October 2015

One Simple Way to Increase Your Motivation

increase-your-motivationI hear it all the time. Almost every time I check in with a client or a fellow girl boss on their progress, the conversation inevitably takes a turn. They are excited about their wins, but when it comes to managing expectations, there’s a looming sense that typically sound like this:

“I know I should be doing this, but…" “Ugh, I keep trying to motivate myself. I know I should be better at...” “After I get this done, I should really focus on that…”

It’s the “should” syndrome, and it’s plaguing the motivation and enjoyment of our work and lives. When we “should” on ourselves, we place unnecessary expectation and obligation on what we needs to be done or accomplished. When we fail to complete those tasks or simply don’t do them, it’s a one-way ticket to guilt-town for all my recovering perfectionist friends (myself included). Worse of all, it paralyzes us with inaction until we are stuck shamefully spinning our wheels.

But what if we changed the way we motivate ourselves... by actually motivating ourselves? What could possibly be different if we got rid of our “should” and do something different? Today I wanted to share with you one simple way to get out of guilt-town and increase your motivation and enjoyment to do work your way.

Introducing: A Word Cleanse! Kind of like a colon cleanse that helps you get rid of your body’s toxins, we’ll challenge your beliefs and get rid of toxic words and replace it with some healthier, more “fruitful” words that will lead you to taking more inspired action.


Step 1: Challenge your beliefs — Why “should” you do this?

The first step to bringing change in an ingrained habit, and to create awareness. The next time you catch yourself saying, “I should….”, stop and question why. Why should you do this? Identify where this obligation is coming from. Examples of external obligation could be: Is it peer pressure? Is it because the internet guru told you the one secret to success? Is it to keep up with the Jones’? Is it for fear that what’s-her-name doesn’t like you? Or, it could be internally: Is it a life-long dream? Is it something you’ve buried for a while in order to put others first? Is it something that you want to do, but just not sure how? The reasons may stem from desiring to appear perfect, pleasing people, or having a hard a time saying no. Journal out your responses or talk to a friend or coach to pinpoint if your words are supporting or limiting you. If it’s supporting you, AWESOME! ROCK ON! If not, move on to step 2.

** Note:** If it’s truly an obligation in terms of a responsibility you're committed to, try switching up your language in terms of rewards and consequences. Keep in mind the result is to propel you into action. For example: If I complete this project now, I’ll have time to go to the movies with my friends tonight. OR If I procrastinate on this project now, I’ll have twice as much to do as tomorrow.

Step 2: Replace “should” With Something More Motivating

After cleansing out the toxins, it’s important to replace it with nutrients. We can do the same thing with your words. Get rid of “should” (if that’s your toxic word), and replace it with motivating ones. Not sure where to start? Here’s a motivation word buffet for you to choose from:

can, try, may, intend, able to, possible, dare, decide, wish, get to, let, allow, want, will, choose to, am

Try it out! Replace “should” with a more motivational word from above. I should invite the new girl out to lunch. (But why?!) I intend to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I’m able to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I can invite the new girl out to lunch.

When we talk about motivation words, we’re evaluating them in terms of action potential. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to do it? The greater the number (according to your personal scale), the greater to motivation level.

Step 3: Which words will allow you to enjoy the process?

Motivation is one thing — inspiring you to do something, but enjoyment is another — actually having fun and liking the process. To shift beyond motivation to enjoyment, repeat step 2 but with your enjoyment words. On a scale of 1-10 (1-low, 10-high), if you took action, how much would you enjoy it?

Try it out! Stretch your motivation word into an enjoyment word. Ex. I should invite the new girl out to lunch. (But why?!) Motivation words: I intend to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I’m able to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I can invite the new girl out to lunch. Enjoyment words: I dare myself to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I want to invite the new girl out to lunch. // I choose to invite the new girl out to lunch.

Just by changing out a couple a key words, notice the shift from obligation to choice and empowerment. When we are clear of our motivation, we can get out of our own way and start to appreciate and create joy in the process. Over time, you’ll create a new word habit to let go of unsupportive sense of obligation into a more healthy, and expansive way of following through on your intentions.

Your turn: Share your new words/phrases in the comments below. What's one motivation word you would like to try using? What’s one enjoyment word you want to incorporate? I would love to hear your thoughts on this simple change and what has worked and not worked for you.

