AMA on Motivation, How to Find It & How it Can Change Your Career Path

Bryan Falchuk, CPT BCS
Nov 14, 2017

Feeling stuck in your career? Not sure what to do next?Not performing the way you wish you were?

Unlocking your true motivation can help you find the perfect career, perform better at it, and be a leader for others (not just a manager).

I'm a best-selling author and Inc Magazine contributor on the subject of motivation and business success, and am here to answer your questions to help you change your career situation for a stronger future.

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Do you use mind mapping in writing? What's the best advice can you give to someone who wishes to become a writer too? 

Nov 15, 12:13PM EST0

Interesting question. I don't use mind maps for my writing, but have done it in the past. I think it's a pretty personal thing, and we should all know what works for us to harness our creativity.  I do write out a bit of a structure of the overall flow of the book, which tends to turn into a chapter list. That's about it.

Nov 15, 4:51PM EST0

You hit the nail, stuck in a career, not sure what to do next. How do you go over that?

Nov 15, 8:44AM EST0

I hear you, James. I just wrote a response to the question before you that's on the same point.  I provided some thoughts and content that can help.

I've been there myself. I get it. Have a read of what I wrote back to Paul Joseph's question, and see if that helps. If not, post another one with the specific thing that's still nagging you on this.

Good luck

Nov 15, 9:04AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

What advise will you give to people that have been in the wrong career for about 13 years and are now confused on whether to continue or switch?

Nov 15, 7:51AM EST0

This is a very common thing I help people with - waking up to being in a situation you don't fully know how you got into and not sure it is what you want to be doing anymore. We change in life, so this isn't uncommon.

I start people with an exercise to try to find out what they really want and don't want in a job, and also to work on finding their true motivation so they have the purpose and direction to drive them forward.

For the Must Have / Must Not Have list, I wrote an article for Inc about it that has an exercise you can do linked at the end of the article. You can read it to understand what it's about and to get the worksheet here.

The Motivation point is a much bigger one. I also have an exercise I put together to help with that, as well as a few Inc articles on the subject. They are:

Nov 15, 9:02AM EST0

What is your favorite book? How does it affect your personality as a writer?

Nov 14, 9:05AM EST0

My favorite book...that's an almost impossible question because the context matters so much.

For self-growth, no question it's Open Heart, Clear Mind by Thubten Chodron.

For deep entertainment, I loved Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

For an easy entertainment, I really have enjoyed the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.

Hope that helps!

Nov 14, 10:29AM EST0

Can you recommend me a good book about this topic? :)

Nov 12, 11:01AM EST0

The topic is what I talk about in my book, Do a Day, so of course I would recommend that. You can get it at my website at doadaybook.com/store, but it is available from all major book sellers like Amazon, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, Audible and more  in print, ebook and audiobook format.

I also often recommend an amazing book on Buddhism that has really inspired and enlightened me to live differently. That is Open Heart, Clear Mind by Thubten Chodron, which you can get here.

Nov 12, 11:19AM EST0

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Nov 9, 10:38AM EST0

Ego hurts. Self-respect and self-love are crucial. You don't need to be conceited to be confident. Crossing that line means people won't feel good about you or feel you're genuine. To me, that's a surefire way to fail.

Nov 12, 9:52AM EST0

How can I become a “Morning Person”? I feel it’s a key to success

Nov 9, 9:31AM EST0

It isn't a key to success if it doesn't work for you. Rather than learning to be a morning person, I would suggest learning to love and support your natural style and productivity schedule rather than thinking about how that's not good enough and how you need to change.

If there's a logistical reason for it, then you could simply set your alarm, and put it away from your bed so you can't hit snooze, force yourself to get up, and make sure you also are getting to bed earlier to offset the earlier wake up. Do that for at least a month and your internal clock will shift, making it easier. I don't know that you'll ever be a morning person, but you might be able to get going better in the morning.

Nov 12, 9:51AM EST0

Do you Google yourself?

Nov 9, 6:08AM EST0

I have but not in a long time. Since publishing my book, I setup a Google alert for my name to see if my book is picked up by any media outlets.

Nov 12, 9:49AM EST0

What is your favorite low tech and high tech way to track progress on your habits?

Nov 9, 5:27AM EST0

I'll give you low, medium and high...

Low - paper and pen. Whether journaling and just writing on a single sheet of paper.

Medium - Excel. I built an exercise and weight progress tracker that I use every day for over 5 years that you can download here.

High - if it's about wellness and activity, specifically you can use a fitness tracker and its social network (FitBit, Garmin, etc). I use Garmin. Then if you're really into activity, you can step up to something like Strava.

