You Do?

You’ve probably heard the old saying; if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. This came to mind as I took an Uber to the airport last week and told the driver I love what I do. He said it’s really rare when he hears someone say that and he’s done nearly 400 Uber trips.

Do you love what you do? I love what I do but it’s still work. Some days are tougher than others and sometimes it’s hard to get going early in the morning. I certainly love my wife Jane more than work but marriage takes a lot of work and isn’t always fun either.

Having said that, I do believe if you love doing something it’s far easier to do it and to do it with passion. Love and passion both give you better odds for success. I first learned this through athletics. For example, when I was in college I ran the weightlifting club for three years. During that time, I competed in powerlifting and after college competed in bodybuilding for three years. I loved weight training and dieting so competition served as motivation to do what I loved with more energy and intensity. It made the hard work fun!

Start with Why

Most of this starts with the mind. Simon Sinek would ask what’s your why? That’s the first step. When I started lifting weights I didn’t love it right off the bat. I was doing it because I wanted to get bigger and stronger for football. It was hard and I was sore an awful lot but I kept focusing on the next football season.

With influence my why was sales. I was involved in sales training and when I came across Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion the light bulb came on. I remember thinking, “This explains all the sales techniques we teach. It’s the psychology that makes the techniques work.” With that understanding I was hooked!

Small Wins

You can’t expect success overnight so look for the small wins. These milestones can keep you excited and eventually enough wins show real progress. Another of my outside activities was taekwondo with my daughter Abigail. The small wins for us was the progression from white belt to black belt. Each time you reached a new plateau the new belt was a visible reminder of the progress we were making.

With my influence training the small wins come each time I do a keynote or workshop. I usually get evaluation feedback from attendees so I can see comments and scores that have improved over the years. Feedback from others is valuable in case I have blind spots but the real evaluation is self-evaluation. There are often little things I keep refining, things people in the audience might not consciously think about but add to making the event great for them.

Enjoy Success

We all like things more when we believe we’re having success. Unfortunately, some people never let themselves enjoy success. Taking time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished is a critical component of loving what you do.

Another physical activity I did for many years was run marathons and half marathons. In several I did really well for my size (an over 200 lbs. runner) and I made sure I allowed myself to enjoy my performance. I’ve heard some people who do nothing but belittle their accomplishments saying things like:

“The competition wasn’t very good.” That’s not what everyone who finished behind you said!

“There were not many people in my category.” You had the guts to enter the competition and others didn’t.

“It wasn’t as good as I did last time.” But you did it and that’s worth something even if you didn’t perform your best.

I just wrote about small wins in the form of feedback. Before I dive into the feedback after a presentation and begin to figure out what to do next I let myself enjoy the moment. If I feel like I gave a great presentation I’ll tell people “I killed it” and relish it for a while. One organization said they’d not gotten feedback as high as mine except for the time Colin Powell spoke! I’m proud of that and still let myself enjoy that moment.

Only after I’ve enjoyed success for a while do I jump in and start strategizing about what needs to change next time so I can do even better.

Let’s recap. If you know why you do what you do, you’re continually seeing small wins, and you allow yourself to enjoy your success that’s a sure-fire way to enjoy, perhaps start loving, what you do. Don’t just meander through life, apply this three-step approach to whatever you’re doing and you will enjoy it more.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 100,000 times! Have you seen it yet? It will teach you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.