In today's episode we dive into why you're feeling unmotivated at work.
In this episode we discuss how:
Show notes and the transcript can be found here: https://michellekevill.com/podcast
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Hello, everyone, I hope you're well. And if not, I got you, at least you are here. My name is Michelle Kevill. And I help high achieving corporate women feel passionate about their job. And today we are talking about motivation. Now, this for me, if you're anything like me, especially if you're a high achiever, you do not have a sense of low motivation. And likely you just have been fueled with panic and fear as your motivation, and I'll get into that in a little bit. But what do we do when we're feeling low? What do we do when our motivation is low? As some of you, you have a bit of a freakout, some of you go into an extreme state of like, you just want to pass out on the couch, and then freak out that we're never gonna go back to our ovation, I got to go do it all over again. And we kind of get addicted to this panicked way of being and anxiety really fueling our sense of motivation, which is what I see a lot of, in my high achieving clients, including myself. And that's what I want to talk about today, in a bit more detail, especially the freakout part that I see sometimes around, oh my god, I have lost motivation, like what's going to happen now. And it's fine, you get it back. So I'm going to explain to you your brain, how it works, and how to have sustained motivation ongoing. And that's really, really unlearning some bullshit that you have learned throughout your whole life around how motivation is supposed to be even little nuances and sayings that I hear in like corporate and life. And I'm like, No, that is not how it works. Okay, let's get into it. So, like, picture this, you've had so much on at work, you've had lots of lots of projects, you've had a period where you were feeling relatively motivated, but you will almost a little bit zoned out as well. It's almost like you're in action mode, like this is what I need to do. And this is what I need to fix, etc. And you're moving through. And now it's become a little bit quiet. And you thought you feel relief, and you did for a little bit. And now you're kind of like, Oh, my God, like your body has just lost the plot, like it's tired. It takes exhausted, it does not want to do anything. It doesn't want to look at its emails, it's pushing out that third, that new thing or project that I got on, it's like, I don't want to look at this, your author at first thinking like, Okay, this could just be like something that's just happening for a little bit, but you've noticing it, every day, you're coming into work, and you're just having this a low sense of motivation, wondering why you're being there, maybe having a little bit of existential dread, similar to the last episode, and you don't really know what to do. Now for a lot of you high achievers, where you think you need to do is to just get back into it, like have a little break, and then get straight back into it back into focusing on to stuff. And when that doesn't work, you start to stress out and you start thinking, I don't know, we're gonna have any motivation again, I'm gonna feel like this forever. And you make it worse for yourself, because you're freaking out about the lack of motivation that you have. And it's just like it's all over. Let me tell you two reasons why this doesn't work. One, what if I told you when you're freaking out about your own emotions, sidenote, how you react to your emotions is likely how your parents or primary caregivers were reacting to you about your emotions. So take note of that. If you're resisting it, pushing away ignoring it angry at yourself, something to be aware of, you just make it worse, you are adding fuel to the house fire and you are freaking out even more. Secondly, you've been taught a whole heap of bullshit about how motivation works. For some, or for some reason, like society basically makes it out that like women to have like this copious amounts of motivation, all the fucking time. And I hear it all the time in corporate like, you know, like, Oh, we've come back from this break, and we're like, 100%, productive and ready, etc. And I'm like, even if you've only had like, two, three weeks, it's like, you're still not always going to be 110%. So it's John, especially if you think about work during your break. But people think it's like you take a short, small break, and then it's almost like you're meant to be completely motivated for the rest of the years. Maybe a little bit of ebbs and flow, but you're around that like 90% Mark, and I'm telling you right now, that is not how it works. And the reason it doesn't work as it goes against our very own human nature. If you want to be super productive,
you've got to slow the absolute
back down. Like really, really slow it down. My grandfather was dying from cancer. And by the way, that's no excuse. So do not be like, well, it's okay for you. Michelle is Vianne was super motivated, his grandfather died of cancer. I'm just giving you a little context here because I really wanted to just distract myself and really put myself into my job. I used that as an opportunity to really slow down at work, like I really pulled away. And what I found really interesting is when I allowed myself to work at 40% capacity, I would have days where fuck I was working at, like, what felt like 200% capacity. I was getting shit done. I was learning new things. I was just escalating like things and projects. And I was like, What the fuck is never happened before? Like, why don't I just have a spurt in like one to two hours? Like I've just amazing energy, like, where did this all come from. And then when I started to do the research and look into it, like we've been all wrong, if you want to be 110%, whatever productive, you've got to have a lot of rest in between that, and our society typically doesn't support that capitalism, and just how we've been structured, and I talk about this in my really, really old episodes, it's really the metaphor that like, we know, we're kind of like robots like we're meant to, not fully like robots. I'm not saying that, like corporations, or people aren't empathetic to our needs and