It is one thing to discover your life’s purpose and another thing to stay motivated while carrying out that purpose or calling.
Let me first say that it is a myth to think that because you now know what to do with your life and have begun to pursue it, there will not be challenges or that the thought of giving up may not cross your mind.
As excited and satisfying as you may be right now, days will come when you might begin to doubt if you are really walking in God’s path for your life. Stormy days, in whatever manner they choose to come, are inevitable.
Someone reading this may be thinking, here you are talking about staying motivated when I don’t even know what to do with my life. I live day to day in confusion and cry on some days. How do I know where to start from?
You are at the right place. These two blog posts will help you out.
For that person still confused about the career path to take, let me quickly add that, one of the things you might notice as you become serious about discovering purpose is a certain restlessness and burden in your heart such that the more you try to push it away, the stronger it stays.
Also when you read or notice someone carrying out activities similar to what God is pointing your heart to, there will be a deep stirring and sometimes you find yourself saying, ‘I know I can do this! I can!
For hours, your thoughts will keep going over what you have heard or seen and the more you seek clarity, the stronger you’ll feel drawn towards it.
With that foundation laid, can we go right into some basic tips that’ll help you stay motivated while pursuing your calling?
So, you have kicked off that career or ministry and you are running very fast with it. You are enjoying the process and satisfied in your heart that this is what you have been created to do. But sometimes, you wonder if you really should be doing this.
Why do you feel stagnant? How do you stay motivated and hopeful during those times when you just want to give up. When the results you desire seem to be so far away, how you do keep moving forward?
1. Shut out the noise and listen to the Holy Spirit.
There was a time when my writing career at the verge of collapsing. I loved to write and getting ideas had never been a problem for me. But this time, for several days, I was just at one spot. There was a time too when I thought I was wasting my time building a career writing gospel content when my mates were building ’empires’ in programming and some other fields.
But on this day, I decided to just stay away from all the expectations and pressure to wait on the Lord in his Word.
By the time I was out, I had pages filled with synopsis of mind blowing stories. I felt refreshed and ready to run again. That’s me sharing an example from a writing/blogging standpoint. But this basic principle cuts across every other area.
The Holy Spirit wants to guide us in all wisdom and understanding. He is as much interested in our life’s purpose as he is about our spiritual walk.
Sometimes that feeling of despair may be that your pursuit of that career or ministry is taking so much of your time and your personal communion with God is undergoing serious attack. You know how it is sometimes when you want to meet targets, reach more people, develop skills and you forget your relationship with God comes first.
At other times, it could be that you are no longer trusting God for guidance or you think that now that you are becoming a pro, he should be relegated to the background.
It might also be that the Holy Spirit is nudging your heart to something higher but you have chosen to stay comfortable in the valley.
Whatever the case, shutting yourself away from the noise for a refreshing time with the Holy Spirit will not only help you maintain momentum, you’ll be able to discern the next direction to take and the wisdom needed for the next phase.
…Even the young shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall,but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be tired, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30,31
2. Avoid Comparison like a plague.
Nothing poisons your joy than comparing your progress with others. It’s fine to be challenged by what they do, but when you begin to fret because of their numbers, results and how much they are doing better than you, it’ll blind you to see the growth and effort you are putting into your work.
Stay in your lane. You are created for his pleasure and not for your selfish ambition. Don’t move out of the place God has placed you merely because someone else is succeeding in another field. For the unbelievers, this sounds very foolish. But yet we know, the foolishness of this world is God’s wisdom. So, we stay right where he has called us to serve.
Envy is the rottenness of the bones. You will keep getting frustrated if you allow your progress to be controlled by envy. The earth is wide enough for all of us to run our courses and God has promised to prosper all that concerns us. So trust him to bring great results to the work of your hand. Focus on developing skills and growth and be grateful for the level you have attained so far.
What do you do if you discover that the comparison syndrome is already eating into your bones? How do you really stop it?
One of the best ways to do this is to employ the replacement initiative. Rather than spend time going through the person’s works and having your heart stirred up in envy, spend more time reading books in your area of expertise.
