Staying Motivated When Results Do Not Match Expectations

Is this it? This is the question I asked myself after planting a whole packet of sunflower seeds and only seeing 2 blooms (one full bloom and one with a broken stem after a storm).

Given the picture on the seed packet, I expected . . . well . . . more. I wondered whether the labor of planting, watering and anxiously awaiting the flowers was worth the effort.

As I was looking at this sunflower and questioning my future efforts in gardening, it occurred to me that this disappointment is the same that comes when we set any type of goal and do not see the outcome we expect. While it is easy to start a project with enthusiasm, it can be likewise easy to become discouraged and stop our effort.

What is my response? I could stop gardening because I believe I'll never have enough knowledge, skill or the right environment to cultivate the garden I want. It would be easy to let the external events such as pests or storms persuade me that gardening is too tough and that I should give up on that dream garden.

However, before I make a decision about continuing or abandoning a goal, I started asking myself 3 questions: Do I really want that great garden (or other goal)? Do I believe I can do it? What am I willing to do to make it a reality?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then I can get to work changing my perspective (looking at progress over results), changing my tactics (learning more about what I need to do differently), and changing my habits (adding support, resources and accountability to continue forward action).

If I really want that great garden, I can celebrate the beauty of the flowers that bloomed, talk to a gardener and do some more research on how to grow a stronger garden and can set a habit to better care for those flowers.

Similarly, I ask myself these same questions about any goal, including the goal of building my new business. As I build a business, I have come across challenges I did not foresee and encounter discouragement with progress. It would be easy to get discouraged and allow that discouragement make a decision for me. Instead, I choose to ask myself those 3 questions as a guide to determine my commitment to change.

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