Nov 9, 5:58AM EST0

What is your best advice on keeping focused on the important when the distractions in our lives are constant?

Nov 9, 1:56AM EST0

I would suggest a few things. Bigger picture is to practice meditation. It will help your mind become more present and focused so you can keep from getting pulled away by the swarm of everything going on.

In the more immediate term, I have two tricks I often suggest. One is to take a few deep, cleansing breaths. This can help to break the swirl of distractions so you can re-commit to the important stuff. Second is to narrate what you're doing (out loud or in your head). This forces your mind to stay on task rather than wandering to other things flying around.

Nov 12, 9:48AM EST0

How can I minimize tension/frustration with others who are less organized than I am?

Nov 8, 11:20AM EST0

It's about how you choose to look at their being less organized, and why it bothers you. My answers are dependent on the impact of their disorganization, so they may not apply to your situation since I don't have the full picture. Ask yourself, is it just annoying, or is it having an actual impact on your work? If it's just annoying, then the good news is that this is purely about your reaction.

There are two key things to you need to actively focus your mind on. First, is that this is just annoying to you, but not hurting anyone or anything beyond that. You are actively minimizing the impact of their style. Second, think about the things about them that you do really like/love/appreciate. Actively focus on that.

Assuming there's no real negative fall-out from their lack of organization skills on par with yours, then this is really just about your judging them through your lense. Their life isn't yours. "Being organized" for them may be a different level of organization than it is for you and your situation. So it's unfair to judge it the same thing.

Lastly, often, organizational skills are low when someone has suffered some sort of abuse during their formative years. One's executive function (our ability to be on time, organized, etc) is essentially damaged by trauma, so their minds function bottom-up from the amigdala which means reactive and emotional rather than seeing the bigger picture and bringing structure from the pre-funtal cortex (see this article for more detail and science behind it). Knowing that, perhaps you can have more sympathy for them knowing that this organizational issue can be the result of being hurt. Maybe that helps you suspend judgment, and thus being annoyed.

Last edited @ Nov 12, 10:16AM EST.
Nov 12, 9:46AM EST0

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Nov 8, 11:08AM EST0

I have two. One is my work-in-progress follow up to Do a Day. It's about how to solve relationship dysfunction (wherever that relationship is - work, home, friends, etc). It will be called "The 50 75 100 Solution"The second is the manuscript for the first entry in a children's book series I came up with years ago before self-publishing was what it is now. I am going to think about finding an illustrator and putting the series out in 2019 (I need to get 50 75 100 out first).

Nov 9, 5:55AM EST0

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Nov 8, 1:25AM EST0

Never. I write from my heart, so to mask who I am would feel disingenuous. That's not me. I'm real, honest and open.

I have a children's book series I've been working on. I would consider using a pseudonym for that, but don't really see much point in it.

What do I have to hide that would require masking my name? Nothing.

Nov 8, 8:29AM EST0

What would be the 10 most motivating words I could say to myself every morning to get myself to exercise?

Nov 7, 8:51PM EST0

Unfortunately, I can't answer this for you. You have to answer this for you because only you know what really matters to you enough to motivate you through thick and thin. And if you find it, then you will be empowered by it. If someone tells it to you, then it's about them and what they do for you rather than what you do for you.

Start with understanding that you are good, capable and worthy. That is, you can get yourself through anything (if you question that, remember that being alive today is proof that you've gotten through all those 'impossible' moments you've faced so far, so you must be able to get through tough stuff). Build on this idea of self-worth and self-love. Allow for it.

Then ask yourself what really matters to you above all else. What will you care about no matter what. And when you find an answer, ask yourself why that is. Question it to get deeper under the surface.

For some more inspiration on what true motivation is, you can check out this article I wrote for Inc Magazine where I define what I believe are the crucial ingredients of real motivation.

Nov 8, 8:27AM EST0

How do you motivate yourself to get work done after trying many things and failing over and over again?

Nov 7, 6:43PM EST0

I use an overarching motivation throughout my life, which is what I talk about in my book. If I struggle with something, I check whether it ties to my motivation or not and whether it has to be done. If it does have to be done,, but it doesn't tie to my motivation naturally, I think about how it works back to that core driver in my life. Then I see both the importance of the task and the relevance to my purpose overall.

This is a very mindful way of doing things. And I find it works. When you go mindlessly into things that you struggle with, you can easily give up because none of it has purpose and you don't tap into what really makes you tick. This has worked well for me.

Nov 8, 8:21AM EST0

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Nov 7, 3:51PM EST0

As long as what I'm writing about is in line with my passion, it energizes me greatly. I may be tired at the end, but I am so uplifted and inspired. That's what energy is all about for me.

