Struggling to Get Motivated?

What are the tasks you really hate? Is it filling in your tax form? Doing your expenses? Or what about making cold calls?

What’s so annoying about these tasks is that they are really important, and you know it, but that doesn’t make them any more exciting.

You’ll find some tools and tips to get you moving that will make your life a lot easier.
During these difficult times, when we you need to be more motivated, strangely you can find yourself less motivated. Why is that?

Your Brain

If you start looking on the down side and seeing all the problems (and there are plenty of them right now), then this makes it harder to set goals and look ahead – exactly what you need to be doing. Worse than that, it makes it harder for you to see the opportunities that are out there (an there are plenty).

I’ve put together six specific techniques to help you get yourself motivated and keep yourself motivated. They are all things you can do right now.

On top of that, because I know this is so hard at the moment, I’ve put my booklet: “How to Motivate Yourself and Others” on special offer for a week.

Have you ever noticed that one of the weird things about tasks you hate is that they often aren’t as bad as you thought once you start them? So what is it that makes you think they are so bad beforehand?

Often it’s the way you are thinking about the task. You imagine how boring, stressful or unpleasant it’s going to be. You spend ages building the picture in your head.
You imagine how dreadful the other people involved will be and how painful the experience is going to be. You imagine being treated badly and not being able to respond effectively.

Is it surprising that you don’t feel motivated? Here are a few techniques to make it easier.

Some Things Just Aren’t Fun

This is undeniably the case, so why dwell on them? It’s much more motivating to think about how nice life will be when they are finished. That’s what people who find it easy to be motivated do. You can do the same.

It sounds obvious, but it’s worth a go.

Focus on what the improvements will be when you have finished the unpleasant task. Build a rosy picture in your mind of what that will be like. Imagine exactly what you will see, what you will feel and what you will hear.

Make it clear and bright; make the sounds loud and the feelings strong.

Make The Task More Pleasant

There are often ways that unpleasant tasks can be made more pleasant. One may be doing them in more pleasant surroundings, or listening to your favourite music while you do the task.

I don’t really like running, but I get over that by listening to thrillers on my iPod while I do it. When I have a particularly good one (at the moment I’m listening to Dracula) I find I can hardly wait to get out and hear the next instalment.

Think carefully about what you could do to make the task enjoyable. This can be hard at first because when you are contemplating unpleasant things your brain tends to shut down and just look on the dark side, refusing to admit there are opportunities for improvement.

However, those opportunities are always there. So talk it through with a friend and ask him or her for suggestions and how they do the same task.

Break it Down

Sometimes you make life difficult for yourself by planning to do a huge, gigantic horrible task all in one go. No wonder it’s no fun.

This can happen when you have a huge SMART goal or objective, that needs to be achieved, but it’s hard. An easy thing to do here is to break it into smaller parts and then make sure you do something you enjoy immediately after completing each part.

Check Your Attention Span

This is easy to do. Take a stopwatch and start it going as you embark on the dreadful task.  Stop it as soon as you find your mind wandering. Do this a few times and you’ll find the time is pretty consistent.

Now break the task up into sections that are just a bit shorter than your concentration span for that task.

Do something else between the sections.

Keep A Progress Chart

If you were a kid in the 70s you’ll remember the “Blue Peter” charts for raising money from milk bottle tops and other unlikely revenue sources.

What’s interesting about these charts is that they really motivate you. They don’t have to be complicated. Just a thermometer on the wall that you colour in is good enough.

Find Out How Someone Else Does It

One of the reasons you are not motivated sometimes is because you are not doing the task properly and are making it more difficult than necessary.  I discovered this when I worked with Penny Wing on our booklet Cold Calling For Hot Leads.

One of the reasons I found it so hard and hated it so much was because I was doing it in a way that made it even more difficult than it had to be. Penny loves cold calling. So she does it in much more enjoyable way. She has a system for doing it and is much more effective than people who don’t.

Get “How to Motivate Yourself and Others” now for just £5.50 (till Tuesday)
Go to

Or, for just £2 more
Get Cold Calling for Hot Leads as well.

Please share your best motivation techniques here.

Could You Spot A Double Agent?

Ever opened your mouth and put your foot right in? Perhaps in your appraisal, that sales meeting, the discussion with that awkward client, handling that complaint or even complaining about something you weren’t happy with?