stuff like that. But even on a good day, like we kind of just assume that humans are 100% productive. And I'm like, no, no, most good days, I guarantee you, you're like, 40% productive. And then if you just allow yourself to pull back even further, or just be where you're at, you will get some really amazing days where that is where in that short amount of time you get so much work done. And it's just the opposite to what we've been taught, we've been taught to push, hustle, always be motivated and always be doing things or distracting ourselves. Which is why the reason you're feeling very unmotivated right now. And it's a shock to your system, and you're freaking out about why it's pulling back so much, it is the same when it comes to binge eating. When you restrict for so long, your body is like, right, this is the only time I'm really going to get like rest or food. So I'm really going to put you in there. So say you're on a diet for so long. I mean, like super strict, like, doing absolutely nothing like not eating off anything, whatever. And then all of a sudden you like binge on all the sweets, etc. Your brain and like body is literally like this is my only time to eat, I'm gonna eat all the things, it's the same with motivation and rest, you push yourself for too long, you do not notice how you were feeling. And then all of a sudden, your brain is like, I'm not gonna get any amount of like anyone rest. So I am just going to feel completely exhausted and dead here. And then you freak out about it. And then you expect yourself in such a small amount of time to like, pick yourself up and get better. And really what you should be letting yourself like weeks months even, to just slowly get yourself out of that. And I know it can feel really painful. Because when I went through this, I was like the fuck, like, is it gonna come back? It comes back, it really does come back is when you're not using fear as your motivation. We're not making your work fine. Your self worth and value as a human being. You will find your motivation again. But you can't do that right now. When you just like noon resisting the whole experience. You need to accept that you're unmotivated and you hate where you're at right now you but there is you hate your job doing pushing out that project. I know it's not fun. And I know it's hard to trust me and to just be like, good, just keep going on with it and you'll be fine. What I mean by that is Don't resist the experience. Don't resist the feelings. Ask yourself what you fucking need right now. Do you need more sleep or more play? Or like taking up that hobby that you haven't done in ages? Like something creative not like Do not turn it into a task. I know you. You're like me, like, I will take this thing and I will monetize it or I will turn it into a business and this will be defined me and make me my new thing. Don't do that. I mean, if you don't know like to paint or something like that. Do that. But don't do it for any other reason that it's fun. For me. That's video games. I really just play video games, because the story is enjoyable and I find them really engaging and fun, then you've really got to redefine motivation for you. What I mean by that is I'll give you an example literally today. So I was feeling tired today. And a bit deflated. And this old habit came back was like right, we just got to finish this post and we'll be fine like right Post them, I was like, No, my fucking not doing that we're going to take a nap, we're going to take a 30 minute nap that ended up being like an hour. It was great though, I woke up, I felt really refreshed. And I probably wrote one of the best posts that I've written in a long fucking time. Because I let myself rest. That is the thing like you need to redefine how motivation or productivity works in your mind from now on, there's actually a ton, that's actually there are less moments throughout the day and throughout the life where you're super productive. If you want to be super productive, you got to give yourself more breaks and more rest. And it feels uncomfortable, because you have been operating in panic mode for so long. You've been using desperation, fear, anxiety, to motivate you, whether it's fear about not disappointing other people, whether it's worry that your boss is gonna get angry at you, if you don't do this deadline on time. Whether it's, you know, I need to make people think that I look great because you have impostor syndrome. And for a lot of you this is operating at such a subconscious level that the thoughts are just like, I have to do this, I got to do this, I got to keep going. Why do I feel this way? Oh, my God, like they're the surface level thoughts. But there's a whole subconscious deep set of beliefs that you're believing around, that's tied to motivation, and productivity, and just you in general. And it's not helping you. Because when I started doing this, that is when all the changes in my life started to happen. That is when I started to become more productive, that's when I started to enjoy my job more. And that's when I got promoted two times and under a year. Because I allowed myself to slow down. And I worked with my brain and body, I redefined what productivity meant for myself, which is why I get so irked sometimes when I still hear it in society, even though, you know, you could sit there and say that that's my own thoughts, I get that. Because we have the research, we have the evidence to show that when we are slowing down, we do speed up. But again, it feels weird, there's a way to do that, you're likely addicted to that you're likely addicted to these highs and lows, that is productivity. And sometimes as well, when you are in this low of complete and motivation, you will look for something you will try to find something your brain will hook on to something that it then is like, Oh, this is interesting or sparks of interest. And then it starts all over again. But then you get that motivation up. So for me it's cleaning back in. Like I have such a hate love relationship with cleaning. Like I could just panic, clean my whole house and certain rooms and everything. And it just it's like a it's really is like a dopamine rush for me. And for me, it was a way to get back my motivation and just feel a little bit more normal.
