10 Things to Remember When You’ve Lost Your Motivation

sasdThe biggest and most complex obstacle you’ll ever have to overcome is your mind.  If you can overcome that, you can overcome anything.

Have you ever lost your motivation?

I know exactly how you feel.

Many moons ago, there was a time when my motivation hit rock bottom.  I would look around and see others motivating themselves to do things simply by knowing that these things needed to be done.  But not me.  For me, motivation was an esoteric, intimidating game where I’d try to make myself do something while my mind simultaneously avoided doing it.  If I won, I’d have to do something I didn’t really want to do.  And if I lost, I’d be one step closer to ruining the rest of my entire life.  At least that’s how I felt.  And I never really knew whether I was going to win or lose until the very last minute.

Obviously, I was not being mindful.

The good news is, with daily practice, I’ve come a long way from those rock bottom days of haphazard motivation.

Nowadays, Angel and I coach students on a daily basis who are struggling to motivate themselves in various life situations.  And, fittingly, we guide them through many of the same proven strategies I’ve learned and practiced over the years to get my mindset and motivation from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.

One of those strategies involves mindful daily reflection.

The truth is, motivation can be fleeting, which is why we need to positively recharge our mindset on a regular basis.  I was reminded of this a few minutes ago when I received an email from a new course student that opened with:

“I feel drained!  I’m stuck… with worry and overwhelm and frustration… and just a general lack of enthusiasm!  Any advice?  What should I reflect on or try to remember when I’ve completely lost my motivation?”

Today, with our student’s permission, I’ve decided to answer this question publicly, because I know we all need these reminders sometimes.  Here are some key things I reflect on regularly to support my practice of nurturing a more mindful, motivated mindset…

  1. It’s not the weight that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.  You can use pain, frustration and inconvenience to motivate you rather than annoy you.  You are in control of the way you look at life.  Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negative thinking.
  2. You always have a choice.  Choose to be negative and you’ll find plenty of reasons to stop and frown.  Choose to be positive and you’ll find plenty of reasons to step forward and smile.  Truly, the most powerful weapon against stress and discouragement is our ability to choose one thought over another.  Train your mind to see the good in everything.
  3. One of the most rewarding and important moments in life is the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.  When you stop worrying and complaining about what you can’t control, you have more time to change the things you can control.  And that changes everything.
  4. It’s never in your best interests to share lots of time with people who constantly try to discourage you (even if they’re your family).  Because, if you’re the kind of person who believes there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do – if you want to be extraordinary – you can’t get there by shackling yourself to those who hold you back.  Instead, you will very likely become just as ordinary as they expect you to be.  And there’s absolutely no reason to do that to yourself.
  5. Long-term success in life is a trifecta of ability, motivation, and attitude.  Ability is what you’re capable of doing every day.  Motivation determines what you actually do every day.  And attitude determines how well you ultimately do it.  Keep this in mind, and keep yourself in check.
  6. Sitting around worrying is a misuse of your incredible creative energy.  Instead of imagining the worst, imagine the best and how you can bring it about.
  7. It’s always better to be exhausted from meaningful work than to be tired of doing nothing.  Put in the effort and live the life you’ve imagined.  Wake up and remind yourself that you are what you do today, not what you say you’ll do someday.  Good things don’t come to those who wait – they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  When all is said and done, oftentimes more is said than done.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  The way to get going, and feel good about it, is to quit talking and begin doing.
  8. Imagine how much more effective and happy you’d be if, instead of dreading and fighting against certain tasks, you simply got them done.  Remember, the task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.  Do what’s right, not what’s easy.  And when the task is a big one, do just a little bit of it every day.  Even the tiniest daily ritual changes everything in the long run.  (Angel and I build tiny, life-changing rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
  9. Effort is never wasted, even when it leads to disappointing results.  For it always makes you stronger, more educated, and more experienced.  So when the going gets tough, be patient and keep going.  Just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing.  Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.
  10. The next step is always worth taking.  Seriously, no matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will make it.  Have an unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has a purpose, that the things you desire may not happen today, but they will happen.  Practice patience.  And remember that patience is not about waiting – it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard to make progress every day, and knowing that this journey is worth it.