Nov 8, 7:36AM EST0

Which is your favorite quote?

Nov 7, 3:15PM EST0

I find such inspiration from many quotes. I think the most inspiration I've taken from any have been from Buddha, and there's one at the heart of my first book and my philosophy.

Nov 8, 7:36AM EST0

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Nov 7, 11:39AM EST0

Writing is actually my side-hustle. I am a C-level executive in Insurance. Writing, coaching and speaking is my passion, and I plan to transition to that as my full-time endeavor soon.

I also love exercising and specifically training for endurance events because of the solo time I get to reflect and grow (early in the morning, before the world wakes up). I would mix that with writing, speaking and coaching to create a holistic of inspiration and being aligned with my motivation and passion.

I'm on that journey, and so thankful for that.

Nov 8, 7:33AM EST0

My hubby lacks interest in anything except sports. How can I motivate him to get off the sofa?

Nov 7, 7:27AM EST0

I would suggest that you may be trying to put your desires on him rather than allowing his desires to dictate his choices. It's not about motivating him to get off the couch. It's about motivating him to want more for himself. That can't start with judgment of what he's doing or not doing. It needs to start with compassion for why he's doing what he's doing or why he lacks the motivation to do more.

Motivation is the core of what I teach in my book, so you could look there, or have a look at my Inc Magazine articles (for free) to get the gist of it. Even better, if you can get him to listen to podcasts, I've done about 30 that have been released that really try to spark that. I'd suggest Best Life Ever, Unbreakable Success, Join Up Dots, Motivational Monday, The Meaningful Way, The Key to Success, or Unstoppable CEO to name a few.I hope that helps

Nov 8, 7:32AM EST0

What’s the habit requiring the least effort that makes the greatest difference?

Nov 6, 9:11AM EST0

That isn't something I would usually contemplate as I don't focus on minimal effort. I don't like short cuts and quick fixes if you're trying to change your life. They don't tend to stick. The most important (and possibly hardest) is to learn to love yourself. It's simple, hard, takes a lot of time, but so worth it. I don't think you can really make progress in the rest of it if you don't love yourself first.

Nov 8, 7:23AM EST0

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Nov 6, 7:40AM EST0

My first book wasn't a reserach-based book. It was based on my personal story and experience. The reserach was about 5 years in that I lived it, learned it, structured it, and taught it over that time. My second book has a bit more research required as it is grounded in some core Buddhist principles, which means I need to understand them deeper before trying to discuss them for others. That involves reading several books.

This answer is really specific to me and what I write about, and would differ greatly for different genres and authors.

Nov 8, 7:22AM EST0

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Nov 6, 6:49AM EST0

I love this one because this is a big part of why I wrote my book - to reach people. Reviews are a way of me hearing how I'm reaching others. I am fortunate that I have gotten almost all 5 star ratings. However, I got a 1 star that was very harsh. The thing is, I don't look at these things personally. I look into the depth behind what the person is saying. My message didn't resonate with him. That's ok. I won't connect with everyone. I also hear a lot of anger and hurt in his voice. When I look at what else he has reviewed, I see they're all self-help books about overcoming struggles (like mine), and he has given them nasty reviews, too. That says to me not that he's just randomly mean, but that he is seriously hurting and struggling, and likely needs more help than a self-guided approach like reading will give. If I could talk to him, I would be thankful because I could refund his purchase (which he says he wishes he could get), and I could try to just hear him and validate what he's feeling. That's a powerful starting point for so many people who hurt. I'd be so thankful to just give him that spark, and then perhaps he'd be open to seeking someone to work with 1:1.

So I don't get hurt or upset for me. I look into what the reviewer must be living and feeling to lead them to feel the way they do, and I wish for better for them.

It's a big part of what I teach and try to live every day. It's also the basis of my second book, which I hope to publish in mid-2018.

Nov 8, 7:20AM EST0

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Nov 4, 11:58PM EDT0

For me, writing about something I don't have passion about is hard. My style is to write from my mind/heart rather than just to write on some random subject. So if I am struggling, it's usually a sign that the theme or topic is not a fit. I listen to that, and pivot.

This has been most obvious when writing for Inc Magazine. When I joined up, I pitched about 15 article ideas to them. I've written a lot of those, written other things that came to me, but also have probably 5-8 of those original pitch ideas I'm just not really feeling, so I can't get myself into writing them. So I don't. And that's ok.

I find if it doesn't resonate for me, I won't write it in a way that resonates for others.

Nov 8, 7:15AM EST0

What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?

