‘I just can’t be bothered!’ This can be a problem when you’re self-employed. And I’ve been experiencing it lately, perhaps not surprisingly. But these moments or phases come at all kinds of different times in the world of self- employment, and it’s one of those perennial questions: how to stay self-motivated?
There are plenty of articles on how to motivate yourself, or stay motivated, on the internet if you look for them. But there is one thing that spiritual business people need to do before any of these, and that is not ‘do’ anything.Yes. Just stay in the place you are at, that place of ‘can’t be bothered.’ It’s possible this might be a bit frightening; after all, you might go into that place and never get out of it. But it’s that fear that is causing some of the problem in the first place. This conscious ‘not doing’ is the first step of four that allows you to become inspired, rather than motivated, and then allows you to take steps forward that feel entirely natural, rather than forced in any way.
Step One: Stop
Take your courage in both hands and simply stop – wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, even if it’s just lolling around feeling guilty that you’re not doing anything. Stay with the feeling of lethargy, or apathy or whatever you have labelled it. By ‘doing’ this, you give your heart a chance to speak, your soul a chance to say ‘hallo,’ and your connection to universal energy to therefore be felt.
Step Two: Be Still
Be still for long enough to have a sense of what your heart and soul have to say to you. Being still is often a challenge in our society, particularly in our working world, where constant activity is applauded and recognised. I heard the other day of someone who expected his volunteer labour force to work from 9-3pm without a break. OK, they then received a great lunch, and a long rest, but those six hours of constant physical work was too much. Not surprisingly, the volunteers didn’t last very long, causing high turnover of people with all the attendant problems that brings. Being still doesn’t necessarily mean your physical body, although that is often the case. It is really referring to stilling the activity of the mind, and this sometimes happens through physical exercise, or as a result of that. So just see which kind of ‘being still’ appeals to you.
Step Three: Listen
Make sure you listen out for the messages from your heart. These may come in many different ways, and it’s helpful to know how they may present, so you can identify that this is a communication from your heart or soul. You might notice that a thought, seemingly unconnected to anything, pops into your head. Or maybe your eyes will get attracted by something particular that suddenly has meaning for you. This happened for me recently, when I was eating with some friends and took some time out from the conversation; in that moment, my eyes travelled to my bookcase where I was drawn to a particular book which I haven’t looked at for at least 15 years. Later, reading it, I found the perfect passage to help me with what I was feeling at that time.
Perhaps you’ll ‘hear’ words, as if spoken inside your head. Some people find communication happens when they start writing; others use the power of images to help them hear their heart. If you haven’t done this ever, then you can ask your unconscious to give you an image of where you are at in your business, and see what that represents for you. Maybe you’ll just feel an inner nudge, or an impulse, or a good feeling about something. And it’s possible that none of these will happen, in which case wait longer, if you can.
I have sometimes played with this idea of waiting at a weekend, deliberately setting up a day without any commitments, and then waiting to see what happens when I wake up. How long does it take to get out of bed when you don’t have to (I don’t count the need for bathroom or food, these are simply survival needs)? What exactly is it that motivates or inspires you to get out of bed at all? It’s an interesting exercise to do, just to watch with curiosity, and no judgment.
Step Four: Act
This is where many people fall down. Having stopped, been still, listened, then it is time for action. But how many times have you had an idea, been inspired to carry it out, but then got distracted? It’s the taking of the action that is required for that original heart inspiration to become manifest in the physical world. So watch out for falling at this final fence. If you have been courageous enough to take the previous three, then follow through and take even just the first step necessary to have your inspiration become reality.
And there you are – that ‘can’t be bothered’ feeling has been given breathing space, and then metamorphosed into something else. Remember that the next time you’re overcome with lethargy, and see what action wants to emerge from you, rather than you trying hard to motivate yourself.