It’s that awful feeling of wishing you hadn’t said what you did, or that you had said something different. You made yourself look really stupid or you somehow let someone else get away with murder.

Let me know and have your comments.

We’ve all been there. The thing is if you don’t know how to handle those situations you can make a real mess of them. What’s really stupid is that, once you know the secret, it’s just so easy. I’m going to tell you what it is right now.

The Secret

If you asked me to help you prepare for a difficult meeting, I would be getting you to focus on the questions. I’d be finding you some critical questions so you that you could get the results you needed. But I can tell you, most people just don’t realise how powerful questions are.

Why are questions so much more powerful than statements?

See what you think of each of these questions and statements:

  • Questions are really powerful.
  • What do you know about questions?
  • Why do you think questions can be more powerful than statements?
  • Are questions more powerful than statements?
  • What do you already know about questions?
  • What can questions do that statements can’t?
  • You should use more questions.
  • How will questions help you in your negotiations?
  • What is the difference between asking questions and giving your opinion?
  • Who controls the conversation: the questioner or the person answering the questions?
  • What have you noticed about the impact of asking effective questions?

Did you notice the different effect of each question? I hope so. The truth is a good question is much more effective than a statement and you can learn to use questions really effectively. Questions have a specific impact on your brain that statements just don’t have. They make you engage and respond.
You’ll also find that asking them is a lot less effort that constantly telling people things.

How to Catch a Double Agent

Here’s a great example of a really good question.

Charlie and I went to the Spy Museum in Washington – highly recommended. It’s the only museum you have to pay for in Washington, but it is worth it.

The CIA knew they had a double agent, but didn’t know who it was. By identifying the contacts of all the agents who had been killed they managed to narrow the field down gradually. In the end they had a small number of possible candidates.

Each was interviewed under the control of three senior women. Just one question identified the traitor. It was:
“If you were going to defect, what would you do?”

If you were the traitor, how would you have answered it? I love this question. It’s just so clever. It prompted a different response in the double agent, as compared to the others and that’s how they got him.

Over the years I have discovered that a really good question can make a huge difference to most situations. So it’s worth spending some time thinking of your questions.

Persuasion The Easy Way

A few years ago a friend told me that Ian, one of her colleagues, was planning to leave. He was crucial to the department and she wanted him to stay. I asked her what had happened. She told me that Ian had become so disgruntled with the way things were that he had decided he had had enough.

She said to him: “Is there anything I can do to make you stay?”
“No.” He replied.

This was the wrong question. I suggested that she did her best to arrange another meeting with Ian and ask him: “What can I do to make you stay?”

Although this question seems very similar, it makes your brain respond in a completely different way to her original question.

Sure enough, when she asked him “What can I do to make you stay?” He came up with a few things that he wanted, none of which were particularly difficult for her to arrange. He’s still there (and he’s a lot happier).

If you want to find out more about the power of questions, you can get my booklet on questions, “Questions Made Easy”.

In it I have put together many of the most powerful questions I’ve come across over the last 20 years. You’ll find the booklet includes a list of topics like:

  • Identifying objectives
    Performance reviews and appraisals
    Specific difficult situations
    Performance Issues

How To Get A Pay Rise

A client of mine had been treated very badly by her company. She had returned from maternity leave to discover all her colleagues had had a pay rise and she had not. The same thing happened the next time she was off.

We came up with a question for her.

She asked her manager: “What are the criteria for deciding pay rates in this company?”
It turned out that what he company had done was illegal. Her question politely brought their attention to this fact and she received a large pay rise (and a promotion) within a matter of days.

If you want to find out more about the power of questions, you can get my booklet on questions, “Questions Made Easy”.

In it I have put together many of the most powerful questions I’ve come across over the last 20 years. You’ll find the booklet includes a list of topics like:

  • Identifying objectives
  • Performance reviews and appraisals
  • Specific difficult situations
  • Negotiations
  • Performance Issues
  • Coaching
  • Problem-solving

In each section you’ll find questions that you can use to help you with that situation.
There’s also a list of 21 standard questions that you can modify to use in many different situations.
It’s on special offer till next Tuesday at just £5.50. Go to:
Has this happened to you? What did you do?