How To Be A Self-Starter

coaching May 06, 2020

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Motivation is a huge topic, but there are some simple strategies that can help you be a self-starter so that you can get things done efficiently and take action on what matters to you. What I want to share with you is how to motivate yourself, so that any external motivation is a bonus, but not the only way for you to take action. So that instead, you rely on your internal sources of motivation to propel you into action.

Normally when we are not motivated to do something it tends to be because we have lost connection with our big why. The reason we're doing this particular thing in the first place. Over the years working with creatives, we would speak about the importance of practice. When I checked in, for some it was not always easy for them to stick to their practice because they didn't feel motivated to do so.  I realised that for those clients who found it hard to motivate themselves to practise, it was simply because they lost their connection to why they must practice in the first place. For them it felt more like they should practice rather than must practice.

When this is the case, the first thing to do is to reconnect with your why, so that you can separate the ‘shoulds’ from the ‘musts’. This applies to anything you need to motivate yourself to do, not just the practice of a skill, but also general tasks or actions you need to take. Think about some area of your life right now where you may be lacking motivation and therefore not following through. What is the big why behind what you’re wanting to achieve? What are the rewards that this achievement will bring? Really go big on this and draw from it everything you can, so that you reignite your purpose and drive. 

Being a self-starter requires you take responsibility for your own actions.

As such it means being honest and direct with yourself when things aren’t moving or when you become complacent. Do your best to witness your own drawbacks so that you create the habits to support your own success. This type of awareness will encourage you to pave your own way forward.

A second motivating factor can be what drives you towards pleasure or what drives you away from pain. As human beings it is in our nature to go towards pleasure and away from pain. In some instances, you will act according to your perception of a pleasurable outcome and in others you will act according to your perception of a painful one. For example, some people are more motivated to go to the gym and exercise when they can envision the fit, healthy body they desire, the increase of good health and well-being and so on.

Others might be more motivated by the vision of themselves being unfit, unwell and unhealthy. Both are equally valid, as they are just opposite ends of the spectrum and everyone has their personal formula of what drives them either towards or away from something and these driving factors can be motivating.

So again, think about some area of your life right now where you may be lacking motivation. Which driver would work more for you in this particular instance? The pleasure driver or the pain? Which would entice you more into taking action? Working with singing clients, I would teach them how to use these pain and pleasure drivers to help motivate them into practice so that even the seemingly mundane tasks like breathing exercises and warm-ups would be a must and not a should.

And finally, the third piece of the motivation puzzle. Who else are you needing to take action for? The majority of the time when we do things, it may indeed start with our own needs, but more often than not it’s for the sake of helping others. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard someone say, ‘I’m doing this for my family’ or ‘I need to do this to prove I’m capable, prove I can really do it’ etc… The point here is that while being a self-starter requires inner work, it also requires us to look beyond ourselves to create purpose and momentum towards whatever we’re wanting to achieve.

So think about this area again where you may be lacking motivation. Who needs you to take action? Who are you wanting to serve? What’s the big picture here? One of my clients wanted to leave their corporate job and build their dream business. It wasn’t always easy to stay motivated and take action especially when fear popped up, perceived failures and obstacles, or simply when things were taking ‘too’ long to happen. I asked her what her reason was for wanting to make this change. Her response was something along the lines of, ‘I want freedom, I want to feel joy on a daily basis doing work that lights me up.’

I then asked what would motivate her more into taking action, the pain of staying in the job that she felt, bored, stifled and unappreciated in, or the thought of freedom and joy. For her it was clear that the pain of staying that job any longer was not an option and she already felt a shift in her motivation.

Lastly, I asked, apart from you, who are you leaving your job and building your business for?  Her response was, ‘my family deserves a happy wife and mother. My kids don’t deserve me to be stressed out after work every day. This job is robbing me of my quality moments with my family. It has to stop.

I share this story with you to give you a context of how you can motivate yourself, no matter the task. These are 3 simple strategies you can implement now, so you can get yourself moving and build momentum towards your goals. Pick one or use all three!

Remember to reconnect with your why so that you can separate the ‘shoulds’ from the ‘must, know what drives you towards pleasure or what drives you away from pain and know who else are you taking action for. Before you know it, you’ll be on the move again!


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