It’s a common belief in the world of personal development that, if you want to stay motivated to see a tough or long-term project or task through, the ‘why’ is more important than the ‘how’.
The theory behind this is that knowing why you’re doing something engages your emotions, which keeps you more committed.
Being a logical person, this is a concept I’ve struggled with for many years; after all, if you start working on something without a clue how it’s going to get done, how do you know you’re going to get the results you’re after? Aren’t you just wasting your time or setting yourself up for failure?
It turns out the answer is no… because if you’re truly committed to seeing something through, your brain will figure it out, thanks to a part of it called the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which is constantly on the lookout for anything which might help you get what you want.
When I first signed up for John Thornhill’s Partnership to Success Programme back in September 2016, I had the ‘how’ – just follow John’s step-by-step videos. My ‘why’ was the fact that I’d previously tried to follow someone else’s programme and didn’t see it through; so this time I was determined to stick it out, no matter what.
This ‘why’ was enough to get me to week 12 of the programme; but then I reached a sticking point that left me disillusioned, disappointed and demotivated to continue. My ‘how’ had been pulled like a rug from under me and my ‘why’ wasn’t strong enough to help me back up from my fall.
It was also around this time that I lost £30,000 to a couple of investment scams. Then a while later, my mother died, having been wasting away for several months. It’s fair to say I was not in a good place.
Somehow, as I always seem to do, I began to pick myself up, but the investment scams, along with 6 years of self-employment without really making any major progress, had taken a real toll on my self-esteem and confidence.
So in December 2018, on an impulse following a sales webinar, I signed up for a personal development course called Life Mastery Accelerator which, at the time, I instantly regretted; but circumstances meant I was forced to motivate myself and to go all-in and I saw the programme through to its 6-week conclusion.
This course taught me 3 vital lessons:
- I was capable of successfully seeing something through
- People liked me and were interested in what I had to say
- I could trust the process – and my mentor, even if I didn’t know how something was going to work
A couple of months later, I successfully completed something else; a 2-year project for one of my business clients, which helped further strengthen my belief that I was capable of finishing major tasks and projects. With this belief firmly in my mind and my need to replace the monthly income I was about to lose from the client project, I decided to continue with John’s Programme and see it through – after all, I’d already put a lot of work into it and could just pick up from week 12 where I left off, right? Guess again.
Two steps Forward, One Step Back
A lot can change in the world of technology over 20 months …and I mean a LOT. So much so that John had replaced many of his original videos with updated ones and I had to rewatch all of the videos, only to find that even some of the newer videos were now out of date! Challenges I’ve had to deal with so far over the last few weeks include:
- backup and update my WordPress site
- update my blog theme and learn how to use it
- start blogging again
- remove or update old plugins that were now out of date
- reconfigure Google Adsense
- make my site GDPR compliant and update my other legal pages
- get re-added to the list of active bloggers in the Partner to Success programme
…and that’s only got me back to week 7! But I’ve been able to keep going, because now I see myself as a finisher.
OK Paul, but what’s all this got to do with a smoke alarm?
A couple of days ago, our next-door neighbours came round. It turned out that ever since they had their boiler replaced several months ago, they’ve been plagued by an annoying intermittent beeping noise.
Apparently, the problem started just after the local Water Board had finished a job in our road and it had been happening on and off ever since.
They had contacted the boiler installers, who checked right through the system but couldn’t resolve the issue. The neighbours were convinced it was something to do with their thermostat in the hall; but even when they tried taking the batteries out of the thermostat, the noise continued.
The boiler installers suggested asking the neighbours whether they were experiencing similar issues, which is why we had been called upon.
At this point Sue sensed something familiar about this and asked them if they happened to have a smoke alarm in their hall. They did.
Sue suggested it might be a low battery in the smoke alarm and, much to their great joy and relief, they informed us later that evening that it was!
It was a delight to have helped our neighbours finally put an end to an issue that had been frustrating them for months, and it made me question – what were the odds that we just happened to have experienced a similar issue years earlier that could help them out? They literally found out the answer to their problem by chance.
Can you relate to being in situations where you’re talking to someone about a problem you’re experiencing and they were able to provide you with a complete or partial solution? Or you mention you’re thinking of going somewhere and they recommend things to see or do (or to avoid?).
I got to thinking about this and then got really excited after I realised that I had 50 years’ worth of experience that I could share with the world that could potentially help them; and now I’m genuinely excited to be blogging, because I never know what little nugget of knowledge or wisdom I’ve picked up over my lifetime is going to help someone else on this planet.
Fifty years of personal successes, failures and acquired knowledge that I could share with the world that could help people searching for answers.
I could motivate someone just down the road, or on the other side of the world, make them smile (or even laugh), help them realise that someone else has gone through tough times and survived, or give them advice or access to knowledge that could help make their lives a little easier or better in some way.
That would bring me joy even if it earned me nothing – and that’s important because now I’m doing it because I know why I want to, without worrying about how I might earn money from it; just hoping and trusting that it will lead to opportunities to provide me with an income, which will allow me to keep doing it and giving people more and more value.
A Social Media Experiment
I’m especially excited to be writing about my entrepreneurial journey because I’m literally starting from ground zero, with this gift of being able to conduct an amazing social media experiment.
Starting with zero income from this blog, on a website that isn’t even recognised by Alexa’s site ranking tool, at a point where, if you Google my name, the only reference to me is a comment I made about a local course I attended last year. There is no mention on Google of any of my social media sites, so I get a genuine chance to see where this blog will take me.
I would love for it to earn me an income and I believe it has the potential to do just that, as long as I focus on consistently adding and sharing content that will entertain, motivate and inspire people.
Yes, at the moment I’m still 5 weeks behind where I’d got to in the Partnership to Success Programme 20 months ago, but whereas before I might have thrown in the towel; now I will battle on, take breaks, meditate and come back to problems with a fresh mindset.
Equally importantly, I will also badger those I’ve paid good money to help me; something I have failed to do in the past – but now I figure that if they are half decent, they would rather help someone a hundred times and see them succeed, than help someone once or twice and see them disappear without a trace.
This time I’m totally confident that I will see this Programme through. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I do know why.
If you would like to learn more about the Partnership to Success Programme itself and maybe take this exciting journey with me, read my Welcome! blog post for more information.
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