Ep. 126 – How To Stay Motivated: The 6 Key Actions To Stay Highly Motivated

Steve:  Welcome To The Becoming Your Best Podcast. This is Steve Shallenberger your host. I’m excited to talk about the subject today. It’s how to stay motivated and 6 Key Actions that you can take to stay highly motivated. As we think about Becoming Your Best and the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, I’ve been thinking about never giving up, that’s principle #12.  Each one of the Principles alone is important but alone really, insufficient by themselves. It’s how they work together that creates a chemistry of excellence. Never give up   is a decision to keep going, it is a pattern of employing the other 11 principles and in the process of working on our vision and goals, of Becoming Your Best, while experiencing success, failure, making pivots, failing again, succeeding, succeeding, failing, learning and moving forward to a great place.  Never Giving Up is at the heart of success for all humanity. It is a principle, a force of human will, will power of overcoming setbacks, learning, never giving up and making progress.  Sometimes spectacular progress.

The subject today is part of Never Giving Up and a vital component, even a full cousin and it is  Staying Motivated to Reach Our Vision and Goals!

Whether you’re a Sales Person, CEO, Division Leader, Parent, Coach, Teacher, Professional (Doc, Dentist, Lawyer, Accountant, etc.) Student, technician, truck driver and so forth the STAKES ARE HIGH!  Our level of motivation can literally determine our success!  Our level of motivation is like a light burning without that radiates everywhere without.

One of our five sons is working as a Sales Rep in Chicago and it’s very interesting because he has some very clear goals, a great skill set and deciding to make a difference is a mental state and it literally drives us to a high level of achievement but it is the motivation that is the drive line that is helping Tommy be successful every single day. One of the things that Tommy has done to help reinforce this motivation is he’s chosen my wife (and I get to be the bystander to reporting each day). She is his accountability partner. He calls her every single day and reports how it’s going. This is one of the ways Tommy is able to sustain a high level of motivation and it’s paying off. He’s one of the very top in this business. Towards the end of his wonderful and amazing life, Stephen Covey and I went to lunch one day and we were talking about what were the most important things that he taught. And out of all the things that he taught, the 7 Habits and the other things, he said, these are the two: P/PC balance – Probability now and Profit Capability. The PC is the ability to produce profits over a long period of time. Our ability to balance these in a successful way are what determines our long term success. So if you focus too much on profitability this year, you can burn yourself out at the expense of your PC. If you focus too much on the PC then your P suffers this year. It’s this balance. The second of the concepts that he felt were the greatest that he taught, was that the private victory precedes the public victory. I love this concept and it is as true today as it was over his illustrious career where he touched millions throughout the world. This is what I’d like us to think about is that the private victory has a huge impact on our public victory in terms of sustaining high motivation.

So in preparation for this podcast, here at BYB, we have been doing research throughout the world on this very subject:  How Do You Stay Motivated or What Discourages You or What keeps you from staying highly motivated .  The findings from this research have had a huge impact for me on better understanding what people do to stay motivated or what discourages them. I appreciate the feedback from our many listeners around the world. This has been so helpful. Staying motivated is both a science and an art. I have culled from the feedback from the research on this study and developed this into 6 key actions you can take to stay motivated.

The opposite of being motivated is to be discouraged.  This can vastly impact your happiness, joy and productivity, not to mention your quality of life.  This is especially true is you are suffering from fiery adversity.  The fact is:  The STAKES ARE HIGH in our lives.

What can you do  (what can I do?) to stay highly motivated? So here are the 6 things that I have called from this research and I’ll try to really touch on some of the various thoughts that have been given – I’ll weave them into the 6 thoughts as well.

