Are You Motivated by Pain or Pleasure?
Does negativity motivate you? Are you looking for faults in your life for inspiration? It’s true that worry can be a great motivator, but is it the only way to reach your goals?
High achievers spend a lot of time looking for things that are not working. This is because so many of us are unconsciously driven by what’s wrong in life.
I spent years being motivated by the pain of not feeling good enough and driven by a burning desire to succeed to heal that pain. And honestly, it worked. I did make it to the finish line. And… it was a massive anti-climax. No fireworks, no cheering, not even a party. Why was I not feeling like a success?? I had smashed every goal out of the ballpark, so why was I still feeling empty?
I have worked with many successful people, all with one dirty little secret: Their success didn’t bring them what they are (still) looking for, and now they carry shame and grief for not feeling on top of the world.
Most of us know external success doesn’t give us happiness and that once we reach a certain income, money doesn’t buy us more happiness. This is not usually what has my clients still feeling empty either. Instead, the most upsetting is that they thought their success would finally make them feel they are enough, but they still don’t believe it!
So, what’s a high achiever to do? Do we look to fix the not-enoughness? You might say Yes! Of course! But, what if the feeling of not feeling enough has actually created the success we have just accomplished? What if the negative emotion has been the main driver for our success? Do we still kill it? Well, if we do, the subconscious mind might put up a real fight.
We may do all the affirmations and positive self-talk we want, but there is no way our subconscious will give up our negative motivator that easily. So what’s the answer? – Negotiation and Transformation.
Our feeling of not-enoughness has been our primary motivator for a long time, and we need a reason for it to step away from the steering wheel. Think about it this way; A child wouldn’t give away their ice cream to you unless there was some form of gain for them, right? Well, that same goes for your adverse driver, Mr Not-enoughness.
But Wait! Mr (or Mrs) Not-enough has been the driver for a long time; he knows how to take you to your destination! He has the routine and knows what to do. Sure, he might not take the easiest route, use up too much petrol and is uninterested in giving the vehicle a service, but at least he knows where he’s going!
Well, the thing is: Mr Not-enough might know where he’s going but is he, or the vehicle, even able to do it one more time? How much more can he push and keep going? There comes a time when Mr Not-enough’s strategy starts to hurt you instead of supporting you. Your body, mind and soul isn’t able to do the same thing again. The motivator that got you to this level of success will not make it another round. To reach new heights, it’s time to transform the motivator and bring in the next level of mind.
So does changing your level of mind mean we were wrong? Not necessarily. I believe many high achievers need to experience some form of breakdown to breakthrough. It doesn’t mean it was a bad thing to do. Having worry as a motivator can serve us for a long time, especially at the beginning of our journey. Until it doesn’t.
When I had my burnout, some people told me they were happy that I was in pain. The same people told me they thought it was good for me to have crashed so that I could come back to “my old self” again. Honestly, I am not upset about that. What we see in others are only reflections of ourselves. But I do feel they had it all wrong.
It wasn’t because I had steered off course that I crashed. And it wasn’t because I had gotten too big for my shoes. Instead, I hit bottom because, despite my success, I still felt like I still wasn’t enough. No matter what I did or how many people I supported, I still thought it wasn’t sufficient! So I was still driven to do more, and no matter how much I did, Mr Not-enough was there motivating me to keep going.
There were moments I thought I would never recover. There were times I thought I would never heal. But “You will never heal” and “you will never be the same” are two different things. Indeed, I will never be the same, but why would I want to when I am completely whole!
I had to do the inner work and be reminded I am divine energy sent down from the heavens above. We all are. I had to start trusting myself and my inner guidance and take each moment as an opportunity to find balance within. I had to be reminded that my cells know what to do to heal, my body knows what to do, and my heart knows. And I had to look at mother nature and be reminded that all we need to do is lean into balance to find peace.
I have a new motivator now. It’s called ease and flow, and it’s guided by creativity, passion and inspiration. Mr Not-enough is showing his face from time to time, but not enough to make trouble. He mainly just needs a hug and to be reminded he’s is loved.
So what can we learn from all of this? First, pain can only motivate you so far. Life is not always easy, but it is not necessary to feel deep pain to grow. Second, we can choose to move towards pleasure and ease rather than away from pain. It’s a slight shift that makes a big difference.
We decide every day how we will interpret the world and what we want to bring into our awareness. We are the light and the darkness. It may not be possible to understand the whole universe, but choosing light at the end of the tunnel is always possible.Is this the moment you will look at the world differently from yesterday?
Maybe today, you will make a choice to get up and do something different. To turn everything into blessings. To stop, smile, and enjoy what’s already come your way.
Every day, you have a choice on how to look at life: through the lens of pain or pleasure. What will you choose?
In Love. Madelaine