Finding your own Motivation

Today I am going to blog about something different.  Because today I learned two new things .

I am very excited about the first thing. Today I learned how to connect my twitter account to my Facebook Fan Page. Now before you all think, as my Gen Y son did,  “Why didn’t you just Google it to find out how to do it?”, the fact that I am a baby boomer and ACTUALLY have a Twitter account is something that still surprises me, and most of my friends!  The ‘fine tuning’ of some of these new technologies still takes a little while to sink in!

So onto the other thing I learned. Well I didn’t really ‘learn’ this today, rather it was another realisation that took a little while for me to get!

For those who have read David’s Gift, you know I believe that physical fitness should be an important part of daily life.

I am one of those strange people who just loves to work out.  I just don’t feel good if I don’t exercise at least every day or every second day.  I don’t think clearly, I feel tired and sluggish and the world just doesn’t seem to work properly. In the tough years when we were in the midst of our most challenging times, exercise was one of the things that helped during the most stressful times.

The last few years I have enjoyed working out by myself.  I just love getting  up before sunrise and heading off for a walk, challenging myself , focusing on my posture and planning my day or developing ideas for new projects.  Three times a week I go to a gym because I believe that as women get older we should be doing weights regularly.  I am absolutely sold on this for lots of reasons, but I will save that blog for another time.  I have been a member of a 24 hour gym for a while.  I loved it because it was quiet. I could workout by myself early in the morning without having to wait for others to get on equipment, and at 5:30 in the morning, I really had the place to myself.  I could get up, get on with it and get home and be ready to leave for work to start at 8am.

But for some reason, this winter I have found exercise really tough.  And I couldn’t figure out why. In July of this year, I didn’t workout for three weeks. I just couldn’t find the motivation to get up early every morning.  So I tried exercising in the late afternoon but there always seemed to be something that would come up at the last moment.  I was starting to feel tired and lethargic and very unmotivated, which is just so unlike me.  Then last week, like a bolt from the blue, I figured it out!

In April of this year I left my career of 10 years to focus on writing and speaking.  I went from a role in a school, where on any given day I would connect with 120 staff, 1500 students, or 750 parents.  No sooner would I arrive at my office every morning than there was somebody to ask me a question,(in some cases a line of people) or chat about an issue.  I was on the go constantly, connecting and talking to people all day.

But, my circumstances have now changed.  I now work from a home office and writing is a very solitary process.  I have joined a couple of business networking groups and have become a member of Rotary, because I like to connect with others, and I thought that would be enough to ensure my ‘socialising needs’ were met.

But I started running out of energy.  I was also getting quite short with everybody, and just not feeling my normal ‘on top of the world’ self.  I kept asking myself the question “What am I missing?  What am I not seeing?”.

Sure enough, last Friday the answer came.  I was running about 20 minutes early for an appointment and thought I would just pop into a gym, not far from where we live, to see what they offered.  From the moment I stepped foot into the gym, I figured it out.  This place was just pumping.  Energy abounded, as I walked around I also met half a dozen people that I knew.  The young man who was showing me around asked  “Are you famous or something!”  I didn’t tell him that the people I was saying hello to were parents of the school and some of our past students :)

But I got it!  This is what I have been missing.  The connection I was missing was not the exercise, it was the socialization that comes from being around other people.

So, I did a deal and signed up on the spot… besides he thought I was famous!

I can’t believe what a difference it has made to my motivation and energy levels.  I am still doing the same workout I was doing at the 24 hour gym, except now I can do some classes which I love and interestingly enough, all the things that drove me nuts about being in a gym with lots of people around, is actually something I am looking forward to.

All of us fit into certain ‘personality-type’ categories.  Basically there are four. The Achiever, loves to achieve, always finding new things to do. These people (me!) are usually hard on themselves, pushing for perfection and don’t settle for second best in themselves.  The  Socialiser, loves to connect with others. Finds energy in connecting with others.They  love to organise social events, join social groups etc.,  The Peacemakers find energy in solace, relishes quiet time and are usually great listeners  and finally The Competitors, the people who love to compete at high levels, usually entrepreneurial in nature, and usually have a high need to achieve.

There is a little bit of all these personality types in all of us, and the challenge is to balance each aspect so that all are being ‘taken care of’.  It is when one is out of balance we often feel unmotivated, sad or can become frustrated with little things in our lives.

So for me,  over the last 10 years, whilst I was in a career that involved connecting with lots of people all day, my ‘Achiever Personality’ needed alone time, because my ‘Socialiser’ needs were taken care of.  But when I switched careers, the ‘social needs’ aspect of my personality type was not being met.  Hence the feelings of no energy, low motivation etc.

Motivation and energy levels are based on a whole heap of factors, but one thing is for sure, when you are not meeting all the needs you have, something usually suffers.  The thing is, when you take time to understand your needs and allow yourself the time to find what it is that works for you, energy levels, motivation and a joy for life just flows.

Mmmmm… I can’t wait to find out what I will learn tomorrow!

Sally

Speaker & Author

Aspergers Parent Specialist

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