Staying motivated with tough times ahead

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling apprehensive. The winter is coming and the evenings are drawing in, London’s in the first stages of lockdown though this time we are behind our friends in the north. The furlough is unwinding with financial uncertainty in its wake and we face the coming months without the Treasury support that made Covid-19 the longest holiday many of us have ever taken.

We face these problems collectively, rules apply to all of us. But each of us has our own story to tell. Those who listen to all night phone ins with Dotun Adebayo and Jim Davis know that every phone call tells a story unique to the caller. In the long bouts of sleeplessness I had during my illness this summer I learned to listen to these stories and respect each voice. Though my experience was unique to me, I drew comfort from the stories of others.

I am not a great one for “mindfulness” and “mental well-being”, concepts that appropriate the childhood virtues I was taught of “doing unto others what they should do to you” and the even simpler “kindness”.  I also struggle with words like “vulnerable” which never seem to include the speaker and are often used to establish the mental and physical fortitude of those working for them.

It is better that we accept that in the face of this unknown and dreadful threat to our capacity to breathe, we are all scared shit-less, at least from time to time. Why not?

Staying motivated

For the first time during the last 200 days, I found last week my motivation dropping. This manifested itself in my taking myself off to the gym for long sessions trying to get back in touch with fitness and with an elegance of shape that I lost when I stopped serious cycling.

I found myself “delegating” more to my team – shorthand for dumping on them. Little jobs that should be done first time, still sit on my to do list, a week after arrival. I have made simple errors in emails due to lack of concentration. I have found myself listlessly scanning spreadsheets from an armchair when I should be sat bolt upright in wrapped attention! All little matters which tell me I am off the boil. If I was a footballer, I’d be in a goal drought!

Staying motivated (for me), is more about managing these dips in motivation and finding ways to kick back into action. When productivity drops, I have to ask myself – why? I know why. I can’t blame my lack of motivation on external factors but on a lack of will and determination to get through.

But I do find it hard when there are so few to share my feelings with and there is only so much I can ask my brilliant partner to help me with. Which is why I am writing these few words, sharing with you my state of dissatisfaction in the hope that it will resonate with you (as all those late night phone calls have resonated with me).

A trouble shared…

A trouble shared is a trouble halved and I thank you for reading this far. I am a great believer in prayer and at our church are several prayer notes for those who are going through much tougher adversity than I have ever faced. One business colleague is combatting the onset of ovarian cancer, another has been going through chemotherapy for nearly a year. Several friends are mourning lost ones and at our church we have lost loved members of our congregation to the virus who were a source of strength to us all , earlier in the year.

In the face of adversity, and we are facing a tough winter, it would be easy to accede to the negatives of anger, non-compliance and become lethargic. But torpor is no way of fighting anything and we must put our lives in the context of lives of others. We do not have to walk miles to find drinking water or live in fear of terror for having conviction in a moral code different from the Governments.

We live in a world where we can read blogs, talk on the web and find virtual connection through all the manifestations of social media that this blog can be found on. And with the privilege of owning this blog , comes responsibility, what Martin or (Martyn!) Lewis calls “hegemony” – aka leadership and dominance. Whether teaching, preaching or simply reaching out – the blog is here for you to read, react to and hopefully challenge by staying motivated in the tough times ahead!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Staying motivated with tough times ahead

  1. Derek Scott says:

    Excellent choice of Cohen to finish with, Henry. I must confess I’d never heard this song before. The Anthem I know is from Chess, best sung by Tommy Körberg.

  2. Brian G says:

    Perfect sentiments from Leonard Cohen. Hopefully proof you will overcome your dip.

  3. Martin T says:

    I’m an extrovert so it helps me to get re-energised by getting involved with groups, be they work, social or church (in person or virtual). I’ve also found it helps to do something physical be it DIY or exercise or gardening etc. My problem is that when on a down I can’t be bothered with getting started! My partner’s role was to encourage me to begin and continue activities which helped me get my mojo back.
    Not everything will work for everyone but I hope these comments will help some.

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