White sign saying "Your Purpose Awaits" with an arrow pointing right

I saw a tweet this morning: “who can inspire me?” It stopped me in my tracks. The tweeter was looking for motivation to go to the gym, on a day when she really didn’t feel like it.*

Of course, we’ve all had those days. When the gym is less-than-appealing. When work seems like a long, slow trudge of meaningless, thankless busy work. When the family has, yet again, completely obliterated any evidence of the hours you spent cleaning.

How do you find your motivation on those days? If you’re a self-starter, you won’t ask anyone else to inspire you. You might read a few of your favorite blogs or newsletters (my new favorite: Snarketing), or make a list of what matters. Why do you do those things?

I go to the gym to stay healthy. I go to work because I believe the end result of my efforts–combined with those of my colleagues–lead to a safer world. I clean my house because my in-laws are visiting soon. (OK, maybe that last one isn’t the best example of intrinsic motivation.)

You can’t fake self-motivation. If you take a job just for the money, it will wear on you. Sometimes you don’t have a choice–I have been there, and completely understand. That’s when you have to find some other way to express your passion to keep from getting discouraged. It may not happen immediately, but keep plugging away at your passions and you’ll perk up eventually. (I had to wait a week before posting this, to make sure that was true. It is; be patient.)

I keep a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on my bulletin board. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 

What have you done today to stay true to who you are?

*Note: Sometimes, you should listen to the devil on your shoulder saying “skip the gym and stay home with this delicious novel instead.” When your body is tired, inspire your mind.