With the end of summer approaching, I got to thinking about the last few months and how people often take the summer break to take a step back and plan for something new. At this point in the summer, one of the things I feel many of us struggle with is motivation. The plans that seemed so straightforward not so long ago have stalled and the best of intentions have gone out the window. Many clients come to me for coaching because they can’t get that CV written, they can’t find the energy to look for a better job, they keep putting off that long awaited exercise programme. On an practical level many of them know pretty much what’s required to achieve what they want, they certainly don’t need me to tell them, but something holds them back in terms of kicking things off, taking that all important first step.
I heard a motivational speaker recently talk about what she called “aha” moments. I googled the phrase that is widely used thanks to Oprah Winfrey’s influence and it is defined as “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? Doesn’t it feel like anything would be achievable if you had that type of clarity? That aha moment? Wouldn’t anything be possible then? Many clients who are struggling with motivation want things to click for them and to have that magical moment arrive when they think to themselves “aha, yes that’s why I want this”. To have the frustration of not knowing why they don’t feel motivated, just disappear. It has struck me on a few occasions that because this aha moment is so powerful, some people believe that it has to be complicated. The person I heard speaking spoke about those types of moments but from a very simple perspective. She said that they are around us all the time, but we only see and hear them when we are ready to.
The example she gave was when she was on a plane and they were taxiing down the runway. The plane stopped, paused, and started to move again, gathering speed and eventually taking off. A normal procedure, familiar to anyone who has been on an airplane. This woman was a frequent traveler and she would have been exposed to this practice countless times. Her ‘aha’ moment was when the plane paused. All of a sudden she realized that a lot of the issues she was facing were because she was rushing headlong into each task without pausing, taking stock. The event that triggered the ‘aha’ moment in itself was just a normal every day event, but because she was at a place in her life where she wanted change and was open to change, she was able to hear the message. To her the message had a huge influence on how she was handling certain aspects of her life.
I felt it was an interesting perspective and a very simple concept. And given all the things we are all juggling in life, what’s not to love in something simple? Maybe we sometimes try a little too hard and expect ‘aha’ moments to be a huge event, when really they could be there, quietly waiting for us to notice them, in the most simple, everyday things.
Think about how you could apply this in your own life. Where are you struggling for motivation, and what simple messages could be coming to you that, perhaps over and over again, you simply haven’t been able to recognise yet. Sit with your thoughts, your concerns, your frustrations, what do you know deep down that you haven’t allowed yourself acknowledge. Find your own aha moment. It might just be that simple.