How to find your mo’. A quick, easy way to recover your motivation

Where did the motivation go? If you’re like me, you may start a project loving every minute of it, and then realize some time later that you’re just not that into it anymore. It’s hard to bring yourself to even think about it, let alone work on it.


Image by Philippe Boukobza used with permission.

It’s inevitable, really. And totally normal. At one time or another, every single person on the planet will lose motivation for a project. It doesn’t matter how amazing that person is: Oprah, Marie Forleo, Margaret Atwood. Even me. Startling, I know.

I’m in the middle of sewing a quilt for my daughter. I ran out of fabric, and while I bought some more the other day, I haven’t found the motivation to get going again.

It’s time to pull out the 5 Whys.

Reconnect to your why

Usually when I’ve lost my mo’, I’ve lost connection with the reason I started the project in the first place. The quick yet extremely powerful 5 Whys has its roots in Toyota and is widely used in Kaizen, Lean, and Six Sigma.

While this tactic is typically used to find the root cause of a problem, I’m not interested in that. I’d probably end up with some horrific answer like, “Because I’m lazy, untalented, and have no business doing something like this.” Yikes. I want to stay as far away from that as possible.

Instead, I put my own twist on it: find the reason you want to do it.

Grab a pen and pad of paper and write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. Why are you doing this project? Because I want to give my daughter something special that she’ll cherish for years to come.
  2. And why is that important to you? Because this blanket will be my way of wrapping her in love when eventually, she’ll move away and will no longer be with me.
  3. And why is that important to you? Because she might want a hug sometime and I may not be there to give her one. She can wrap herself in the blanket and think of me. And I will be able to think of her in her blanket and send her a hug.
  4. And why is that important to you? Because it will give us connectedness, togetherness, and love anytime, anywhere.
  5. And why is that important to you?

Each time you ask why, look even deeper. You want to find the core reason you’re working on the project. You may not need to ask why all five times (like my example above), or you may need to ask why a few more times than five. Usually by the fifth why, you’ll hit on something significant. You may even experience a physical sensation. It’s powerful stuff.

By then, you usually can’t help but get going again on that project. Now where did I put my thimble. It’s time to get sewing!

I’d love to know – what’s your project and what’s the core reason you’re doing it? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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