I don't want to be a downer. But, loss is a part of life -- whether if it's losing a job or loved one. It was this time three years ago that my biggest company I'd ever been apart of failed. I ended up having to lay off almost 80 people. The holidays weren't so bright. I felt like crap. I prayed everyday that what I was experiencing had never happened. Not to mention I was in so much debt closing down the company I didn't know how I was going to afford food for my family.
While there are different degrees of loss, and ways that you cope with it, most of us want to hide under the covers.
Instead of retreating to your safe place, acknowledge your emotional suffering and look for ways to maintain your motivation - even though you're currently feeling unmotivated.
Remind yourself what motivated you in the past.
During the grieving process counselors "explore where your motivation came from and how life has changed since your loss," says Stacie Adams, Bereavement Coordinator at Mount Mountain Valley Hospice. They "also look at meaning and how to get your motivation back, as a part of moving through the grief journey."
One way this is accomplished is by thinking about what motivated you before your loss. "For example, if a person's spouse was a source of support and encouragement who pushed them to get things done, then when this spouse is gone, so is the motivation for getting things done," says Adams.
In this situation, "it may be helpful to remind yourself of what your spouse would say to you in certain situations." You could write those statements down and display them in locations where you'll see them every day.
Another tactic you could try is reflecting on your past successes. Whether if it was starting your own business or completing a marathon. Think back to how it felt when you achieved your goal.
It feels amazing, right? Use that feeling of euphoria to help ignite your motivation.
Talk about it.
You're not weak when you express your emotions. This a key component of emotional intelligence. When you're able to communicate how you feel, you're able to discover more about yourself. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Whether if it's opening up to you spouse, best friend, colleague, or writing about in a blog post, talking about your feelings is part of the healing process. As a result, you still to find ways to overcome the problems and challenges blocking your motivation.
Create a supportive environment.
It's no secret that your surroundings can influence your mood. Think about how you feel after staying at a luxurious spa and resort compared to a grungy motel. You probably feel relaxed, confident, and thrilled that you were able to stay at such a place.
Spending time by yourself or people who like throw pity parties isn't going to help turn things around. You need to surround yourself with people who are optimistic and supportive. Remember, feelings are contagious so choose your company wisely when you need a boost of motivation.
Decorate your workspace and home so that it inspires and motivates you each day. It could be as simple as repainting your walls, letting in more natural light, and placing books in spots where they can be seen regularly.
Make a gratitude list.
"Grab your journal, a free column in your date book, a scrap sheet of paper, a pile of Post-It notes, or whatever works for you," suggests Josh Linkner, CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partner.
"No matter the form, make your content uniform. Write a column of numbers from 1 to 100. Then, think about your blessings and count them. Use your sheet and list 100 things you are grateful for, from small to big."
I write in my gratitude journal a couple of times per week. Usually this is recording events that were unexpected or being thankful for my family. Doing so helps me focus on what I have. As a result, it improves my mood and motivates me to keep doing what I'm doing so that I don't lose what's most valuable to me.
Pursue a hobby.
When you're grieving, this may be a bit of challenge. But, make it a point to do something that you love, provides an outlet for your creativity, or develops a skill. Having a hobby can lift your spirits, recharge your batteries, and give you a sense of achievement.
Most importantly, you never know where this side project will take you. When my company closed, I started other projects. Some failed while others did very well. It was just a side gig to help pay the bills, but it opened new opportunities. Ultimately, that little side gig lead to me starting Calendar, my next "gig."
Book a ticket.
When you're grieving, the last thing that you may want to do is travel. But, traveling forces you to get out of the negativity that's surrounding you.One of the first things I did when my company failed was book a trip to Disneyland with my wife.
Research has found that traveling changes your personality for the better. It provides new perspectives and helps you become more spontaneous. Traveling also makes you grateful, learn how to cope with obstacles, and gets your creative juices flowing.
Adjust your physiology.
One of the easiest ways to change your state of mind is by adjusting your physiology. Physiology is just the connection between your body and mind. As such, it's a broad term for things like your posture or facial expressions.
"If the mind and body are intrinsically connected -- meaning that one has a direct affect on the other -- then it poses the argument that if we directly and consciously take control of one, that it will directly influence and transform the other," explains life coach and founder of IQ Matrix Adam Sicinski.
So if you're following the down path, or feeling down, you're not going to be as energetic as you would when you're feeling good.
The idea then is to find your peak state. This way you're working at your highest level of potential. According to Sicinski, here's how you alter your physiology
Now it's time to unlock your physiological recipe by:
Let others motivate you.
Read an autobiography. Watch an inspiring documentary. Listen to your favorite song.
In other words, let others motivate you. Becoming aware of how someone else overcame a struggle can motivate you to follow suit. Also, when you read, you're gaining new perspectives, while boosting your imagination and creativity.
And, sometimes you just need a distraction while healing. Tell me how refreshing you feel when you get to belt out your favorite lyrics while driving.
Whether if it's a random act of kindness or volunteering, helping others is a guaranteed way to help put you in a better state. This is because you're meeting new people, developing new skills, and improving your self-esteem and physical health.
For me, I started working closely with Open to Hope charity daily. Not only did this give me a chance to showcase my skills, it put my own struggles in perspective. And, it made me realize that there's something bigger to life than losing a business.
I'm not belittling the loss you've experience. For me, helping others opened my eyes to the fact that losing a business isn't the end of the world. For you, volunteering could be a chance to become a part of a community after you've lost a family member.
Give yourself time to heal.
Even if you've followed the advice listed above, finding your motivation in the face of loss isn't a simple process that can be solved overnight. It's complicated and may involve you addressing mental or health concerns first.
"Although it will at some point become necessary to find a new sense of normal and resume certain activities, be patient and gentle with yourself during these early months," says Adams. "Also, allow time for naps and down time, so that you get the rest that you need.