Finding the Music Inside of You
I know we can all feel low and sometimes our motivation, or even the belief in ourselves, can fluctuate. Clearly, we all have good reason to drag at this moment. But, we don’t have to lay down and give in for too long. That said, if you are struggling, as many people are these days, give yourself that permission, too.
I want to share a heart-warming story of a client I worked with who had no real inspiration or belief.
A decade ago I asked an 18 year old young man about his aspirations for the future and he said, “I’d be content with a single small apartment, a shower, a microwave and a TV.”
Perhaps, this would be sufficient for some people, but I knew Jeremy had more in him.
At the time, this was the only vision he could conjure up until he began to believe in greater possibilities, which you can read about at the end of this post. This is a story about inspiration and the power of human connection.
If you are having trouble getting started on a project, deciding on a new path forward or choosing an activity to engage in, you are not alone. This is an emotional/energy problem that you can solve if you work the steps below.
In this post you will learn 4 keys to unlock your inspiration and also know which traps to avoid:
- Build Momentum through Action: It’s tempting to wait for the feeling of inspiration to strike. If you are allowing your mood to dictate your actions, you may never get started. Try to not let your emotions run the show. Once you make a little progress your energy will increase. Just take one little step forward and begin. This 1-2 combination of action plus momentum will defy inertia–what is in motion stays in motion. Nike’s slogan was a success for a reason: ” JUST DO IT.”
- Cultivate Intrinsic Motivation: It’s too easy to get fixated on the results of our efforts rather than the enjoyment of the activity itself. Remember, that doing what you enjoy doing will lead to both more satisfaction (even “flow”), and often, more success. As you probably know, being grateful and savoring the experience can help you stay in the present to enjoy what you’re doing. Judgment and results will usually kill the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity. So, be on guard for the negativity.
- Believe in Possibilities: Sometimes you may diminish yourself and think you can’t do something well. This creates doubt and hesitation increasing the chance that you won’t even attempt, which is the greatest risk of all. Understand that this is just your ego trying to protect itself. If you are thinking about doing something, it is likely that there is a big part of you that wants to try. Believe in possibility and increase your willingness to go for it.
- Play for Yourself: It’s human to consider how others might view you as you move toward a new goal, project or hobby. Remind yourself that if you enjoy it, if you want to become good at it, that’s what matters. It is far more likely that anyone judging is not doing anything signifiant or engaging themselves.
What are your top 3 activities that you enjoy doing the most?
Here are my top 3:
- Playing tennis
- Learning and connecting with engaged and curious people
Please write down your top three. I don’t want you to do anything with this list necessarily–yet. See where your mind goes over the next couple of days. But, here’s the challenge. If you start imagining doing one of these things more, try not to entertain the benefits, time or outcome of the activity. Just imagine yourself doing it for the sake of it. Give yourself permission to engage.
So, what happened to Jeremy who believed his future would include an apartment, a TV and microwave?
Well, I received a note from him not long ago and here’s what he shared with me: “In the past fifteen months, I’ve earned an undergraduate in law, lived in Japan for my first job with Nichii Gakkan as a legal translator, fought in Japanese sword martial arts known as kendō, moved to the Netherlands, and started studying a Master’s in International Law and Policy.”
He’s now working for the FBI.
Choose to believe in yourself. I have seen transformation with more than a thousand people with whom I’ve worked over the past 22 years in and out of sports. By connecting with someone or something that lights your fire and having the courage to pursue it with tenacity, you will find deep satisfaction as well as a sense of accomplishment.
You have more music inside of you just waiting to come out.
Please send me a note and let me know what is bringing you some peace or joy while we wait for the next phase of your life to begin! Please stay safe and healthy.
If you are a competitive tennis player or coach, Craig O’Shannessy and I would be delighted to have you join us on our live video Q&A chat tomorrow, May 8th at 10am PST. We will be discussing winning tactical patterns and how to create your optimal mindset under pressure.
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Thank you Jeff, good stuff. My project is trying to convince the health officials of Napa and Solano county’s that tennis can be played in a safe environment. Right now golf is allowed and tennis is not . I cannot do the job of teaching tennis that I love. Very depressing.