And now it’s time for a quick reality check…

If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking you’re too young or too old to be successful or to pursue a meaningful path, here’s a short list of people who have accomplished incredible things at various ages – young and old:

  • Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind.  But that didn’t stop her.  She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Mozart was already competent on the keyboard and violin, and he started composing music at the age of 5.
  • Shirley Temple was 6 when she became a movie star in “Bright Eyes”.
  • Anne Frank was 12 when she wrote “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
  • Magnus Carlsen became a chess Grandmaster at the age of 13.
  • Nadia Comaneci was a gymnast from Romania that scored seven perfect 10.0 ratings and won three gold medals at the Olympics by age 14.
  • Tenzin Gyatso was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in November 1950, at the age of 15.
  • Pele, the soccer superstar, was 17-years-old when he won the world cup in 1958 with Brazil.
  • John Lennon was 20-years-old and Paul McCartney was 18-years-old when the Beatles held their first concert in 1961.
  • Beethoven was a piano virtuoso by age 23
  • Isaac Newton wrote The Principia (containing Newton’s laws of motion), at age 24
  • Roger Bannister was 25 when he broke the 4-minute mile record – the first person to ever accomplish this.
  • Albert Einstein was 26 when he wrote the “Theory of Relativity”.
  • Lance Armstrong was 27 when he won the Tour de France.
  • J.K. Rowling was 30-years-old when she finished the first manuscript of “Harry Potter”.
  • Amelia Earhart was 31-years-old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Oprah was 32 when she started her talk show, which became the highest-rated program of its kind in history.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 when he wrote the speech “I Have a Dream”.
  • Neil Armstrong was 38 when he became the first human being to set foot on the moon.
  • Mark Twain was 40 when he wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and 49 years old when he wrote “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
  • John F. Kennedy was 43-years-old when he became President of the United States.
  • Henry Ford Was 45 when the Ford T came out.
  • Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote “The Hunger Games”.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci was 51-years-old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
  • Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote “The Cat in the Hat”.
  • Colonel Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise.
  • J.R.R Tolkien was 62 when “The Lord of the Rings” book series was published.
  • Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became President of the United States.
  • Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President of South Africa.

It’s never too soon or too late to be all you can be.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  You CAN take the next tiniest step forward!  I hope that fact alone motivates you to stand back up.

Your turn…

Please leave a comment below and let us know:


Source marcandangel

One Perspective Shift that Will Turn Your Deepest Scars into Your Greatest Opportunity

One Perspective Shift that Will Turn Your Deepest Scars into Your Greatest Opportunity

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett

As a family, we never discussed the fire that burned down our house and nearly took my life. We endured it, survived it, and moved past it. We chose not to be defined by it.

That is, until my parents sat in the first row of a church on November 22, 2003.

Their oldest son, Jim, stood on the altar in a tuxedo, the best man for their younger (and better-looking) son, John.

Watching their boys together, with their four daughters as bridesmaids, and a gorgeous woman in white named Beth about to join the family, they realized something for the first time: The terrible fire from years earlier wasn’t the end. The tragedy we’d endured as a family decades ago had a happy ending.

The fire did not take away the life their little boy could make for himself. Contrarily, it led perfectly to this place, this church, this altar, this union, this day.

The therapy and surgeries and amputations and scars and challenges culminated in a blowout celebration. It was miracle upon miracle upon miracle…looking back over the last two decades.

At the end of the service, as Beth and I walked together down the aisle, my parents were overflowing with gratitude to my doctors, to their family and friends who supported them, and most of all to God, whom we credit with the miracle of not only my survival, but an incredible life just beginning.

Less than a week after my wedding, they were writing a book about their experience years earlier. It was their story as parents experiencing the devastating news that their son had been burned. It was their story about months of waiting-room anguish, support from the community, and a miraculous triumph.

In the early stages of their book writing, I was far from encouraging. I didn’t believe there was a story to tell and encouraged them not to dredge up the past. I offered my best arguments against it. Who will read your book? Why would they care? Do you guys even know how to use a computer? I suggested they keep the story in their hearts.

They wrote their book anyway.

They called it Overwhelming Odds.

They ignored my advice.


And in doing so, they changed my life.

Imagine this: the mask you’ve so carefully constructed to hide behind your entire life is removed. You know, the one that tells the world you’re fine, you’re all good, your kids are perfect, you have no problems, there are no addictions, no worries, no scars? Imagine that it is taken gently off your face, set carefully on a table, and smashed with a massive sledgehammer.