  1. Follow your vision, goals and pre-week planning. This is huge in terms of staying highly motivated. Dr Oz recently said, “Your heart needs a reason to keep beating.” That is what we put into our vision. What is the reason that we have for living? So making it passionate, exciting and meaningful. This is the head point, the starting point, the head gates, the direction we want to move in life including love, relationships and doing great things with your talents.  This REASON is articulated it in a vision and cascading now through smart annual goals and being executed pre-week planning.  This is a process that inspires leadership and action. And literally as you embrace these experiences, you recognize the daily victories that you have!  It’s interesting as through this study, I’ve realized that ,money as a goal is important, but it was far from the biggest factor in keeping people highly motivated.  So this is an important part of our  vision and goals and pre week planning to be financially reliant and ahead of the game but it’s not the most important think that keep us highly motivated. One fellow said, “Money isn’t important, but it does rank right up there with oxygen.”  Well, what’s so important about pre-week planning is it helps you to put it all together.  It helps you to visualize your success, the things that count most to stay highly motivated.  The components of that that do help us maintain this high motivation is Exercise, meditation, doing good things, working on balance; so it’s this whole package of key things that allows us to stay at the top of our game. Some people said in the survey and in our research to  make a game for achievement.  So, daily execution in sales is a good example if that happens to be your business. I recall, when I was going through college, during the Summers, I was a  door-to-door book salesman for the South Western Company also for Eagle Systems International. Here was the game that I made: this was Door-to-Door sales, everyone was a potential customer – we just didn’t know it until we  opened the door. So everything was pretty fast hitting. The game was to give 20 demos in morning, afternoon and evening.  People in the area that I worked in called me “The Running Book Salesman.” I literally run from door to door so I could achieve that goal. I did that  – the result was that it would help me be the Top Sale Reps in the company. And so, these are things you can do: vision, so you really follow your vision, annual goals that are set by roles – so what are going to do in the personal aspect, family and friends, professionally and civically? This very clear focus of smart goals meaning very specific achievable, measurable, relevant to your vision and timely – they help us stay focused. And then it’s down to the implementation, pre week planning which is simply this: taking a few minutes during the weekend, 20-30 minutes to think through the lens of your roles, the key roles that you have in your life and what are the actions that matter most. And then you mesh that in to when you’re do them with your existing goals and so you set up your week so you can win and succeed. This focus really helps you control the things that you can control. It’s interesting because when you follow a focus on these things, you’re literally working on what you can control and not wasting your time or your focus to things you cannot control. This focus has a huge impact on being able to stay highly motivated. Just one quck footnote before we go on the number 2 , from the study, these are actually the things that discourage people:  Not living up to my potential, not getting things done/procrastination, having negative thoughts or when things don’t pan out that’s what leads to discouraging. This next one is really interesting – no recognition, direction, or deadline. This one of no recognition from others is important. Biases, and lack of finances. So what I found is our annual goals and Pre-week planning really help with every one of those. They really help you control the things you can control and work on those type of things so you end up on the other side of the ledger.

Now, we actually listed in a graphic pie chart each of the top of these 6 things. Here is number 2.

  1. Belief in a higher power. This was ranked way up there in helping people remain highly motivated. And expressing gratitude and recognition of this belief in a higher power. What this does is that when people believe in a higher power, they recognize the potential they have.  My friend Zig Ziglar used to say, “God don’t make no junk!”  How true that is! You are special and have God-given capabilities and capacity.  There is a higher purpose in life.  This belief can provide enormous motivation.  This belief will help you LOVE yourself and realize how good you really are. At least that’s my take on it. That’s why so many people I think rank this as such a high force or influence in their life to stay highly motivated.
  2. Prayer and meditation. These are major influences on staying highly motivated. This reminded me of both George Washington and Abe Lincoln. Two of the very most significant historical influences to impact on our world particularly on the United States and being key figures on setting up and establishing a government a constitution, a way of living that has influenced all of us in our modern world and billions of people. George Washington in the very depths of despair in trying to stay motivated – he needed, as the leader of this force – this continental army who were fighting for their very lives, needed to stay upbeat and motivated. Our home and others, that I’ve seen that we have this great painting by Arnold Freeberg of George Washington kneeling in prayer. There’s many accounts of this of this is where he gained his strength to stay focused and motivated. Abe Lincoln, during the battle of Geddessburg, he went to his study and knelt in prayer and asked for divine help, that they were able to be successful in the battlefield. He relates that this gave him a great sense of peace and confidence  and people were marveling while many were leaving Washington during that battle of Geddesburg and the event that the confederate army would have been victorious, Abe Lincoln said, “I’m staying.” During this time, he was very motivated. This is the account that he gave. Meditation and reflecting on the things that count most are very helpful to us.
  3. Associate with other upbeat motivated people. Have fun. Recognize others for the good that they do.  Failure to recognize others and their contribution does leads to discouragement.  On both sides of this – we are going to determined to control what we can control but we can control recognizing others. So let’s associate with other people that are like minded. In this regard, I am so fortunate. I’m fortunate to have an upbeat family. My work associates are amazing, high achievers and they focus in all aspects on their lives in being upbeat and having fun. A good example is at a conference last week, a number of us executives went to. Just before the evening or the afternoon session of the conference, we went out to a Go Kart place which was not too far away. And we had a great time. We survived the Go Kart experience together. My back got slightly rearranged but we work hard and we play hard. We have upbeat language and actions and consideration and respect for each other’s. All of these things literally create a culture of high motivation. It doesn’t we don’t have challenges. It doesn’t mean we don’t have set backs and problems.  How we approach it really is a big deal.  So have an accountability partner on positive goals.  If possible, stay away from chronically negative people.


