Musings from the CU Suite

Jun 14, 2012

Three Ways to Retrieve Personal Motivation; MDI

Written by Anthony Demangone

Even the best of us have days where motivation runs thin. There's no skip in the step.  There's no pep to be found.  

But work has to be done.

How do you reclaim that pep?  Here are three things that tend to work for me.

1.  Sweat it out...early.  Earlier, I wrote about habits and success.  In short, that post shared common habits of motivated and enthused people.  Two of those  habits have been paying dividends for me. One was to get up early.  The other was to work out.  I've been trying to do both, getting up at 5 a.m. or so to hit the treadmill.  The effects have been fantastic.  I feel energized, and I get ahead of the day.  I've had roughly an hour each day this week to drink coffee while I catch up on emails and my reading pile. When I've arrived at work, my desk was clear to focus on large projects right out of the gate.  While this is a way to regain motivation if you've hit a rough patch, it also is a great way to prevent motivation from leaving in the first place. 

2. Get some perspective.  During law school, there were times when exams, studying, or the overall stress of working and going to school wore me down.  When it happened, I'd take a Saturday and head out to Shenandoah National Park, specifically to Old Stony Man.  Sitting with a view of the Shenandoah Valley before me, I'd reflect.  I'd unwind.  I reminded myself how hard my Dad and grandfathers worked, and how my great-grandfathers risked a great deal to come to America.  In the whole scheme of things, my law school struggles were not a big deal.  But I owed it to them to roll my sleeves up and get back to work.

Those Saturdays worked like a charm.

You might not have the luxury of a free day, but perhaps you can pry a few loose minutes from your schedule to remind yourself of what you have and why you're working. It could be a photo of your family. Or famous people you respect. It could be a short walk through a flower garden. Whatever it is, use it to gain perspective get your mind back where it needs to be.

3.  Good reminders. From time to time, we need a gentle reminder.  Even though we know what to do most of the time, nudges in the right direction go a long way. John Spence recently gathered 90 motivational sayings on his blog.  They are worth your time, especially if you need a little kick in the pants.  Here are a few from his post...

  • You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
  • Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it
  • Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, etc…
  • No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Now, I'm curious - what motivates you?  If you have a motivational technique for yourself, please share it. I'd love to pass it along.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Here's a short update regarding NAFCU's Management Development Institute.

I've agreed join the fray, giving a talk on managing compliance risk, as well as giving a talk titled "20 ideas in 90 minutes."  The goal is to lead a discussion on 20 different management and leadership ideas, sharing resources and moderating discussion. 

We'll have more details on the conference shortly, which takes place November 12-16, at Duke University.  A number of Duke's faculty will be teaching as well, coupled with credit union CEOs and industry experts.  We hope to see you there.