Secrets of the super-motivated

Interest in painting the walls inside your home can creep up on you.

Interest in painting the walls inside your home can creep up on you.

Unknown forces started pulling me into the paint aisle at the home improvement store, where I casually fingered paint chips, thinking, “What about this shade for the family room?”

Soon I was sure the walls in my house were smiling in anticipation — ready for an injection of color. Does it sound as if I were going to do the painting myself? Oh, no — no, no. The patience required to paint straight lines is not one of my proficiencies. Especially for a multi-room project, plus the garage.

Like dipping my toe into a cold swimming pool, I eased into the process and started getting bids. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, as I became fully immersed in pigment-picking angst, choosing tints I was going to live with for years. I wanted to love it. No pressure. With a painter selected and a start date four weeks out, I was motivated to finalize preferences while still having plenty of time to vacillate (grin) — so I thought.

A few days later, I got the call. Because of schedule changes, could the paint crew start in two days? What? Holy moly, I hadn’t had enough time to change my mind on the colors I really wanted! Measured deliberation kicked into major inspiration, and I said yes.

That evening I felt like the cartoon character whose frantic movements came from a hard push on the fast-forward button. Tearing down window treatments and wall décor, I was powered with purpose and on my way to getting the job going.

What happened? Besides the schedule opening up — and a flier in the mail offering a spring painting special — how did I surge from slow-motion, careful consideration of colors to diving in like a decorating diva?

Then a more captivating thought crossed my mind. How can you replicate the same sense of immense motivation in your professional life and shift into a highly driven state? An article by author and life coach Shawn Doyle (Toastmaster Magazine, March 2016) provided a wonderful, spot-on summary of how it can be done.

Let’s take a look at Doyle’s “Six Success Secrets of the Super-Motivated” and gain an understanding of how to get into action-oriented mode, as well as how “you are what you think.”

Proper exposure. Those who are super-motivated understand the concept of “garbage in, garbage out.” They avoid exposure to negativity — whether newscasts, television or undesirable information on the Internet — instead focusing on upbeat, positive input. They’re not dodging reality, but choose not to waste energy and mind share on the negative stuff that Doyle terms a “waste of mind.” Super-motivated people prefer to be inspired by optimism. When it came to painting and plunging into possibilities, I focused on a picturesque outcome to help promote selecting the best hues for each room. Bringing along fabric swatches and painting sample boards to better visualize options helped, too.

Put goals in writing. Physically putting goals in writing actually helps your brain commit to achieving your objectives. This is because scripting your short-term, mid-term and long-term targets clarifies your thought process and reinforces direction. In addition, regularly reviewing your ambitions reminds your brain to stay on track and keep moving. Once goals are in writing you improve the likelihood of choosing your next aspiration and driving to accomplish the dream that goes with it. The cerebral connection that is made between writing something down and actually getting it done has been proved many times over.

Network with positive people. People enjoy hanging out with others who see the world with a fun, buoyant view. Super-motivated people know that associating with quality people advances a better quality of life. Avoiding negative and toxic people helps you dodge becoming downtrodden, as well. Doyle calls these people ESVs, or energy-sucking vampires. Always use care when it comes to those you associate with. The more cheerful they are, the more super-motivated you will become. Who were the encouraging influencers in my painting project? Paint store professionals sharing tint suggestions, along with those providing bids.

Keep a journal. Positive thinking and upbeat thoughts are propelled to a higher level when you keep a daily journal. Every morning, write down constructive declarations, along with goals and dreams to begin your day on a confident note. Doyle mentions that Hal Elrod referred to this practice in his book “The Morning Miracle.” Just as the right color on the wall provides a warm welcome to a room, keeping a journal helps you greet each day in a super-motivated way.

Modify what you say. I like to think of this tool as fulfilling your own prophecy by stating what you want to happen to help make it happen. This is because in a wild sort of way, the universe is listening to you. Super-motivated people realize what and how they say things affects their thinking. Doyle mentions the chicken and the egg here: “What you say affects how you think; how you think affects what you say.” Stop making negative comments and push yourself instead to pronounce the positive. If you have to deliver a project, don’t say: “I hope it turns out OK.” Instead say: “I’m going to do a spectacular job.” Making affirmative statements and setting progressive expectations will change the way you think and perform. Your brain actually believes what you tell it, so tell it something great, not grave.

Think about how you think. It’s amazing to comprehend we are the only species that has the ability to think about how we think. Ha! Think about that! We can think about how our thinking affects our lives and then change our thinking to transform our personal and professional existence. How you think profoundly influences your presence on the planet in a positive and negative manner. Doyle mentions Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Of the six tools, this is my favorite.

Choosing to be extraordinary instead of average is part of being super-motivated and committed to having a super life. Back to the paint. Although it was a small snippet as to how being super-motivated can look, once I decided to move forward I was on a mission, in the zone, on a path to project completion.

Looking back, I applied several of the six motivation tools to my home’s interior refresh. How did it turn out? Terrific! Every room I had painted blends in beautifully with the rest of my house, creating a cozy hug sensation for those who come inside. I had plenty of help, sought skilled ideas and enlisted experts to do the job right.

Super-motivated people also realize that engaging expertise and guidance from others along the way is another crucial tool when working toward a goal.

What’s your dream, your next goal, your “I wish I could …”? Make it happen. Pick a few of the tools above and get moving. Start painting your future and changing your life by changing the way you think and becoming super-motivated.

Mary Elston has spent more than 20 years in management in the transportation, consulting and technology industries. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of the book, “Master Your Middle Management Universe, How to Succeed with Moga Moga Management Using 3 Easy Steps.” Contact her at

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue.


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