Nov 4, 10:24AM EDT0

That's a hard one to answer specifically. There's one magazine I've been getting called "Author Magazine" that I like. My wife got it for me as a gift. It has had a lot of useful guidance, but does feel more focused on the self-published crowd than not. That said, if you have an agent and publisher, you may not need the help/guidance.

Otherwise, I would recommend magazines in your space. As an example, if you're a business writer, reading Inc, Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Economist, etc would be a good idea.

Nov 4, 2:12PM EDT0

Why do we willfully and consciously engage in self-destructive habits while ignoring our better judgment?

Nov 3, 12:14PM EDT0

The answer often lies under the surface in trauma or experiences from our past that shaped our thought patterns - especially about ourselves. That's why it's so important to first work on self-respect, self-compassion and self-worth. It's also important to face, unpack and work through that trauma so you can move forward. Most people simply bury it, thinking it doesn't matter if they aren't thinking about it. But we always think about it under the surface.

Bring it to the surface, face it, and then free yourself from the power of the past.

Nov 3, 1:07PM EDT0

If you could offer only one piece of advice about beginning … changing habits, starting fresh … what would it be?

Nov 1, 4:00PM EDT0

Great first question. I always start with the idea of self-love or self-compassion. Before anything you have to allow for the possibility that you can do something, that you deserve to achieve. We spend a lot of time being negative with ourselves, and it's hard to change when that's what's in our heads.To do so, I have people start small. Think of one achievement, like graduating from school, or having friends. Just try to allow that to be a good thing without using "but" to diminish it.

  • For example, if you graduated from college, let that be an achievement. Don't get into whether your GPA was good enough, whether you took hard enough classes or anything else. You graduated. You did it. Let that sink in without diminishing it.
  • If you have friends, let that be an achievement. People choose to be connected with you (they weren't born into a forced connection). They enjoy your company. They seek your advice or want to give you theirs to try to help you. It doesn't matter if you've ever fought with them, or you've lost friends at some point. Just allow for having them to be good enough.

Once you start with that, you can layer on achievement. For what to do next, I imagine some other questions will bring that out, so be sure to read other answers!

Last edited @ Nov 1, 4:27PM EDT.
Nov 1, 4:20PM EDT0

How many hours a day do you write?

Nov 1, 3:56PM EDT0

Interesting question! Thank you! It's about inspiration for me rather than time. I write lots every day, but much of it isn't for my books or articles. I tend to write in spurts every few days, which works well for me. I will put in a few hours at one sitting when I am inspired, and I will do things to gain inspiration the rest of the time (like reading or coaching people). For my first book, I wrote intensely for 3 months in blocks of 2-4 hours at a time every few days. My second book is taking more research time, so the writing has been much slower. For my Inc Magazine pieces, I tend to write those in one sitting once a week.

Last edited @ Nov 1, 4:28PM EDT.
Nov 1, 4:22PM EDT0

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Nov 1, 2:16PM EDT0

That's a tough one for me to answer since I'm self-published. I think that there's been a lot of bad blood between the publishers and Amazon, and people forget why it all started in the first place. Authors weren't getting what they needed from publishers, so Amazon jumped in and took advantage of that need with their self-publishing tools. The publishing industry is very hard to get into since you generally need an agent, but most agents won't take you unless you have a platform already (it's like you need an agent to get an agent!). Amazon broke that, and publishers didn't like it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but my feelings about it all have changed dramatically since becoming an author than when I was just a consumer/reader. I'm much more pro-Amazon in terms of the value of the disruption they brought as it was much-needed (in my opinion).

Nov 1, 4:25PM EDT0

If for a moment you start to feel overwhelmed by the complexities of life, how do you simplify to get where you want to be?

Nov 1, 1:26PM EDT0

This is the essence of my book, Do a Day. It's all about freeing yourself from the causes of being overwhelmed or anxious, namely judgment of the past and fear of the future.

  • The past has happened. Beating yourself up over it will not make it such that it didn't happen. You should learn from it, but you should not live your life right now under the weight of what you did wrong before. Just because you made a bad decision before, doesn't mean you need to make a bad decision today.
  • The future has not happened, and the future you have anxiety about may never happen. Why cower in fear of something that may never be? And do you expect to be able to make smart choices today that reduce the chance of that bad future playing out if you are stuck in fear of it? Of course not.

When we make decisions from a place of fear and insecurity, we make bad decisions. And bad decisions do not move us closer to our goals. Do what you need to do today in pursuit of your goals regardless of what you've done before or what was done to you before, and free of the potential things you might have to deal with tomorrow.

Nov 1, 4:32PM EDT0
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