“You need your own website. Social media platforms could shutdown anytime!”

How to Summon Willpower

These words by renowned speaker Dona Sarkar (who happens to also be my colleague!) in one of her personal branding talks on the Microsoft Ignite Tour was what literally sparked the creation of this website. What’s the big deal, you ask?

Well, this has been a project I’ve been procrastinating on for the longest time. Yes, for those of you who know me, this might seem ironic as I’m typically always raring to go and jumping to get started on exciting new projects.

Not this one, however. I left this one sitting right on the bottom of my homework / To-Do list for the longest time. Every time a pocket of free time opened up (which doesn’t happen often, mind you!), I would inevitably always find something else to prioritize instead.

Funnily enough, all it took for me to finally realize that I probably should get to it was a $100 employee morale gift card from work. There was a flurry of excitement as people in my team discussed what they would use it for. Yet, it was almost like a real kick-in-the-butt that had me thinking, “What should I buy with this $100 to invest in myself, and share my knowledge and experiences with others?”.

This was the answer. Not a brand new Nintendo Switch game (although I will say, Animal Crossing has been one of the best purchases I’ve had in recent times, especially with the COVID-19 lockdown and having to practice social distancing at home!). Not an online class, since I’m already up to my ears in online classes and learning with my Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program. I wanted a platform where I could share my own thoughts and perspectives – heart-to-heart as a human, outside of the typical corporate work hat that I usually don on public engagements and events. I’ve found that the best lessons often come from those who share authentically and are upfront about their own failures and learning journey, but it’s not always easy to do in a world where we’re often expected to be perfect and polished. No one is 100% perfect or polished.

It brings me to the question that most people (including me at times!) struggle with – “How do you summon willpower to get things done?” As humans, we don’t need a lot of encouragement to do things we already love or enjoy. For instance, I don’t need someone to coax me to read my favorite books or to play Animal Crossing – I just do it. It’s for the tasks that we’re daunted by, or have a fear of the unknown about that we tend to put off. What if you could reframe that fear into something that challenges or excites you? Here are 3 tips that might help:

#1: Reframe Your Thoughts

Instead of, “I don’t know how to create a website; it’s too hard”, try thinking, “This is an opportunity for me to invest in my personal brand. I’ll look up resources to help me bridge my knowledge gaps. Who can I talk to to help me understand this better?”. Or instead of “I’m afraid to fail”, why not try reframing it as, “At least I’ve tried, and can now better understand how it works!”. You might even be surprised to find out that perhaps it wasn’t as difficult as you expected! Reframing your thoughts can help you view daunting challenges as exciting opportunities instead, which in turn reduces the inertia for you to get started.

#2: Recruit the help of accountability partners

Consider also recruiting the help of accountability partners to help keep you on track. Find a friend and task them with the responsibility to keep reminding you of projects you said you’d do, but have been putting it off because you were afraid. When there’s someone else keeping you accountable, it can help motivate you to finally #DoTheThing.

#3: Write out your plan

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to write out a plan, instead of just keeping it in your head, or putting it in your phone. Physically writing it out – pen on paper – can help your goals seem more real and achievable. Try it out for yourself – the experience of seeing your project listed on paper (preferably somewhere visible so you’ll see it often and be reminded of it) is a satisfying one indeed. Put it on your to-do list as well – you’ll relish that moment when you finally get to check it off your list!

I hope these steps are helpful, and can help you develop your own willpower-summoning powers. Remember, all of us have to start somewhere – why not get started today? You’ve got this!

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