And figure out what it is for you like what is it that whenever this does happen, like look at your life at when you've had low sense of motivation. What has happened, no one really does that. You kind of just get out of it. And then it just you know, you get back into the same cycle and you're thinking about it anymore. But then you freak out when you're in it. But you never look at all the times that what happened when you were in these periods of low motivation. What was it that did change for you? Were you looking for something else? Was it that this project, you know, it was due all of a sudden, or the deadlines got shifted? And then the panic and you started? And then suddenly you have that motivation back again? Now I get it. So this is a little bit like if especially if you're new here, welcome. A bit deep for you. If you're like where is the part where I, you know, feel like how do I continue to do my job at work? That's really the biggest question I get is like, cool, am I motivated? I'll do all the deep stuff around figuring out, you know, what I'm believing on a subconscious level. But what do I do in the everyday? Well, one, like I said before, except where you're at except the feelings. But again, you're at your job, and you need to do shit. Like you want to do the little things you don't want to make it so that everything is due at the last minute or you don't want to go back into that panic motivated energy. What I suggest you do is really take stock take of what it is you need, like you have like what at a bare minimum, do you have to do really be strict with this because for a lot of you, your brain will be pulling at you being like but everything is really, really important. It's like no, no, no, at a bare minimum. So like, I can keep my job. What is it that I have to do right now. And for some of you this might trigger a little bit of shame. I want to tell you right now, it is normal for you sometimes to just do the fucking bare minimum, especially when you're unmotivated. I guarantee you at this point in time, that is the best thing to do. Instead of trying to push yourself into something that doesn't feel right yet, you will get this motivation back. But you need to let yourself exist and be where you're at. It's like, it's like you have a tiny child and you're trying to just shut the tantrum up. Like, you can't just stop the change from the kid needs to have to change from let the emotion out. It's the same with this, it just feels like it's forever because you're resisting it. So look at what it is, whether it's an email, a key project or something like that, and just break it down into tiny little pieces that you will block out and just do some of that and except, while you were doing the thing, whether it's the email the work on the project, then you're going to feel this nihilist existential dread. I don't want to do this yada, yada, yada. Tell your brain I am choosing right now, to do this. I also used to tell myself, I'm choosing to work at 40% capacity, because my brain will have hissy fits like oh my god, this is so bad, I shouldn't be doing this yada, yada, yada. I'm and I'm choosing to work a 40% capacity. I just normalize that in my brain. I kept repeating that over and over again, something like I'm giving my, I'm giving myself permission to do the bare minimum right now. And that is more than enough. And that is okay. Something along those lines, you need to give and I guarantee you when you fucking do that, you do end up getting more than the bare minimum done. Because you are now unclenching your butt, your unclenching your anus, and you relax a little bit and things can start moving again. Instead of being in a stalemate and like freeze position and really tight and trying to like work when you're like girl 10 Stop. It's just it's not going to work. So allow yourself to do that. Okay, my friends, that is all for today. Allow yourself to do the bare minimum. And I guarantee you that motivation will come back. Alright, see ya. Bye