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Motivation is Overrated
January 16, 2017
Just shut up and “do."
One of the best parts about being a solo practitioner is that you are your own boss and no one can tell you what to do. The worst part? No one is there to tell you what to do. When your name is at the top of the letterhead, there are days where the energy and motivation to get things done just isn’t there. There is no fire to move forward. No one is there to stand over your shoulder and say, “you’ve got a week to hand this in. Go.” Admittedly, I feel like that a good number of days. I simply lack the motivation.That was until I heard someone say something that has been sitting in my bones all week. This person said, “stop waiting on motivation to motivate you.”
HOLD UP. COME AGAIN?
Stop waiting on motivation to motivate you? Then how would I be motivated? Sounded like some ancient wisdom my old sensei would drop as he would saunter away with his cane in the dojo. Then as this person began to elaborate, their approach made more sense. And as I processed the words and began applying it, I have noticed myself becoming a more productive attorney and an all ‘round more proactive person. The approach is simple: motivation doesn’t get you to do; doing gets you motivated. Motivation is fleeting. It comes and goes. Ever notice that motivation can literally change with the seasons? When that winter snow falls and the city becomes blistering cold, or when the rain pours down and you just want to be home on a couch. Or when the sun is shining and you get a solid night’s rest, and all of a sudden want to take on the world? Motivation lives and dies at the whim of Mother Nature. But what happens when that motivation tank is depleted and you have twenty open case files? Work needs to get done because a client doesn’t care that you aren’t feeling chipper that day. And that’s when we just “shut up and do.” See, I have recently gotten into Olympic weightlifting, and in order to fit the hour of lifting into my busy day, I have to get up at six in the morning to go. I am nevermotivated to get up early, but I know that if I can just get my feet out of the bed and stand up, then that’s it. I’m going. So when my alarm rings at 5:55 a.m., come hell or high water, I make sure to throw myself out of the bed and stand up. No thinking about it. Once I get up, I all of a sudden feel motivated to lift. The same thing applies in your practice. Deadlines, pleadings, hearings, clients, taxes, your health—all things you need to manage. And so many of these things fall to the wayside because you lack the drive. Stop letting that happen by becoming that very force of nature that affects your motivation. Do not wait until you feel good to do something about it because that day may never come. Plan your day out the night before. Know what has to be done. Then just do it. Banging out a few tasks in the morning will all of a sudden light a fire under you to blaze through the rest of your agenda. Sometimes we need to get out of our own heads in order to get things done. And sometimes the best way to do that is to forget about motivational speeches and simply yell at ourselves to