Watch videos or read articles from people who started from ground zero and learn how they were able to grow. The truth is that, the people you are comparing yourself with also encountered challenges before they got to where they are today. If your eyes should be opened to see the hardwork and investment they put in, you’ll be stunned.
It is a growth process. With your mind focused on pursuing your goals and dreams, you’ll be too busy bothering yourself or sulking over how someone somewhere is hitting it big.
… When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12.
3. Network. Don’t work in isolation.
I have shared in some of my blog posts how my writing career was fanned by my connection with some other writers.
You see, blogging is hard work. Because quality content is my goal, and since I’m both the writer and editor of the articles and stories on the blog, I feel drained sometimes. It is at such times when my brain seems clogged that I turn to my blogger friend, Esther Adeniyi and feel encouraged to push on.
Many times, when I experience writers block and all I can do is stare blankly at my laptop screen, I visit certain sites I have bookmarked and read some of their beautiful contents and again I get fired up.
We were not created to be by ourselves. You’ll be doing yourself so much harm if you don’t have friends in your field. If you want to remain motivated, you’ll have to drop that pride and relate with people who can help you.
Attend that conference. Connect with others by watching their videos and learning new things. Learn to listen and be observant. Be friendly. This may just be what you need to break away from the routine and monotony.
On Saturday, I got so lazy to work on this blog post and while I was just relaxing on the bed and chatting with some friends on WhatsApp, a blogger friend and I began to chat and as a way of saying, ‘Ife, can we chat later?’ she told me she had just returned from a journey and was on her work table. I was slapped out of my slothfulness and soon I was up on my feet and back to my table.
As you relate with others, the blessings of fellowship will course through your veins and lifts you up.
…As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens the other…
4. Get organized.
This is how you catch me unhappy at the end of a week: When I can’t point to something specific that I have achieved.
In my mind, every day comes with the task of fruitfulness and I must tap into it. I must be able to say, I published this article, I wrote so and so chapters of this book, I worked on a scene treatment or I read some chapters of a particular book. I should be able to point to a task that I did and the only way that has been able to work for me is by planning my week and setting daily goals.
I do not make these plans in my head, I scribble them down. It doesn’t even matter if I do not see through to everything on the list, as far as I can tick some, I’m fine.
Sticking to a daily schedule has been one of the most difficult things for me to do because I’m not much of an organized person but I realized that a year would pass by and I’d still not have achieved anything. I also discovered that on the days that I map out my plans, it’s easy for me measure how far I have gone and what I need to do to get better.
Set attainable and realistic goals. Have a dream journal. Go over the things you want to see in your future. Add new plans. Delete the unnecessary ones.
Declutter your space and give room only to those things that are important.
Have at least a weekly plan. How many chapters do you hope to read this week? What research do you need to do to develop your skills? Who do you need to contact? what difficulties need to be addressed?
5. Take a break.
As a writer, there was a time I didn’t have a social life. Every minute I was calculating what next to write, what research I needed to finish. My head was working per hour. When I sat to watch a movie, I felt guilty wondering how I could waste precious time when I should be doing some brain tasking job. I would be with my colleague at work and while we were relaxing and chatting, my mind would switch to an unfinished task.
A friend asked me which cinema I had gone to since I relocated to Ibadan. He was shocked when I said none. When another friend proposed we visit the cinema, I loved the idea, but to stand up from my quiet corner, dress up and go have fun was like a battle.
But I knew that had to end. One evening, my friend gave me a call asking me to come over. I was out of my house before my mind would look for something else to do. I really had fun hanging out with her. We laughed and watched a movie together and I made a conscientious effort not to let work interrupt that beautiful moment.
You need your ‘me’ time away from work. Your brain needs rest to be productive. Attend that occasion. Hang out with your friends. Enjoy life’s moments. Go see that movie. Sleep soundly listening to that uplifting song . Dance alone in your room. Flex those stiff muscles. Just do something outside work. Trust me, by the time you return, you’ll feel energized to commence work again.
How do you stay motivated in your passion or purpose? Would you mind sharing with me in the comments section below?