Motivated Me: The Difference Between Success & So-So

by | Sep 18, 2019

Motivated Me: The Difference Between Success and So-So

One of my sales jobs required the sales team to go to the office one day each week for a call day. Theoretically, it’s when we’d schedule our appointments for either that week or the following one.

Some days the stars aligned, and that’s exactly what happened. You’d book lots of appointments, then all would be happy for you and the metric counters above you — or at least until the next call day.

Other days, you’d dial, and dial, and not get one appointment. You’d pray after each dial someone would answer the phone. However, if they did answer, the desperation in your voice basically thwarted any hopes of getting an appointment. You’d want to hide in the bathroom, under your desk, or even better — get food poisoning at lunch so you could go home.

One day when this was happening to me, I told my boss, “I wouldn’t want an appointment with me either.” I felt like a loser.  

Motivation naturally happens when everything goes well or as planned. In this case, every appointment scheduled refueled my motivation tank. 

Motivation fades when you aren’t meeting your goals — especially when you’re really trying. So, you start to feel like you have a big “L “for loser tattooed on your forehead. Bad call days meant every dial felt forced, and if someone answered the phone, your nonexistent confidence left you sounding timid.

However, it’s those days when I didn’t get any appointments or very few that were defining. Not the easy, successful days.  

I was a successful salesperson at that company — and was consistently in the top 5% of salespeople out of around 600. I even won the coveted President’s Club Award and trips more than once.

However, overall success didn’t mean I didn’t have bad days, heck, bad months. Those days could have motivated me to settle for so-so, or worse failure.   

But, the hard days are when your inner “motivated me” decides if you’re going to rise up and be successful, or settle for so-so, or even allow yourself to fail.

How often do you aspire to settle for “so-so”? Probably never, or at least rarely.

Okay, occasionally you may settle for so-so, because it’s either practical from a time management reality or your priority list.

For example, you get assigned one of those tasks that really don’t pertain to your job like, say, take this online class. After initially rolling your eyes, complaining to your teammates and maybe your boss, you take the class and barely pass the test you take to prove you “watched” the videos. So, you settled for so-so, and that’s fine.

Success doesn’t mean always doing everything perfectly. You can be successful even when you’re not perfect. In fact, success is most often about knowing when to aspire to excellence, and when you can be so-so — but that’s another article.

So, how do you find your “motivated me” when you need it most?

Motivation Is Unique To Everyone

Your “motivated me” may need to be customized to different situations. It’s also different from person to person. What motivates one person may demotivate another.  

For example, if you have a big appointment but wake up feeling so-so, you’ll need a quick motivation booster — caffeine, dance to your favorite get-moving song, meditate, exercise or stand in your super hero pose — hands behind your back like wings. One or two of these things probably appeal to you, and the others make you want to crawl back in bed and cover your head.

On a different day, if you didn’t sleep well, and you wake up not feeling like your perky self, but you don’t have any hard deadlines, meetings or appointments, then maybe you can take a mental health day.

Even science is proving mental health days are healthy. However, if you take one, then really let work go for the day. Binge watch a show, read a book, golf, go to the movies or get a massage. Give your mind, body and soul a real break, so start by turning off all electronics, including your work phone.

Feed Your Head

You are naturally predisposed to what’s known as “negativity bias.” Negativity is an obvious motivation zapper. Simply defined, negativity bias means that your brain always looks for situations that make you unsafe — it derives from our ancestors living in caves, always worried about being food for something big and furry, or not finding food. So, one might say it’s natural to be a little pessimistic.

However, you can balance nature by feeding your head with positive thinking:

  • Read or listen to motivational books for at least 15 minutes a day.

  • Ask positive questions. When challenges appear, ask yourself, “How do I find a solution despite XYZ obstacles?” Your brain works like a computer and looks for answers to your questions even when you’re not consciously thinking about them. It’s why it’s important to base your thoughts on facts, even if you don’t like them, instead of hypotheticals, false fears or untruths.

  • When negative zappers pop in your mind, note them. Then ask if it’s a real concern or an unlikely fear. If it’s a realistic concern, try to find a solution so you can quiet the negative, but natural, thoughts. If it’s an unrealistic fear, recognize the solution is that it’s statistically unlikely to happen.

Find A Mentor

We all need mentors. Your mentor should be someone wiser than you who helps you address your concerns, and who will also push you beyond your comfort zone. Mentors are your cheerleader and coach. They remind you to stay on track and that you can do it. And they are also like a parent, because they inspire, motivate and if needed force you to grow even when you resist it.

And, just like when your parents taught you to ride your bicycle without training wheels, it’s motivating, sometime even life-changing, when you walk through the discomfort and feel success because of your mentor.      

The positively, absolutely best thing about motivation is that it starts with your mindset — of which you have considerable control of. It’s making sure you think the right things, so you do the right things. Thoughts without actions are only dreams. Thoughts with actions become successes.

A “motivated me” mindset keeps your actions in alignment with your dreams, so you can successfully make forward motion towards your goals — especially on the days it’s easy to let so-so redefine your dreams, goals and aspirations.

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