Here’s the first one. “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.” Gatorade Ad
I love the simplicity of that statement. It’s a choice to continue or give up. It’s a way of approaching life that gives you the power to deal with whatever shows up, including both opportunities and obstacles.
I work with some people who would never throw in the towel. They roll up their sleeves, focus, and have the creative bursts that allow new energy into their performance. Giving up is not part of who they are. They achieve their goals and then wipe the sweat off of their faces. They also hand out the towels so others can do the same!
When faced with overwhelming odds, these sweaty people break down the distance into achievable goals. I often do this when I’m running. I run to the next light pole or another block and then set the next target. Not too much time has passed until I’ve run the whole distance. It’s a trick of the mind that keeps you focused on what your body can do now instead of letting your thoughts convince you that you can’t go any further. Setting small goals is a way to tame a runaway mind that focuses on why you should stop instead of what you can do to keep going.
I’ve been especially interested in why some folks throw in the towel. I’ve been noticing more people who are doing precisely that. They are convinced that they can’t do any more than they are currently doing. They are not open to any other point of view than the one they hold. They work up a sweat defending the status quo rather than going the extra mile. These are all good people, and still, I’m left wondering what would motivate them to make an effort.
And that brings me to the second quote. “Motivation can’t be measured, but performance can.” Garmin Ad
When you don’t perform, you can’t be measured! And it can become a form of self-sabotage. You can play the nice guy, the overwhelmed gal, and the victim, resist any strategies that would help, or use any excuse about the game itself, but remember:
If you don’t play, you can’t be measured. If you don’t play, you can’t win.
It’s important to notice when you’ve left the field and become a spectator to your life or job. When you don’t play, you’re sitting in the stands watching the game. Maybe your style is to yell at the players on the field about what they should be doing. Or maybe complaining to your pals about the way the team is playing. Be a player instead of a spectator. People will listen to you differently, and you’ll get stronger.
You don’t have to motivate people who love what they do. They play to win, but they also play to play. It’s an infinite game that doesn’t end with winning. You win the game and achieve your goals, but the motivation is to keep playing.
Most people say life is too short, so do the things that make you happy. I say life is too long not to enjoy what you do. The good news is that the inner sense of fulfillment is inside of your control. You have a choice.
So here are three ways to practice so you can find the power to keep going even when it’s hard to do, stay on the field of action, and be fulfilled along the way:
1) Go the extra mile. Pick something that you’ve been avoiding for whatever reason at work or home. Get back in the game. Stop resisting, say yes, schedule it, and do it. Work up a sweat.
2) Measure your performance. What did you achieve? What was the impact on your productivity? What do you need to complete?
3) Don’t stop now. Stay focused, and complete what you started. Lead by example. If you want others to help you, show them that you can do it first.
If you find that you can’t continue, then it may be time to consider a change and discover what truly motivates you to work up a sweat. In the meantime, do whatever you said you would do so that you can be complete. You’ll experience the power of your words, and clear your mental slate so you can consider what’s next without leaving a trail of unfinished business.
May your day be peaceful and productive.
Paulette Sun Davis