On this page:
  • Hacking my motivation for workouts
  • Celebrating rejection and failure
  • Enthusiastic rapport with Emmanuel and Rob: movies that motivate

Hacking my motivation for workouts

There was a recent Lifehack.org post on tying something you love to workouts so that you feel more motivated. It’s useful to know how to hack your motivation. =) W- and I joke about this. After going to fitness class, we make sure there’s a little positive reinforcement. Sometimes we go out to eat. We cook most of our meals, so it’s a real treat for us to go to a restaurant. Sometimes we’ll prepare comfort food at home. Sometimes I’ll reward myself with time spent playing video games. It doesn’t do much for my motivation during the workout itself (I still feel like I suck!), but it’s good for getting me out the door and for cheering me up again afterwards. I try to skew my reward system towards free or low-cost things so that I don’t end up associating spending with pleasure: a pho date is wonderful, but so is watching a movie at home.

There aren’t many things in my life that need this kind of extra motivation. Sometimes I need to use extra motivation in order to start giving a good presentation if I’m not feeling up to par, but it’s a scheduled commitment, so that helps me get going. Once I’m in the flow, crowd energy usually leaves me buzzing. Dealing with system administration issues and embarrassing mistakes is tough, but it is what it is, so I just have to knuckle down and do it. It’s just optional tough things that need this kind of external motivation-hacking, like exercising or shopping for clothes. (Yes, I’m weird.) There’s clearing my inbox, which I usually get around to doing once a week or so. Business mail gets faster replies, but I’m not super-responsive, and I think that’s actually okay with my priorities.

I have six sessions left on my 10-session pass (which is my second), and I plan to go once a week with W-. (Maybe even twice, if I can work up to it – I used to before I sprained my ankle.) I wonder how much I can hack my motivation, and if I can get to the point of wanting to get another 10-session pass. In that time, I’m probably not going to be able to enjoy the feeling of keeping up properly with the rest of the class. I usually modifying all the exercises so that I can do them without getting so tired that I might injure myself. But I can increase my enjoyment of being able to check off one more session (maybe with a nice big visual reminder?), especially combined with biking to and from the gym. I can line up treats for myself (such as books or stretching), and then focus on tying the positive feelings back to the exercise. I can also look for other forms of exercise that I might enjoy. Maybe lifting small weights or hula-hooping while playing games? <laugh>

Lifehack.org: How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

Celebrating rejection and failure

Dave Ferguson told me this story of a real estate agency that trains people to not be afraid of rejection. Salespeople aren’t afraid of “no”s because those “no”s are part of the path towards “yes”es. This real estate agency realized that at some point, their new recruits are going to experience clear, unambiguous rejection: a door slammed in their face! When that happens, that person’s mentor is going to take them out, treat them to lunch, and celebrate their first door. It’s an important milestone.

There’s another interesting idea along those lines: the Rejection Therapy game. The rules are simple: Every day, you must be rejected by at least one person. Not “try to be rejected”, actually rejected. A flat-out no when you are in a position of (some) vulnerability and the other person is in a position of (some) power. If you have a hard time coming up with rejection situations, you can get the playing cards or the app. Tapping into your fears or uncertainties might give you plenty of ideas. The game desensitizes you to rejection, making you less afraid of it. In the process, who knows what you’ll learn and how wonderful your life will be?

What might my rejections look like, and how can I get ready to celebrate them?

Consulting: Plenty of opportunities for rejection here. You don’t have enough experience. This doesn’t make sense. It’s not a good fit. You don’t know enough about our culture. This wouldn’t work here. You charge too much. Each of those things illuminates something else I can learn and contains a hint about where I might succeed. I’m going to celebrate my first blank stare, my first awkward silence at a workshop, my first client-walks-out rejection.

Writing: Apathy is the toughest rejection to crack. After I self-publish a book, I can look forward to celebrating any months without sales. If I go with the traditional publishing route, I can celebrate my first form-letter rejection, my first hundred. Harsh flames might be worthy, too. After all, safe writing is boring writing. I want to write things that are useful, which may mean writing things that people are surprised by or that people disagree with.

