My good friend Gideon Shalwick drove down from the Sunshine Coast this week to visit Brisbane. I was lucky enough to be included on his itinerary for a lunch date.
We ate burgers and then proceeded to spend the entire afternoon talking about business and life, as is usual when we get together. It’s a good thing this doesn’t happen too often or I don’t think Gideon and I would get much work done!
Gideon carries a roving film kit with him, including his iPhone 5 as the camera, an iStablizer monopod to act as the “camera man”, and a lapel mic for audio.
We headed to the Botanical gardens down by the Brisbane river edge and recorded some videos. During the recording sessions we talked about interviews, since we wanted to link some of the video content to the opening of my EJ Insider Interviews Club.
While discussing why I think interviews are so good I explained how important they have been for me as a source of motivation.
Listening to other people’s success always fires me up and makes me want to get busy creating my own success.
Gideon then used an even better word to describe how helpful interviews can be – he said they are INSPIRATIONAL.
Sustained Work Ethic
We hear over and over again how important it is to take action. I think everyone knows that is a key to success.
What rarely gets enough attention is the concept of sustained action, or in particular how important your MINDSET is when it comes to sustaining action long term.
Consistency and persistence are qualities most people are not born with. You have to develop these traits, especially if you want to master a skill that gives you a sustained advantage.
We are all emotional creatures and that unfortunately means we experience just as many downs as we do ups. In fact we might experience more downs than ups, depending on our circumstances and genetic makeup.
If you study positive psychology from researchers like Martin Seligman through his Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness books, you will come across the potentially bad news that not everyone is wired to be positive by nature.
You will fall somewhere on a scale, with extremely positive at one end, and extremely negative on the other. This is simply a matter of genetic lottery, just like your tendency to be more extroverted or introverted. What you do from there of course is up to you, and based heavily on your mindset.
Positivity leads to a happier, longer and more successful life, based on characteristics we value like wealth, relationships and health. Being an academic, Seligman conducted peer reviewed research to back these assumptions up. Again and again studies concluded that optimists win, sometimes in very surprising ways.
I recommend you read Seligman’s books if you want more details. The point to remember, is that positivity is a winning trait in life, and is the first aspect of your mindset you can work on.
Peaks And Valleys
We all know what it is like to feel a burst of motivation and then take that energy and translate it into work.
The problem that arrises is we don’t always feel motivated. Motivation ebbs and flows, often decreasing when we don’t feel happy, or when we face setbacks. Our physiological state also impacts our motivation, as does our results.
If I’m well fed and I have slept enough hours, my physiological state is good. If I can see the fruits of my labour, like money coming in, or traffic to my blog or newsletter increasing, or people telling me they benefited from my work, I’m well primed to do more good work.
If traffic decreases, or people ask for refunds, or I didn’t sleep enough or I’m out of balance with exercise and social activities, or I receive negative feedback, my emotional state depresses.
Some of these things you can control, some you can’t. Some you can work to improve as well.
You can also work on your emotional response to negative conditions using reframing (NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This has been a critically helpful for me in both work and my personal life. You can read more about how I have worked on reframing in this article – The Key To Happiness.
Short Vs Long Term Action
One of the most important keys to success in life and business is to learn how to turn short term action into sustained long term repeated actions.
We all know that to achieve big you need to drill things down into the steps necessary to get there. When you know your big picture and you have a roadmap, the formula to reach your destination is just one step per day.
How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time!
I’ve always found this an awkward saying. Who wants to eat an elephant and what does the elephant think about this!
Regardless of silly sayings, the principle is sound. You have a big picture goal and lots of little achievements are necessary to get there.
Sustained action executing the right techniques, which follow the right strategy, leads you to achieving your vision. It’s all about climbing a success ladder.
Most people who spend even just a little bit of time researching how to build a successful blog or online business will quickly become exposed to all the different things you can do to get a result.
If you are diligent in your research and focused enough to pick one strategy and follow it, the only remaining roadblock is you. Your ability to execute day in and day out is what matters more than anything else.
Most people fail because of lack of execution, not lack of knowledge of what needs to be executed.
If you drill that down further, there is some kind of emotional or psychological or physiological reason that kills execution. You lose motivation and you don’t get the work done. It’s as simple as that.
Motivation Vs Inspiration
When Gideon said interviews are a source of not just motivation but inspiration I had to stop for a moment and clarify in my head the difference.
- The act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way: I don’t understand what her motivation was for quitting her job.
- The state or condition of being motivated: We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.
- Something that motivates; inducement; incentive: Clearly, the company’s long-term motivation is profit.
- An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
- Something inspired, as an idea.
- A result of inspired activity.
- A thing or person that inspires.
- A divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
- The divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
For me, the word inspiration is more spiritual – it comes from a powerful source. Something more sustained, divine, coming from a place greater than the person. A desire for massive change.
Motivation, while still powerful, is often tied to a certain event, or timeframe or set of circumstances. It’s more physical, rooted in the present moment.
I see it like the difference between an employee just doing their job for a pay cheque, versus an entrepreneur creating a business to change the world.
The worker has tasks to do and is motivated to complete them each day for the money he or she needs to survive.
The entrepreneur needs money to survive too, and hopes their business can provide this, but their source of motivation to act each day comes from a much more inspirational place. They want to influence other people in a positive way, it’s a passion.
It’s pretty easy to see which would last longer. Being inspired carries you through the ups and downs. It gives you the power to stay the course even when it is rocky.
Get Inspired Through Other People’s Stories
When Gideon referred to interviews with other successful online entrepreneurs and bloggers as a source of not just motivation, but inspiration, I had to nod my head in agreement.
I thought back over the years to all the interviews I listened to. I tapped into the emotional response they trigger in me each time I hear a particularly good interview.
Interviews motivate me, that is for sure. I always feel more eager to work after listening to an interview. However it is more than that. Interviews also inspire me to set bigger goals, to aim higher and see that I am capable of more.
Most importantly, interviews create in me a source of fuel for long term sustained action. They help me stay positive and keep my eye focused on the prize – the vision I am working towards regardless of where I am today or at any given moment.
I think a lot of this comes from hearing how “normal” people on interviews are.
When you hear someone is just a human who was in a pretty similar situation to where you are now, and then what they achieved and how they achieved it, you start to believe that is possible for you.
This belief makes you see things for yourself you may never have considered before. Things like not needing a job – even becoming a millionaire – or the possibility of creating something that has a massive positive impact on thousands — even millions of people.
This is why I believe that one of the most important educational tools you can tap into, which can motivate you, but also inspire you to greater achievement and sustained action, is regular consumption of interviews with people who have done things you want to do and admire for their success.
This is why I now invite you to join my interviews club, the EJ Insider.
The special discount price ends on Friday at midnight US Eastern time.
I look forward to seeing you on the inside, and also perhaps one day interviewing you.