When I was a child, our holiday car journeys always followed the same pattern.
Children and cases were bundled into the car, there would be a few false starts during which time forgotten essentials would be retrieved and “this is the last time” checks made to make sure the cooker/ iron had been turned off.
And then finally we would get going.
Ten minutes later, the first round of “Are we were there yet?” would be asked, a question that would be repeated continually throughout the three hour journey and met with decreasing levels of patience from my parents.
Recently, I was reminded of these holidays when I took some time out to reflect on my own online business and realised that I had been making it all far more stressful by constantly asking myself the "Am I nearly there yet?" question.
"Am I nearly there yet?"
You see when I first started, I was completely obsessed with the goals I was trying to reach.
I'd thought in great detail about the business I wanted to create. I knew what my monthly financial goals were, how many email subscribers I wanted and had masses of ideas about the blogs and e courses I wanted to create.
I got completely hung up with what I wanted to achieve and my final destination.
But constantly thinking about my long-term goals and wondering if I was ever going to get there or how far it was, became exhausting and frankly, deeply demotivating.
Because it kept reminding me how far I had to go. And it kept reminding me of how little progress I seemed to be making.
Result – vast qualities of “make me feel better” ice cream consumed with a mega helping of overwhelm.
Despite my initial expectations the business hasn’t been a quick sprint to huge numbers of adoring fans and online super stardom. The reality has been a long apprenticeship with much to learn, a couple of false starts, numerous mini mind set shifts to make along the way and lashings of hard work.
But in a way, I’m more than happy with how it’s all turned out because through all the episodes of self-doubt, wondering if it's really all worth it, when others think you are losing the plot and your mother wonders why you don’t just go out and get a “proper” job, I’ve discovered the secret to motivation.
And it’s a deep-seated motivation that I truly believe can sail me through any storm of obstacle and setback.
It’s about enjoying the journey. Being fully present with each small task and not constantly asking myself if this is going to be a success.
In a way, you could call it business mindfulness.
I realised that if I was going to develop the staying power to just keep at it, teeny tiny step after teeny tiny step with no immediate confirmation that my work was any good or worth doing, I had to find another way.
The way of the mindful task.
In one of those happy coincidences that can fall into our lap sometimes, it was at this point that I came across an episode from Marie TV* which confirmed this.
She points to research by University of Chicago business school that showed that people were able to keep going longer if they found something intrinsic in the task to enjoy rather than just focusing on the end goal.
In other words, put your attention on the joy/ excitement/ deep satisfaction you can get from focusing on a task and doing it to the best of your ability.
This is the way to keep yourself motivated when it feels as if you're making little progress, your goal seems an eternity away and you're tempted to reach for the ice cream bucket.
So keep taking the steps, remind yourself how far you have already come and most importantly, enjoy and savor the journey,