Drawing: I’ve actually made a lot of progress towards rejection milestones in drawing. I’ve gotten the “Maybe you should learn how to draw – my kid can draw better than this” rejection. I’ve gotten the “That isn’t funny” rejection and the “That’s insulting! Won’t someone think about company morale?” rejection (from an executive, no less!). I’ve gotten the “Your style tries to copy ___ too much” rejection, too. Hmm, maybe I can collect different kinds of rejections… I found it easy to deal with those rejections because I don’t have my ego wrapped up in my drawing skills or my sense of humour. I know I’ve got tons to learn!

I tend to celebrate rejection and failure through blog posts (because I’ll almost always manage to get a story out of something!). What are other good ways to celebrate them? Hugs, cat-cuddling, bike rides, a good session with a book, some sketches, a trip to the museum or art gallery (surrounded by the beautiful results of countless failures)… =)

What do your rejection milestones look like, and how can you celebrate them?

Enthusiastic rapport with Emmanuel and Rob: movies that motivate

What a day, what a day!

I went back to Second Cup for coffee with Emmanuel Lopez and Rob Schaumer at 3:00 PM. Kevin McIntosh introduced me to Emmanuel Lopez because of Emmanuel’s upcoming series called “Movies that Motivate”. Instinct told me to invite Rob Schaumer (Purpose Realized), whom I had met at the Mesh planning party last November 15 and again at the DemoCamp afterparty. And what a conversation we had! Two hours just flew past, and we all had great fun.

Emmanuel Lopez has been a motivational
speaker for the past three years. “Motivational speaker” is too bland
a word to describe him—hence the moniker, “Motivatorman”. The movie
series this January at the Royal Ontario Museum looks really
interesting. With feel-good and thought-provoking movies such as
Groundhog Day, As Good As It Gets, and Pleasantville, he’ll help so
many people face their challenges and develop themselves. And the
events aren’t just movies, too. He’ll start each event with 30 minutes
for a motivational speech and discussion, and wraps it up with more
discussion and reflection. Sounds like good stuff!

I’m *really* excited about his second project, too: a series of
workshops on self-development for hubs/connectors. With the tagline
“network – interact – share”, it definitely sounds like my kind of
thing—heck, it’s something I wish I could’ve organized! <laugh>
It’s a pity that the first event is in January; I’ll only be able to
make it to the next one. AHA! I know, I can suggest homework…

What a delight! I’m looking forward to inviting the people I know to
those events (even in absentia!), which will help me get to know their
non-work sides too.

And I had *no* idea that Rob Schaumer had a
talent for marketing, but I’m glad I discovered it in the course of
conversation! He suggested all sorts of useful little tweaks for
Emmanuel’s marketing campaign.

He has such a fascinating life history. Self-educated in an Orthodox
Jewish community where most people are expected to complete university
degrees, he really wants to reach out and motivate other people. He
related how motivational speakers tend to break into the profession in
three ways:

  • earn a university degree in it (they have degrees in motivational speaking?)
  • work for someone already doing it
  • prove your worth

Rob decided not to go for university, and ended up building a company
for the heck of it—just to see if he could. (Wow!) The motivational
companies he talked to wouldn’t consider someone without a university
degree, so by process of elimination…. I’ve no doubt that he’ll find
his niche and fill it really well!

Rob’s got such awesome experiences. One of his stories fits in
perfectly with Emmanuel’s focus on movies. He was playing squash, but
he was pretty tired and out of form. He told us how he intentionally
visualized the scene in Superman Returns where Superman flies into
space to recharge, and that just filled him with energy. Every time
his energy flagged, he’d go back to that scene. Because of that, he
played a pretty good game!

We swapped many more tips that I’m looking forward to writing about
over time, but I just wanted to help you get to know some of the
fantastic people I met today. Isn’t life awesome?

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