I felt naked.

But as I continued to read, I realized something else.

For the first time I understood that I wasn’t the only one burned in the story. For the first time I came to understand all that my family went through. My brother, Jim, was injured physically and emotionally. My sisters were prescribed sleeping pills because of witnessing me burning in front of them, and then there were the months of constant fear that they’d lose me for good. Oh, and my parents. My poor parents. As difficult as my physical pain was, the emotional toll on them was, in so many ways, much worse.

Not to mention our neighbors!

Imagine knowing that your story somehow galvanized a community into action.  Our neighbors in the suburbs of St. Louis literally opened up their homes to my siblings as we waited for the house to be repaired; the community raised money, donated blood, offered prayers, brought food.

I had never fully considered all the people who came together to make the miracle a reality. And imagine, after reading the last page of your tragic story, seeing it differently, clearly for the first time. As if cataracts had been cut away, I understood, “Oh my gosh . . . it was all a gift.”

The fire.

The pain.

The fears.

The scars.

All of it was a gift!

The fire led perfectly to where I am today. The challenges led to experiences that shaped me, the character that drives me, the faith that guides me, the life around me, and to the possibility in front of me. No, it wasn’t always perfect.

But it was my life.

It was my story.

And it was time to claim it.

After reading my parents’ book, the scars that I had been covering up for twenty years were transformed into badges of honor.

The scars remained, yes. But they were there because the wounds had healed.

They were evidence of a miracle.

Covering them up denied others the chance to see them.

To question.

To connect.

To share.

To grow.

To live.

After I read my parents’ book, I turned the book over and stared at the picture on the cover. The picture of me as a kid with my scars and splints was still there. But now, I saw something I had never seen before. I no longer saw a little boy at the end of a journey he had survived, but instead at the start of one that he could not wait to begin.

Shifting my perspective on that picture from the past and the scars still present served as an inflection point that positively transformed my life.  It shaped how I viewed the current reflection in the mirror, interact with others, and engaged in life. It elevated how I viewed current challenges and future opportunities.

My friends, we all have been burned. We’ve all endured heartache and letdowns. We’ve failed in business, stumbled in finances, tripped in relationships, and struggled physically. We all have a story. It’s just usually not the story we are telling the world.

In order to best connect with others, uncover our purpose and live up to the fullness of our promise, it is critical to embrace the scars of yesterday. No, we don’t accept them as horrible reminders of how lousy the past was and the litany of mistakes made. Instead, we wear them as badges of honor ― celebrating all we’ve survived, the lessons learned, the character developed, the faith fortified, and the litany of reasons we still to have to be grateful.

So if you want to embrace the one perspective that is certain to transform current challenges into opportunities, look no further than your past.  For in it you’ll discover that every experience, adversity, and even tragedy has led perfectly to where you are today.

And today, with that perspective (regardless of whether or not you always intentionally chose the path you walked in the past) you are free to choose the manner in which you walk your path going forward.

This is your day to wake up from accidental living and embrace the gift that is your life.

This is your day to live inspired.

Your turn…

Can you think of a personal example of how your scars have strengthened you?

Anything else to share?

Please tell us about it. We would love to hear from YOU in the comments section below.


Credit marcandangle

One Daily Gratitude Ritual that Will Change the Way You Think

The secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. Then you do it again and again. If you forget, begin again.


I remember that rainy summer evening – shortly after Angel and I lost two loved ones to illness, lost our livelihood in a layoff, and ultimately lost sight of the goodness that remained in our lives – when I found myself lying down on a tile floor, alone in the dark, just thinking.

Angel and I rarely spoke openly about anything meaningful during that period of time, mostly because I was withdrawn.  I felt helpless and essentially depressed about what had happened.  I was lost in the darkness of my own negative thinking.

But something shifted inside me as I was lying on that tile floor.

As I looked up and out the open window next to me, the moon suddenly broke through the clouds and illuminated the dark room I was in.  Then, within seconds, a light breeze started blowing the white window curtains inward and over me.  As the curtains fluttered in the air four feet over my body, I smiled.  It was a beautiful moment.  And without thinking twice, I whispered out loud, “Life is still a miracle to be grateful for.”

Angel walked into the room at that exact moment and whispered, “I agree.”

