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Five ways to stay motivated during tough times

I think it was the famous bard and philosopher Billy Ocean who said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When the going gets rough, the rough get tough.”

By Maurice W Evans


I can guarantee your upcoming life journey includes times when things will get rough and tough. These times require you to gain access to one of the most important tools: motivation. But the question is, how? How exactly does one stay motivated during tough times?

Recently, one of my many conversations on this dynamic was with two associates and two students I mentor. Their entrepreneurial accomplishments range from top to bottom.

Here’s what we discussed and what you can do about it.

Expect them

As I mentor them to become certified speakers, coaches and trainers, my students learn what I call the “process of success.” They discover that with success comes failure and unexpected results. Tough times are simply to be expected.

One of my students, Natalie Dupuis, is dealing with the difficulty of transitioning from employee to business owner. My course is helping her overcome the common misconception that transition is a process to be learned. It is not a process. In fact, both transition and expectation are merely decisions to be made. They’re much more like switches to be flipped than bridges to be crossed.

Just by expecting tough times, it becomes harder to get caught off-guard.

Use them

One of the most important ways to deal with rough times is to simply shift your mindset.

Dana G Barbagallo, also a student I mentor, is changing her perspective on her current life difficulties. Even though her career workload has quadrupled, right in the middle of a divorce, she is now intentional in her choice to see opportunities over obstacles.

Instead of taking a defeated stance, we can choose to view the resistance of a challenging time as an opportunity to empower ourselves for growth and increased skill set.

Pay it forward

Even during the most difficult of times, an easy cure is to inspire others. In other words, take your eyes off of your own situation and spend time redirecting your energy towards inspiring the lives of others.

By encouraging others, we can place ourselves in an environment that exponentially returns to us whatever we first invest.

When we invest a lot, we get back a lot.

Become the catalyst that starts the cycle of reciprocation. For maximum efficacy, don’t stop at occasionally motivating just one or two people at a time. Instead, surround yourself with steady inspiration by creating your own group of motivators. The bigger, the better.

I created the Favourite Motivators online group to amplify my ability to help others stay inspired and motivated on a daily basis. Members of the group and students I mentor alongside top authors and speakers post daily motivations. It’s a giant circle of people inspiring each other. The more people I personally inspire, the larger and stronger the feedback loop I create for myself.

You can essentially surround yourself with a hedge of motivation you’ve built to keep out discouragement.

Have faith and be grateful

Everyone I spoke with on this topic made mention of faith in God as their ultimate source of motivation. Whenever I speak to someone about their success, they mention gratitude.

I agree that true faith helps sustain people through the most difficult times. I know, personally, it was faith and gratitude that helped me get through homelessness. In 2003, that combo turned my tough time around, and I built a business from 0 to 10 employees in two years to a million dollar firm by year three.

Exercise your faith through giving thanks daily. It is really difficult to be depressed at the same time you are thankful. In fact, it is impossible to be afraid, sad, angry or jealous at the exact same time you are expressing gratitude for what you have.

Be thankful for the little things. The man with no shoes was sad until he saw the man with no feet!

My friend James Malinchak, who was featured on ABC’s Secret Millionaire, feels the same way. “No matter how tough it is, someone, somewhere has it way tougher than me, and I always think about that. I always try to remember that.”

Stay motivated

Since we know we should expect hardships to come, we simply need to build up our reserves in advance. Having motivation in reserve is the advanced preparedness plan for tough times.

I got on the phone with my friend, Tom Ziglar (Yes, he’s the famous son of Zig Ziglar, the father of modern motivation). He has what is probably the most profound piece of advice I have ever heard regarding motivation as habit. “[Put] in the right habits daily, whether you’re reading or listening or whatever method. Every day, you’re already doing it.”

If you are already in the habit of staying motivated no matter what, then no matter what, you will be able to stay motivated. Make and keep motivation your habit.

In 1994, I coined “Remember to Picture Your Success” as a signature. I think I’ll append it with #BeInspiring and #StayMotivated!

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