Let’s go over these first four:

  1. Follow your vision, goals and pre week playing.
  2. Belief in a higher power – everybody isn’t going to do that in the way you do it, but that is one of the results of this survey from across the board for what people can do. If it’s helpful, it’s something you can think about.
  3. Prayer and Meditation and the strength, peace and depth it can give you.
  4. Associate with other motivated, upbeat people.


  1. Fill your mind with upbeat, inspiring thoughts. This is something that you can control. I like what William James wrote, “The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds as you think, so shall you be. These are things you can control for example like: Read great stuff, listen (podcasts, TED talks, motivation materials, upbeat soundtracks), Learn – literally as you learn, you increase size of hippocampus. The size of your hippocampus, it directly impacts the health of your brain, body and your life. Memorize upbeat poems. I love doing this. This does the very same thing as in filling your brain with the right kind of stuff. Share learnings and experiences with others.  One of the people that I met last week in a seminar came up to me afterwards said ‘I loved being here today. I love the thought of BYB. I’ve been thinking about motivating thoughts. And I’ve created a journal where I’m writing these down. And in the morning, when I wake up, I look at the journal and it helps me continue this process. When I say fill your mind with upbeat  and inspiring thoughts, I mention soundtracks, movies, whatever. I like things like “Amazing Grace,” with William Wilbur Force, Apollo 13, Rudy, Remember The Titans, The Sound Of Music, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Rocky and so forth. These are all little things that we just keep doing little by little.
  2. Positive Self Talk and affirmations (include this type of language in your vision). I like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Sow a thought and you reap an act. Sow an action and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny. And that’s what we’re talking about here. Positive self talk and affirmations. This the type of language that you include in your vision. So a good example of this one is “Today is going to be a great day.” That is an affirmation. “I do great work.” These are the type of things we can put in our vision and fill our minds. Positive Talk. The body is very obedient.  The body will conform to what we ask it to do. One of the great examples of this. One of my first companies – ESI we have over 700 hundred sales reps and they would go out and of course be positive with every single client or customer. We would hold a training with all of them before the launched out to all of their assigned areas in the United States and as we worked on positive self talk and one of the things we would work on is, we would say together, three times, but they may need to say it 10 or 20 times or as many times as they were going to their areas:

“I Feel Healthy, I feel happy. I feel  terrific. “ At  first they may not have felt healthy, happy and terrific. They may have felt lousy and discouraged and down in the dumps. But as they said, “I Feel Healthy, I feel happy. I feel  terrific,” over and over , pretty soon they found themselves feeling that way. It literally impacts the body on releasing endorphins and changing how you feel.

So those are 6 things that you can do that came from this research. I’m just going to review it one more time.

  1. Follow your vision, goals and pre week planning. This sets up a process that deals with so many things that take away from motivation and add to motivation and helps you do it better.
  2. Belief in a higher power: Each person will have to decide how you do that and what it means to you
  3. Prayer and meditation
  4. Associate with other update and motivated people: That is so fun. I’m grateful to have friends work associates and family who do that. And it’s helpful to me! I reflect upon them and feel the gratitude and appreciation I think that adds to my motivation.
  5. Fil your mind with upbeat, inspiring thoughts
  6. Positive Self-Talk: Be careful of the language going on in your own mind.


Here’s an invitation – something that may be helpful. Many people help us if we have a sample of what a vision or goals may look like. If you would like a PDF of some samples,  email us at  and we will just send you the Free PDFs of samples of vision and goals. Another thing that you might consider is investing in a BYB book and BYB planner. You can go to our website and indicate that you would like to have a book and a planner and I would be happy to sign the book for you. These will help you do these 6 things we just talked about and stay focused on What Matters Most.

One other thing that you might consider is to give a gift of a BYB book and/or BYB planner to a family member or work associate.  These are transformational forces that have inspired the #1 Leadership forces in your life. As you work on these 6 KEY ACTIONS which is to:
1. Follow your vision, goals and pre week planning

  1. Belief in a higher power
  2. Prayer and Meditation
  3. Associate with other upbeat and motivated people
  4. Fill your mind with upbeat and positive thoughts
  5. Positive Self Talk.

These things will help you Stay Motivated:  You WILL STAY HIGHLY MOTIVATED and it will affect your happiness, joy and productivity and that of everyone around you.

We are wishing you all the best as you make a difference in the world for good every day.

This is Steve Shallenberger, with BYBGL, wishing you a great, safe day.

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