I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed on the Tie & Hoodie Show where I was asked how I’ve stayed motivated in my life to push through challenging circumstances and keep moving forward. It hasn’t always been easy.
Growing up, I wasn’t surrounded by a lot of positive influences. Living with my mother in Richmond, California, I was exposed to poverty, violence, and drug abuse. Like many young men in my neighborhood, at times, I wasn’t sure if I would ever have a chance to make something of myself. Despite my inauspicious beginnings and thanks in large part to my godparents’ encouragement, advice, and support, I was able to push through. I began to realize the importance of getting an education and started to apply myself.
My academic journey to higher learning began with the decision that I would be the master of my own ship. I was determined to be the one in control of both my personal and professional trajectory. So I went to college, eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Operation and Procurement.
I went on to work for Toyota, where I quickly moved up the ranks, all the while learning and developing my skills. I became an expert in lean management and eventually decided to become an entrepreneur, breaking away from Toyota and starting my own business.
I tell you all of this simply to point out that it all began with a decision. The decision to be the CEO of my own life. Was my path to success easy? By no means. Did I experience challenges and setbacks? Of course, but I pushed through, learning from mistakes and constantly growing.
So if you are in a situation where you feel trapped by your circumstances, I want you to know that you CAN reach for something more. You are the CEO of your own life. You can turn things around and achieve success, but it requires staying motivated and pushing through.
So how do you stay motivated when you feel the odds are stacked against you? Here are a few tips to help you when you’re feeling stuck.
Tips for Staying Motivated
Take a Step Back
When a situation feels overwhelming or hopeless, we start to believe our doubts. You need to take a step back from the problem to look at it rationally. Is the problem really as big as your mind is making it out to be? What logical steps can you take to minimize the negative impacts? When we’re in the midst of a crisis, the truth gets clouded by our doubts and fears, making decision-making difficult. That’s why separating yourself from the situation and taking a step back is essential to overcoming the problem.
Refocus on what is Good
When you’re struggling to stay motivated, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of negativity when things aren’t going in your favor. We tend to fixate on the problems without looking at the big picture. When that happens, it’s time to acknowledge what is going right. Take a moment to list all the things that you have achieved, big and small. By doing so, you’re refocusing and reminding yourself how energizing success feels. This can recharge your motivation and keep you moving forward.
Look Beyond the Moment
In times of adversity, it’s a good idea to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is your ultimate goal? Imagine a future where you’ve achieved your goal. What does that look like? What benefits are there to the achievement? Periodically reminding yourself that there’s a reason you started down this path in the first place can help you push beyond the temporary difficulties you’re experiencing.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
While each of these tips can help you reframe your situation, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Surrounding yourself with those who will support and encourage you can have a significant impact on your ability to persevere against the odds. Without the support, advice, and encouragement of my godparents growing up, I may not have realized that I even had options – that my life didn’t have to continue the cycle of poverty. When I struggled to overcome obstacles in my life, I knew that I could count on them to remind me of my strengths and purpose.