How to Stay Motivated Through Trying Times

Last week’s eChapter focused on how to stay motivated and keep the momentum going while trying to navigate the new normal. Tanya Memme, TV host and Founder of Life Masters talk show and podcast, hosted a panel featuring IAW members Dailisha Eve Rodriguez, the Executive Director of Hey There Beautiful Foundation, and Marie C. Zoutomou-Quintanilla, Motivational Speaker and Author, to discuss ways to stay motivated through the chaos of the world as we know it. 

As many of our members mentioned during eChapter, some days are harder than others. Sue, an IAW member, said “some days I can be amazingly focused and other days paralyzed from fear,” and Tracey shared that “stress, distraction, business impact, and sometimes just extreme sadness” were some of the big ways she’s been affected by the current state of the world. 

While there’s not a one-size-fits-all to remaining motivated through trying times, here are some tips Tanya, Dailisha, and Marie shared with our IAW community.

If you’re not familiar with eChapter, it’s a virtual networking platform hosted monthly by the International Association of Women. Each month we feature a panel of experts and discuss topics and issues that women commonly face. Through discussion, live chat, and Q&A, we offer support, motivation, and inspiration for our members. You can learn more about eChapter here

Establish a Self-Care Routine

Both presenters stressed the importance of establishing and maintaining a self-care routine. Some suggestions were exercising, meditating, eating ice cream, and napping, but it’s important to do what’s right for you. “It’s really knowing what it is that you need and meeting that need and honoring that,” said Dailisha. “Give to yourself first, because you can not fully give to others if your cup is not full. It’s a lot easier to give when you’re full.”

Dress for Success

While it might seem like a small thing, putting on an outfit that makes you feel good can go a long way in regard to productivity. Marie says she gets ready everyday just as if she was going to the office, even when she’s working from home. “The reason why I do that is I want to feel that even when I’m talking to somebody over the phone, I feel good, because when you feel good — your voice, your confidence — people can feel it over the phone.” said Marie. “I don’t have to get all dolled up every day, but I at least put something on that makes me feel good.” 

Make a Plan

When it comes to staying motivated, keeping a schedule can be a helpful way of holding yourself accountable. Marie suggested creating a list of the day’s tasks so that you know exactly what needs to get done, and if there are tasks you don’t get around to completing, start with those the next day. “Have a plan everyday,” said Marie.

Acknowledge Your Sadness

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and with that can come a heavy sadness. “In the experience of where the country is and where we are, it’s really overwhelming because you want to create impact, and you also want to heal,” said Dailisha. 

She stated how important it is to take the time to mourn the things that hurt you so that you can promote your own healing. “Oftentimes, as entrepreneurs, mothers, and women, we are healing other people, we’re not healing ourselves, we’re not tending to ourselves,” said Dailisha. She went on to give an example of a basketball pushed under water, relating our feelings of sadness to the submerged basketball that is certain to return to the surface as soon as it’s left alone.

Don’t Give In to Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is characterized as having intense self-doubt despite evidence of success. While Imposter Syndrome affects all types of people, 66% of women have experienced Imposter Syndrome in some form, compared to 56% of men. It’s an ever-present struggle for women in the workplace, and Dailisha said she’s had many clients voice their frustration with not feeling like they’re enough, or that their impact matters. Dailisha’s advice to her clients and to IAW members is this: “[Know] that you’re enough, you’re doing enough. Your productivity is not your worth, it’s not your value. How many hours you’re on your screen does not determine your value.”

Find Ways to Give Back

Tanya said that when she’s struggling with a lack of motivation, she tries to channel that into doing something positive for others. “One of the things that I always do is I find ways to give back. I’ll find a friend to help. I’ll find someone down the street that can’t make it to the grocery store and go get their groceries, you know, get involved. There’s so many ways in which you can get involved. Now you can donate, you can support an organization, write letters to your local politicians.”

Express Gratitude

Calling attention to the good things in your life is a great reminder when you’re feeling discouraged. “I have a gratitude journal, and every morning I write five things that I’m grateful for,” said Marie. Reminding yourself of the positive aspects of your life allows you to keep things in perspective.

Lean on Your Community

Dailisha also talked about the importance of finding solace in those around you, and finding a group that you can openly express your feelings. “This is a moment to cry with one another, this is a moment to be vulnerable,” said Dailisha. 

The International Association of Women strives to provide you with a community and a place you feel safe to express yourself. “This is a time to lean, of self reflection, and of love,” Dailisha said. “If you don’t have that contact us, that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to support you and empower you.” 

Keep a Positive Mindset

You are your harshest critic, and now’s not the time for negative self-talk. Go easy on yourself, and keep your mindset as positive as possible. 

Marie spoke about how she remained positive as she went through chemo for her cancer diagnosis. “I was fighting for my life, but I had a mindset of ‘I’m going to win, I’m going to fight this’. And then I also thought, ‘Okay, what’s next? Besides my sorrow and my sadness?’” said Marie. She created a vision board that allowed her to look past her immediate struggles and to focus on what she wanted for her future and steps to take to make it happen. 

“Whatever it is that you’re going through today, put that aside,” said Marie. “Think about all your blessings that are coming. Remember, sometimes we have to go through what we’re going through to get to where we’re going.”

Set Boundaries

Creating boundaries in your life will give you the ability to grow and progress. Boundaries can come in many forms, like establishing a schedule and sticking to it, or setting expectations for how you want to be treated by the people you spend your time with. “Not everybody is meant to go with you,” said Dailisha. “You do not have to pick up every phone call. You do not have to reply to every single email. You do not have to go to every single event. You get to choose your life.”

Marie had similar sentiments regarding setting boundaries for who you surround yourself with. “Just know that sometimes you do have to let go of certain relationships, and don’t feel bad about it,” Marie said. “It’s so important to surround yourself with people that are in the same alignment.”

Dailisha also touched on the importance of respecting your own boundaries so that others will follow suit. “It’s knowing that these are my boundaries. And if I respect myself, other people have to respect the boundaries that I set up as well.”

And lastly, just remember that you’re only human. “You don’t have to save the world,” said Dailisha. “Sometimes you have to take your cape off and wash it.”

We’d love to see you at our next eChapter event where we’ll discuss how to avoid burnout. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.

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