She ducked under the curtains and snuggled into me on the floor.  After a couple moments of shared silence, we decided to list some things off the top of our minds that we were grateful for, despite our struggles.

Our list of gratitude looked something like this:

  • We had each other
  • We had parents, extended family, and some friends who loved us
  • We were reasonably healthy
  • Most of our family members and friends were reasonably healthy
  • We had some savings
  • We had shelter, water and food
  • We could experience and appreciate the beauty of the moonlight illuminating this dark room, and the breeze making the curtains dance

And the list went on, of course, but you get the gist.  Even when everything seemed to be wrong, we had a lot going right – a lot to be grateful for.

That night I resolved to change my thinking and make gratitude a daily ritual in my life.


Source marcandangel

10 Signs it’s Time to Let Go

10 Signs it’s Time to Let Go

  1. Someone expects you to be someone you’re not. – Don’t change who you are for anyone else.  It’s wiser to lose someone over being who you are, than to keep them by being someone you’re not.  Because it’s easier to mend a broken heart, than it is to piece together a shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space inside yourself where YOU used to be.
  2. A person’s actions don’t match their words. – Everybody deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow.  If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent and their actions don’t match up with their words, it’s time to let them go.  It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company.  True is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.  Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do.  Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves over time.
  3. You catch yourself forcing someone to love you. – Let us keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to love us.  We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.  That’s what love is all about – freedom.  However, the end of love is not the end of life.  It should be the beginning of an understanding that love sometimes leaves for a reason, but never leaves without a lesson.  If someone truly loves you, they will never give you a reason to doubt it.  Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you, but it takes someone really special to stay in your life and prove how much they love you.  Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right person, but the right person is always worth the wait.
  4. An intimate relationship is based strictly on physical attraction. – Being beautiful is more than how many people you can get to look at you, or how others perceive you at a single glance.  It’s about what you live for.  It’s about what defines you.  It’s about the depth of your heart, and what makes you unique.  It’s about being who you are and living out your life honestly.  It’s about those little quirks that make you, you.  People who are only attracted to you because of your pretty face or nice body won’t stay by your side forever.  But the people who can see how beautiful your heart is will never leave you.
  5. Someone continuously breaks your trust. – Love means giving someone the chance to hurt you, but trusting them not to.  When you completely trust a person, without any doubt, you’ll automatically get one of two results – a FRIEND for life or a LESSON for life.  Either way there’s a positive outcome.  Either you confirm the fact that this person cares about you, or you get the opportunity to weed them out of your life and make room for those who do.  In the end you’ll discover who’s fake, who’s true, and who would risk it all for you.  And trust me, some people will totally surprise you.
  6. Someone continuously overlooks your worth.Know your worth!  When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.  There comes a point when you have to let go and stop chasing some people.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll find a way to put you there.  Sometimes you just need to let go and accept the fact that they don’t care for you the way you care for them.  Let them leave your life quietly.  Letting go is oftentimes easier than holding on.  We think it’s too hard to let go, until we actually do.  Then we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
  7. You are never given a chance to speak your mind. – Sometimes an argument saves a relationship, whereas silence breaks it.  Speak up for your heart so that you won’t have regrets.  Life is not about making others happy.  Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others.
  8. You are frequently forced to sacrifice your happiness. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Know when to close the account.  It’s always better to be alone with dignity than in a relationship that constantly requires you to sacrifice your happiness and self-respect.
  9. You truly dislike your current situation, routine, job, etc. – It’s better to be a failure at something you love than to succeed at doing something you hate.  Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.  The best thing you can do in life is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.  It might be an uphill climb, but when you reach that mountaintop it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you put into it.
  10. You catch yourself obsessing over, and living in, the past. – Eventually you will overcome the heartache, and forget the reasons you cried, and who caused the pain.  Eventually you will realize that the secret to happiness and freedom is not about control or revenge, but in letting things unfold naturally, and learning from your experiences over the course of time.  After all, what matters most is not the first, but the final chapter of your life, which unveils the details of how well you wrote your story.  So let go of the past, set yourself free, and open your mind to the possibility of new relationships and priceless experiences.

And the one thing you should never let go of is hope.  Remember what you deserve and keep pushing forward.  Someday all the pieces will come together.  Unimaginably good things will transpire in your life, even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had anticipated.  And you will look back at the times that have passed, smile, and ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”