I was crying in bed for the third time today. As I sat there red-faced and sobbing, my poor partner was not sure what to say at this point. He had already told me to leave my job during my previous rounds of crying. But instead of feeling relieved by his words, it only increased my guilt and made me cry even more.
I could never quit, I thought to myself – for several reasons. We live in an area of the country that requires dual incomes to live comfortably. How could I leave a steady paycheck and put pressure on him? I cried because I felt trapped. I wondered how to find motivation as I feeling like a failure and just wanted to give up.
Burnt Out? You are not alone
Have you been so burnt out and exhausted and so carried away by your emotions that it has been ages since you were bright-eyed and optimistic, motivated to take on the world? If you’re feeling unmotivated, tired, and lost, and have still found your way here, then the good news: you’re more motivated than you think you are. Even better, you’re going to succeed and come out on top.
How I found motivation with “The Princess Bride” Strategy
“The Princess Bride” is a classic 80’s movie. While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him the story of a farm boy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous enemies, obstacles, and allies in his desire to reunite with his true love.
In one scene from the movie, Wesley, the hero of the film, is lying flat on his back, lifeless with heavy limbs and he has no strength left in his body after being tortured to death. His hope of surviving is looking pretty bleak. At this point, it seemed as though had no fight left in him to take on his opponent Prince Humperdinck and rescue his lady love Buttercup. In the end, with a little air left in his lungs, Wesley muttered two words: “true love”. Wesley demonstrates the first strategy for finding motivation, even when you are completely burnt out.
1. Focus on your true love
Our hero had one and only one thing that motivated all his actions: his true love. The same is true for you. All your efforts should be focused on your true love, whatever that may be. When faced with something you don’t feel like doing, that should be your motivation. It is the force that keeps driving you forward to overcome obstacles and challenges and to achieve your goals. Without motivation, you will tend to give up after a few failed attempts. Knowing your true love should be your compass. Whenever you’re feeling lost or uninspired, just remember the people who helped you to move forward. This will make you feel motivated and start moving towards achieving your goal. You have to harness it in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever you are doing on a daily basis.
Motivation is more of a flow and to feel motivated you need to go beyond the surface. In my case, I have to remember that my partner wanted his true love back, not this sobbing, miserable lost person I have become. The old motto “happy wife, happy life” definitely holds true in this scenario. When I realized that my complete lack of motivation and burnout was affecting my partner, I thought it was time to dig deep and get to the root cause of my problem.
2. Identify your true adversary
In reality, there always has to be someone who is defeated in every hero’s journey. In the case of Wesley in “The Princess Bride”, he had to overcome Prince Humperdinck to rescue Princess Buttercup. This mission helped him reserve his energy for the most crucial moment at the end when he finally met Humperdinck.
When you are burnt out, the root cause has to be addressed to regain your motivation. Understanding the root cause will prevent you from running around unfocused. In fact, you can focus on the single thing that is de-motivating you and take appropriate corrective action. When you are truly burnt out, it is likely having a negative impact on multiple areas of your life – so at times, it might become impossible to identify the single root cause of your struggles.
In my case, my health was in the worst shape I had ever experienced. My social life was also bleak, I had no energy left for fun as my career was stressing me out, being a new mom was hard for me. It was challenging to cope with multiple new responsibilities. Burn out can affect your mental and physical health.
Here are a few methods to get to the root cause of your burn out. Try identifying the 3 primary reasons that you think have caused you to burn out. What are the few things come to your mind? Make a note of them. Some of the most common sources include:
- Personal Growth
- Spiritual Life
The solution to most of your woes could be to find a job that lets you work from home and would not involve too much travel and allows you to spend time with your family. When you are clear on the area that is not working properly, you can start to see a way out, or find a solution to your problem.
3. Remember you are the hero
Wesley was tortured to near death but he did not focus on what had happened Instead as soon as he was brought back to life, he focused on actions in order to get his true love back.
When you are burnt out, you often feel victimized or want to play the blame game. This thinking does not motivate you; rather, it prevents you from moving ahead. If you want to change anything, you have to remember that you are the hero of your story. Despite what circumstances you encounter, how you respond is 100% your responsibility.
In my case, I knew the major sources of burn out was my long commute and job stress. I was also aware that my health was not going to improve. I was really thinking of leaving my job and starting my own business. Even though my partner told me to leave my job several times, for some reason I still felt the obligation to make this sacrifice for our family.
In the end, I was convinced that my partner did not want me to stay at the job, but the truth was I had to permit myself to make the changes I needed to make myself happier. I had to help myself. He couldn’t fix my health. He couldn’t resign for me. I had to do the work myself. Once you take complete responsibility for your problems and commit to helping yourself, you need to seek assistance from friends and family.
4. Accept help from your friends
Our hero Wesley was “near dead” and unable to feed himself, walk independently, or hold his head up when his friends Fezzik and Inigo found him. If it weren’t for them, he would not have survived. But his friends held him up, found Miracle Max, advocated for a remedy and carried him on their backs until he could stand on his own again.
My story is no different. In order to find my motivation again and recover from burnout, it required me to rely on my partner. In addition, I also required professional help from doctors, life coaches and the support of family and friends. But at the end of this story, I figured out that being brutally honest with myself about my limitations and my happiness was the only way to have what I really wanted. At times we can do this on our own, but it’s important to ask for help and seek out a support system when you’re burnt out and it’s even more important to have a network while you find your way back to yourself.
It is a harsh reality that burn out happens to all of us from time to time and we just can’t get motivated. There is simply no escape from burning out and rediscovering your motivation again, which often requires making a huge life change. But in many cases, it can be fixed with some small actions and determination.
I struggled through burn out and I’m now so much more motivated, re-energized and happier for it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities on your plate, think and focus on the ONE thing that’s going to make the most significant impact. I had to leave my full-time job, which, after months stressing about it, was accomplished in a single 10-minute conversation with my manager. After the conversation, I instantly felt more motivated and relieved. You can do it too. Save your precious energy for doing the right things, and your motivation will be back sooner than you thought possible.