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Do you feel like you’re sliding backwards? A lesson in lost motivation

In this post, I’m going to focus on what happens when we find ourselves sliding backwards; when our strengths no longer seem to be propelling us in a direction toward success.

Have you ever felt seriously down? Not as a result of a traumatic event or loss, but due to an uncontrollable focus on your own weaknesses? I know the feeling. That moment when nothing but negative perceptions of one’s own self comes rushing in like a Gatling gun with a mashed trigger. That endless barrage of self-proposed fix-actions, repairs, and areas of lesser abilities can be mentally and physically debilitating.

There are areas of our lives we’d all like to feel more satisfied with. Finances, relationships, parenting, living conditions, all of these elements of our daily grind represent gaps or possible cracks in an otherwise smooth transition between each day. Sometimes these hairline fractures turn into massive pits, swallowing our focus, motivation, and drive like a worm in the gullet of a black crow.

So how do we avoid feeling this way while also maintaining a disciplined focus on developing our strengths?

Living a life in line with our natural abilities is not easy. We often don’t have the option of simply quitting our thankless job in pursuit of something more meaningful, we can’t dismiss everyday tasks because they are recognized as our weaknesses, and we can’t expect that others will treat us differently because we don’t respond well to their demands.

But we do have ultimate control in the way we treat ourselves.

Strengths-based development has taught me that my life does not have to be controlled by outside influences. Immediately following my training as a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I embarked on a mission to help others identify their strengths, and learn how to apply them in an effort to make their lives easier. I wanted to help them lubricate the friction in both their home and work lives.

I was so focused on helping others that I completely neglected helping myself.

One night while sitting in my office, I had the strong desire to wipe the slate clean. I removed every picture off of my wall, cleaned all of the clutter from my desk, emptied my book shelves, and pulled out the area rug. I sat in my desk chair staring at the blank walls wondering what my next step was, and why I was even motivated to take it.

Then I glanced over my left shoulder and saw a poster I had made listing out my Top 5 (which I must have missed during my purging).

Strategic – Futuristic – Woo – Ideation – Communication

The sight of my strengths laid out on a piece of paper in a crazy bold faced font made me think about my past accomplishments, and exactly how I was able to overcome adversity. Each hurdle I had to leap was spring boarded by a talent. The battles I had won were not accidental. They were due to owning a heavy arsenal of skills that my adversaries did not possess. Each talent, when applied correctly, acted as a rung on a ladder that allowed me to climb out of the crow’s mouth.

Your Top 5 are not only a reflection of your abilities, but a road map that leads back to the path of least resistance.

We are often our own worst critics. But the key to advancement lies in acknowledging that we will have good days and bad days. Your Strengths journey will be plagued with obstacles both internal and external. When you feel yourself slipping backwards, know that there’s a ladder there to prevent your fall. It’s made up of five distinct rungs. Concentrate on your foot placement, feel the security of each step, and propel yourself in the direction that leads to something better.

And my last request, is that you ALWAYS take time to help yourself.

Sharpen your own edge before trying to cut down the forest.

photo credit: mikeyskatie via photopin cc

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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at andy@unleashstrengths.com View all posts by The WOO Warrior

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1 Comment(s)

  1. October 9, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    I know the feeling! I’m so glad I stopped fixing myself and partnered up with people who were different than me! Great job, Andy!

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