Stop shoulding and start doing,


10 Ways to Grow Your Grit

10-ways-to-grow-your-grit When Angela Lee Duckworth landed a job teaching middle school math in New York City, she noticed that the kids with the highest IQ weren’t necessarily the most successful. Instead, she figured out that the one indicator that separated kids who didn’t do well from the kids who persevered was grit.


It’s the intangible quality of a true leader. It’s the secret sauce and key factor that contributes to success. It’s the substance of a person who falls and fails, and gets back up, to continue to go after her goals.

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint. - Angela Lee Duckworth, Ted talk, "The Key to Success? Grit"

If IQ, social intelligence, and talent is what introduces you to the game, then grit is what will keep you in and take you to the top. The good news is, grit is a skill and habit that can be developed, if you’re intentional and committed to your personal success in the long run.

Here are 10 ways to grow your grit, or to inspire grittiness in those around you.

1. Introduce a regular exercise routine.

When we grow grit in one area of our lives, it tends to spill over into other areas. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, we will overcome physical and mental demands and develop of keystone habit of health. Challenge yourself to increase time or intensity every time you exercise. For example, if you swim, you can start with swimming 10 laps, then adding 2 laps every day or swimming in a faster time. You can keep track of your progress as your overcome obstacles and fatigue, and grow your muscles as well as your grit.

2. Turn failure into feedback.

When we commit to change and pursuing our best, there will be times of “failure.” Reframing failure into feedback is an opportunity to learn from mistakes, grow, and learn valuable insights like what worked and what didn’t. “Failure” is a necessary part of the process. The trick is to separate your identity from your actions. Instead of “I am a failure,” which triggers shame of who I am, you can say, “I made a mistake, and had a learning opportunity.” Some feedback questions I like to consider are: What went well? What could be even better if I did this again? What’s a fresh take that I haven’t thought of before? Taking to time to reflect on these questions will hopefully create awareness and inspire you to continue to take action moving forward.

3. Set an intention, and let go of the outcome.

This point is about working with what’s within your control. When you’re gritty and going after your goals, your focus is showing up and doing the work that only you can do. The actual result or outcome may depend on outside factors, but do what you can and let go of the rest. For example, setting the intention of posting one photo a day on IG is within your control, and letting go of people’s responses and reactions are not. Committing to calling a prospective client is within your control, and letting go of wondering whether or not they hire you is not. Do what you can, let go of the rest.

4. If you’re emotional, give yourself an emotional “limit” before you get back into action.

When there are setbacks and obstacles, it’s normal to experience feelings like disappointment, frustration, embarrassment, or anger. Like a toddler who’s dealing with a temper tantrum, give yourself a time-out to fully feel your emotions and acknowledge why you’re feeling them. It also helps to deep a few deep breaths to calm down and get your brain in a creative space instead of reactive. Give yourself the time and space to process what’s happening, and then of course, get back into action.

5. Set a small, achievable goal to work on a skill every day.

If you want to grow your grit through growing a skill, start with taking one small, measurable step each day. Give yourself check in points once a week, and at the end of the month, reflect on the progress you created from day to day 30.


6. Expect challenges and frustrations, and plan ahead to counter them.

If growing your grit means overcoming obstacles over the long haul, then you can get ahead the game by anticipating your personal obstacles and making plans to counter them. Tend to binge on Netflix when you don’t know what steps to take next? Counter it by asking a friend to check in on your progress, setting limits on your TV time, or use your favorite TV series as a reward for your hard work. Not motivated to do work by yourself? Initiate a co-working day at a local coffee shop with your fellow solopreneur friends where you can have human contact while you hustle. When you know your typical time sucks and hang ups, you can be proactive and reducing its effect on you and your progress.

7. Embrace fear, and do it afraid.

There’s no real way to get rid of fear, so might as well embrace it! Ever heard of fight or flight? The purpose of fear is to protect you from harm, telling you to run from predators, or warning you that you might get embarrassed if you speak your mind. Acknowledge what and why you’re feeling it, and just do something. The worst thing is to do nothing, and let fear win.

8. Practice, practice, practice.

As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” but really, “practice make progress” and that’s how we grow grit. Sometimes it just takes repetition to get the hang of something and learn the mechanics of it before we can really get creative and make our own. For example, a photographer may practice shooting in manual mode before feeling comfortable to take creative portraits. Or, a student learning piano may have to practice scales before attempting “Fur Elise.”

