Letter From The Editor: Passion + Motivation … one in the same

Each week, I hear from people who say things like, “I start with good intentions, but I can’t seem to maintain my consistency for a long period of time.”

Or, they will say, “I struggle with keeping on track. I get started but I can’t seem to follow through and stay focused for very long.”

Sound familiar? Yea, me too. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

For example, I’ll start one project, work on it for a little bit, lose focus and try something else. Then I’ll lose focus on my new goal and try something else. See the cycle? It use to be so frustrating! Especially because I am sincerely passionate about everything I start, I just use to have the hardest time finishing things up. At the end of the day I was left with a whole bunch of unfinished projects. It would break my heart.

This problem reminds me of a lesson I learned one day from one of my mentors.

The Myth:

On this particular day, we had just finished getting a list of volunteers together for the Virginia Greek Picnic ( one of my first on site jobs after graduation). My mentor at the time was a young lady by the name of Alexis Jaye. At the time she was a radio personality, and was involved and handled everything in our area. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING ! Alexis was and still is a huge vessel in the community. I couldn’t have asked to run into a better person.

Alexis was one of the very first mentors I had when I entered the field, and I worked under her for years. One of the things I always admired about her was that she went into each and every day with the same enthusiasm and work ethic as she did the last. No matter how the day ended, she was back at it everyday with the same amount of energy, it was admirable and her spirit was contagious. I’m forever grateful for Alexis.

One day while getting a roster going, I simply asked her, “What’s the difference between the best in this industry and everyone else? How do you really get to the top? What do the really successful people do that most people don’t?”

At first, she stated the obvious, ” Talent,” “Connections,” “Who you know,” … etc.

However she followed up with something that I wasn’t really expecting…

“At some point,” she said, “It comes down to who can handle the boredom and disappointment of working every day and doing the same thing over and over and over again.”

That piece of advice surprised me because it was different, but by far some of the realest advice I have ever received.

Most of the time people talk about getting motivated and “amped up” to work on their goals. Whether it’s business or sports or art, you will commonly hear people say things like, “It all comes down to having enough passion.”

As a result, I think many people get depressed when they lose focus or motivation because they think that successful people have some unstoppable passion and willpower that they seem to be missing. In reality, that’s exactly the opposite of what she  (Alexis) was saying.

Instead, she was saying that really successful people feel the same boredom and the same lack of motivation that everyone else feels. They don’t have some magic pill that makes them feel ready and inspired every day. However, the difference is that the people who stick with their goals don’t let their emotions determine their actions. Top performers still find a way to show up, work through the boredom of doing the same routine, and embrace the daily practice that is required to achieve their goals.

It’s the ability to do the work when it’s not easy that separates the top performers from everyone else. That’s the difference between professionals and amateurs.

When Work Doesn’t Feel Like “Work.”

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.

When I first graduated from college, I had a whole bunch of gigs and internships within the radio industry. I did have some days that were to be completely honest…really shitty. Those days prepared me for better days. Every step of the way whether it was a fun day or a groundhog’s day brought in new lessons. Even now as an entrepreneur, I take in all the creative processes and phases in stride and know that it is all part of my bigger picture. The good  results have a way of propelling you forward.

But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?

It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy … Thats the difference.

It’s Not the Event, It’s the Process

All too often, we think our goals are all about the result. We see success as an event that can be achieved and completed.

Here are some common examples…

  • Many people see health as an event: “If I just lose 20 pounds, then I’ll be in shape.
  • Many people see entrepreneurship as an event: “If we could get our business featured in the New York Times, then we’d be set.
  • Many people see art as an event: “If I could just get my work featured in a bigger gallery, then I’d have the credibility I need.”

Those are just a few of the many ways that we categorize success as a “single event.”

If you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.

What’s funny, of course, is that this focus on the process is what will allow you to enjoy the results anyway…

If you want to be a great writer, then having a best-selling book is wonderful. YET, the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of writing.

If you want the world to know about your business, then it would be great to be featured in Forbes magazine. HENCE, the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of marketing.

If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20 pounds might be necessary. HOWEVER, the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently. In fact, that just might make you happier as a person overall.

If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want.

In other words…

Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.


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