Updated: Apr 1
“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who rekindle this light” - Albert Schweizer
How to motivate someone is an art. And how to motivate yourself is a philosophy.
I love motivational quotes and always keep them around me. Especially during lockdown I often reach for one to pull myself back on track.
I understand that it is hard to keep moving forward when you can’t quite see where you are going. The future seems a bit more foggy than usual these days. What seemed to be a pretty clear goal before our new normal got dents and bruises and maybe even more challenging to turn into reality. I know I’m not alone in this. Many people have lost their jobs and businesses and started doubting their paths and purpose in life. Massively lacking motivation and inspiration to move forward.
We all have a song inside of us
I believe we all have our very own song inside of us and that we have to make every effort to draw it out of us. Meaning that each and every one of us has something inside that we are passionate about and love doing. Something that we feel we just have to do. I was raised to ignore that song and slot in with all the rest. When there is nobody around to encourage and support us at a young age to be brave and explore all options it is very tempting to just swim with the other fish and play the same old tune as everyone else.
Heart on fire
“Set yourself on fire and seek those who fan your flame” - Rumi
It is never too late to find your purpose and passion to set your heart on fire. After all this fire and willpower is the only superpower that will keep us going in times like this when it is not so clear what the future holds. Believing in our abilities and us is the only way to success. Working on raising our confidence and willpower to move forward with what we feel is our purpose and navigate around all the obstacles is a challenging ride. These obstacles are not always created by others but also by us.
“Whom do I think I am to charge money for this?” or “There are already so many out there doing this” are probably the most popular self-doubt thoughts that can creep in. Just like fear, self-doubt can be our willingness to overcome it and change our thought patterns to consciously choose a motivated and inspired state of mind. The inner critic needs to be heard and then properly responded to. My favourite way of dealing with my inner critic is throwing some humour its way. I learned this in Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License; he says our inner Frankenstein (Inner Critic) does not like to laugh so by exaggerating his response like in a comic we can outsmart it. Humour seems to be the ultimate super power to have. Don’t you think?
Enter other people's judgments and opinions
So here we are all motivated and ready to go and get started and then we hit the world outside of us. No matter what it is everyone always seems to have an opinion or some form of judgment about it. It’s the law of the universe. We get all fired up, deal with the inner critic and now the critics on the outside get to have a say as well and try to dim our flame.
My favourite quote for this is:
“What other people think of me is none of my business” - Terry Cole Whittaker
To really be able to let other people's judgment bounce off us it is important to understand where judgment comes from. Gabriella Berstein wrote a whole book on this topic called Judgment Detox and I absolutely love it. What helped me understand my own and other people's judgments better was that it is not so much about what it is that is being judged but what the person who judges doesn’t see. Judgment is usually triggered by something that we ourselves don’t want to see or accept within us.
That sounds pretty complicated I know. So for example if you are judging someone for being late for a meeting with you. You start thinking, Oh what a terribly rude person this is. Can’t they respect my time? I’m sitting here wasting all this time waiting while this other person is just taking it easy and slow. Now turn this around. Replace them with you. You are taking it nice and slow and don’t give a sh*** about someone else’s time. Wooooooow! Not cool, right? You are never late and always on time. You respect people’s time aaaaalways. Bananas! You can get stuck in traffic and an elevator or have a family emergency and when that would happen that you are late and have a legitimate excuse wouldn’t you want the other person to take into consideration that you are not late on purpose. So why are you getting out the judgment sword and lashing out? The truth of the matter is we are all humans and anything that happens to one human can happen to us as well. Life happens and we have very little control. But what we do have control over is how we approach our judgment. We can choose to activate our compassion superpowers and first walk in someone else's shoes before we let judgment become the star of the show. Then we even have a chance to offer constructive criticism, lend a helping hand or even offer consolation if needed. Going on an adventure with your judgment can be an amazing journey and I can truly recommend Gabby Bernstein’s book as your travel companion.
Accepting all those bits and pieces that I judge in others about myself brought me a hell of a lot of peace. Embracing that we are all humans who make mistakes and sit in the same boat of life felt like moving a rock of my chest and made space for more inspiration and motivation.
Using the superpowers of self-acceptance opened one other door for me and that was to embrace the superpower of connecting to the right people and not being worried about the ones who don’t get me.
“Those who dance were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music” - Angela Monet
I have learned to stick with people who hear the music and stay away from those who can’t and be ok with it. It is important for all of us to sing our very own song, find our purpose, and follow it but not everyone in this world has to follow us on the journey or love what we do.
When I became a Bollywood Dance Fitness Instructor it was an act of pure love. I had no idea about the Bollywood film industry but I just fell in love with the music and the dance moves I saw in the fitness class. So I went for it and followed my heart. On the way, I received a bit of criticism for picking up this form of dance while not having any connection to the culture, for not having Bollywood in my blood.
I have grown to believe that dance and music have no language, they are a language that every human being speaks fluently and we should use it to connect with each other and not separate. We all have our very own creative expression in any medium. Every expression should be celebrated and not used as a means for separation and disconnection. Martha Graham summed it up beautifully, she said:
“There is a vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that translates through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
We all have something to give and that is individual to each and every one of us. I find it very motivating to remind myself that my creative voice matters as long as it is authentic.
I've got this quote always near my desk. I hope it inspires you too!
"The critic who doesn't like your work is right. The critic who says no one else will like your work is wrong" - Seth Godin