9. Play up your interests and curiosity. Have fun!

Yes, I believe that growing your grit can be fun! Sometimes approaching it with a playful attitude of interest and curiosity will make it feel less like work, and more like, play. Pretend you’re a kid again with a childlike wonder and do things for the sake of pure joy, and with no pressure to perform. What’s something you find interesting and can talk to an expert about? What’s a “ maybe later” project you wanted to do just for the sake of doing it?

10. Celebrate your wins. Recognize when you’re making progress, because you are making progress.

Typically, the growth progress feels like you’re taking two steps forward, and one step back. Recognize when you’re putting in the effort, even if you’re not seeing immediate results. Take time to celebrate your wins, no matter how small or big. Got your first paying client? YES!!!! Said no to a new opportunity so you can spend quality time with your family? Awesome! Reached out and hired a coach to help keep you on track? Good for you! There’s a long journey ahead, might as well stop and celebrate along the way.

Now I want to hear from you! What’s one way you grow your grit to pursue your long-term goals and dreams? Leave your thought and comments below!

Blessings, shi-signature


PS: As a bonus, you can see how “gritty” you currently are by taking this assessment!

How to get unstuck & pursue your dreams

Get-Unstuck Dear Shi,

I’ve had this dream of pursuing a public speaking business for a while now, but every time I tell myself to go for it, I feel stuck. I’m overwhelmed with knowing if this is what I really want. How do I find the motivation and the clarity to get started?

Sincerely, Tori


Dear Tori,

Congratulations on reaching out to take steps toward turning your dreams into reality! I believe that you (and everyone of us) has a powerful message to share and a beautiful story to tell. It’s common to get stuck and run into resistance whenever we commit to going after our God-given destiny. During these times, it’s essential to know why we are stuck, and of course, how to get unstuck.

Let’s get started by identifying what you want. You mentioned you’re pursuing a public speaking business. I’m assuming you want it to be successful (in your own terms), purposeful (to serve a reason bigger than yourself), and profitable (because money in the bank is a good thing). That’s awesome!

Now, let’s be real and talk about what’s getting in your way.

When you imagine yourself running a successful speaking business…. Why do you currently not have it? These are your obstacles. What are some fears you have? These are your limiting beliefs. What do you have to give up to succeed? These are your costs.

Creating the change we desire in our lives requires us to overcome obstacles, adopt empowering beliefs, and count the costs of pursuing our dreams. We may decide that it’s not worth it. We get stuck whenever we don’t like where we are, but don’t know how to make it different. That’s when it helps to clarify our vision and pursue some possibilities.

Take a moment again and picture yourself owning your business. This time... Why is this dream so important to you? This is your compelling reason. What are the benefits when you succeed? These are your rewards. When you are successful, how does that change your life and those around you? This is your impact.

Often when we feel stuck, it helps to connect to our bigger “WHY” to pull us towards creating change. We all desire to work for something bigger than ourselves, and take ownership of our progress.

In this moment, which one has bigger consequences? Staying the same or pursuing change?

Change happens when the cost of staying the same is greater than the cost of going after what we want.

In other words, nothing will happen until we realize that staying the same will cost us more than going after our goals. That’s when we hit the “point of no return." The funny thing is, once we know what’s at stake and are fully committed, we find creative solutions to the things that once held us back and become unstoppable.


Change is hard, and the struggle is real! Here are 3 tips to help you with your on-going process.

1. Get in community. Get a mentor, talk to peers, hire a coach, communicate with your spouse and family, and collaborate with others. Fears and obstacles seem much bigger to us, but gaining outside perspective can help us see our situation more clearly…and make it more fun!

2. Turn beliefs from limiting to empowering. Beliefs shape how we see and interact with the world, so challenge the thoughts that keep you from making progress. It helps to say them out loud to bring them to light, then replace them with a more empowering one. One of my favorite empowering belief is from Marie Forleo, “Everything is Figure-outable.”

3. Start small and experiment! Value feedback over failure. Test out an idea with something simple, and with people who love you. If it flops, don’t see it as a failure. It took courage just to try! Instead, ask yourself: What went well? What could be even better if I did it again?

Tori, I hope this helped you find the clarity and motivation to get started with your business (if that’s what you truly want). It’s my pleasure to guide you during your career transition, and remember: you already have what it takes to succeed.

Blessings, shi-signature


PS: What are some tips that help you get unstuck?  When do you know it's time to commit and pursue the next thing?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!