Do you ever wonder where you’d be if you’d started that thing you’ve been wanting to do sooner?
I do this often and that question has a million different answers. There was procrasti-cleaning to do, along with procrasti-furniture rearranging. Then I probably moved on to the procrasti-research phase, where I fell down a Youtube rabbit hole. Or Googled every possible variation on the thing I was researching till I had 100’s of tabs open in my browser and my laptop stopped functioning. Can you relate?
Why is it so hard to do something we know will be good for us or our businesses?
I know that hiding behind my procrastination and perfectionism is holding me back. But I still do it. And it’s time I stopped.
So how do we move past what’s holding us back?
I don’t know about you but I’m not one for hours of naval-gazing. So I’d like a practical tool that motivates and moves me fast. Motivated to step out of my comfort zone and do the thing that needs to be done. And it all starts by understanding motivation.
There are two main types of motivation: push and pull.
Push is the type of motivation I’m trying to use at the moment. Push motivation is all about the avoidance of pain. Actively pushing yourself away from either a source of current pain or the perception of an anticipated pain. So in my example, the ‘pain’ is that not doing the thing I know I need to do for myself or my business is keeping me stuck where I am. But getting it done will make my life much easier and the ‘pain’ of being stuck where I am will go away. For some, this can be a powerful motivator. Knowing things will get better once you’ve done the thing can push you to act to remove the pain. But not for me.
The problem with push motivation is the ‘pain’ you want to push away from needs to be bad enough to motivate you. So is my life completely unbearable not doing the thing I know will make my life better? No. It’s not, on the scale of unbearable to amazing, it’s a Meh! And doing the thing will be hard. It’ll be uncomfortable.
The same applies to anyone wanting to lose weight. Sure you’re uncomfortable being overweight. It’s painful to go into those overlit fitting rooms and try on clothing. But is the ‘pain’ more unbearable than having to diet or exercise every day to lose weight?
So push motivation isn’t going to help in this instance. Let’s look at pull-based motivation.
Pull-based motivation is all about the desire to achieve something. It’s Simon Sinek’s famous ‘Start With Why’. It’s about why the thing you need to do is important to you. It’s about taking action not to remove a current pain, but to bring yourself closer to a deeply desired goal. Of the two, pull-based motivation is the more positive motivator. Pull-based goals can be long-term and they can expand to create a new source of pull to an even cooler goal.
Simon Sinek shares a simple but powerful tool to clearly articulate your why. This will form your pull-based motivator. It’s a single statement to capture the reason why it’s important for you to do the thing you know you need to do. The why statement looks like this:
To ______ so that ______.
The first blank details the thing you know you need to do. The second captures the impact that doing the thing will have. So to return to the example of someone wanting to lose weight their why statement may be:
To lose weight so that I can play soccer with my kids without feeling like I want to die in 5 minutes.
And for my own problem:
To do the thing I know I need to do for my business so that my business can scale grow beyond just serving people on a 1:1 basis freeing up time for me to learn how to do new skills.
If you knew how much I love learning new skills then you’d know that’s a much more powerful motivator.
So which of these two motivators will help you stop procrastinating and do the thing you know you need to do?