Motivation: a strong will to act toward accomplishment. See also: an elusive but essential component in every creative’s toolbox.
We all know that creative work isn’t something that can be delivered at the snap of our fingers. And as much as we might long for the muse-led life, it’s not realistic to avoid the demands of business if we want to earn a living through our art. It is crucial for creatives to be able to stay internally motivated, so why is it so challenging for many of us? If you’ve started connecting the conversation about motivation to our March topic of needs, you’re on the right track.
Motivation is easy to keep when your needs are met. When you prioritize your needs, you automatically feel more motivated as a result. Ironically, forcing yourself to continue to work when your needs are not met leads to the loss of motivation. Today I want to talk about the incredible power we have to impact our level of motivation by simply taking care of ourselves.
Do you ever stop to think how many things influence your level of motivation? Are you too hot or cold? How did you sleep last night? When is the last time you ate? Are you feeling distant from your friends or family? Anxious about meeting a deadline? So many things that may seem inconsequential actually play a significant role in how motivated we feel. If we can learn to listen and respond accordingly, we set ourselves up for the rest to fall into place. Don’t force yourself to power through. Take the time to put on a sweater, grab a quick snack or journal your feelings. Open a window, drink some water or take a walk around the block for fresh air. Attuning to your basic physiological and emotional needs will create the space for you to CREATE.
Incorporating things into your life that make you happy is the key to maintaining motivation. If you aren’t setting aside time to go out, try new things, and experience life to its fullest, then what human experience will you be highlighting in your creative work? Staying motivated is really all about balance. There’s a difference between an intentional break in your routine to recharge and days of playing hooky and avoiding responsibility. Intentional breaks drive productivity. Try stepping away today during the hours you are usually productive. Take 15 minutes to walk to your local coffee shop and grab a cappuccino or read a fiction book to clear your mind. If you have a hard time pressing pause, try telling yourself that these moments, which have the power to help you stay on track, are also an important part of your work.
Our more complex needs play a role in our motivation as well. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of “if I just had this one thing, then I could do x, y, or z.” The human mind has a way of focusing on the one thing that’s missing rather than all of the things aren’t. And while it’s okay to have goals and things you’re working toward, it’s important to push back on the mindset that something is “missing.” I want you to consider a crazy idea. Maybe you already have what you need, even if it’s not exactly showing up in your life the way you hoped. A strong person will figure out how to use limitations as motivation (and I know you are a strong person). The next time you find yourself focusing on what’s lacking, try stepping back and reconsidering if you might already have what you need.
Motivation is directly linked to you taking care of yourself and not ignoring your needs. By recognizing our needs and meeting them, we’re able to proactively cultivate a mental space and a physical environment conducive to productivity. Does that mean you can take winter and make it summer for the sake of getting things done? Of course not. But it does mean that you know what kind of creativity you’re harnessing given a certain set of circumstances. Taking the time to make sure your needs, basic to more complex, are met, helps you ensure that motivation is easier to attain and maintain.
What is something you can do right now to impact your own productivity? Tell me in the comments! (I’m going to go make a smoothie and take 15 minutes to sit in the sunshine.)
And don’t forget, if you find yourself in need of a coach or accountability partner, I am here to help! I want to help you be the most creative YOU you can be. Check out my 1 on 1 coaching offerings HERE. I would love to work with you!