Birthday Reflection: Staying Motivated
Hey gals (and guys),
It’s been awhile since I have written a piece on the blog (the last time was in July - say what now?!) And as promised with the birthday post last Sunday, I wanted to share some of my reflections from the 24th year. So here goes some Valerie real talk.
Whether you are studying, working, or managing you own side hustle, things can get a little dry and staying motivated is getting more and more challenging each day.
Well, that’s exactly what I have been going through in the last few months (and I think it’s still going…it has its moments). And you might even say, “but wait what? Didn’t you just have two workshop events and been featured in podcasts, and this has been going on for a few months?” Yes that is correct.
Here’s a quick background: I have been two months into the journey of Her Progress when I turned 24 last year. So naturally, I began my 24th year with the hustle mindset.
Her Progress has been one of my main priorities I had throughout last year (and for the many years to come). Life was all about coming up with new content, having new ideas, and planning strategies to make the vision of this cause come to a reality. Outside my 9-5 job, I would go home and do some more HER work. Heck, I even did some content stuff while I was AT work. See, I love being busy and most of the time, I strive in it too. But in the midst of all this busy, I was slowly losing motivation and passion for what I do. Classic!
I struggled to write new blog articles. I struggled to put my story into words. And this lack of motivation didn’t just end there. I’ve somewhat become a little apathetic that I would pass up on the things I love to do. I would need to push myself to even just catch up for a coffee with a friend. Exhibit A: I have just booked myself for coffee date with a friend in the next two days and I have to fight to urge of cancelling that date a few hours later. Seriously, Valerie?!
With this new apathy that was clearly foreign to a bubbly and loud Valerie, it came to a point that Her Progress has just become another chore to do for another day. I wished that I was doing something easier than putting my life and story out there. I questioned my authority and calling into this platform with all of the life’s maybes. I would be lying if I’d say that I never struggled with Her Progress and everything was rainbows and confetti. You know all those Instagram posts about throwing in the towel? That’s all related to this journey.
But you know, for every single time that I would think about giving up, my heart kept reminding me of the fact that I have come long and far to be in the position that I am in. It kept reminding me of how humbling this journey have been, and how much it has changed and equipped me for the better. It kept reminding me of the lives that I’ve touched by simply taking steps towards vulnerability and courage. But seriously, the struggle to stay motivated when you feel like crap was so real, gals!
So despite the waves of uncertainty, uneasiness and apathy, I continued to walk on the long and narrow road set out for me. Day in and day out, I continued to show up even with this darkness following behind me, and here’s some of the things I have learnt (and continue to learn) while on this journey:
1. Never forget to feed the soul where the work for people comes from.
One of the reasons why I was finding it so hard to stay motivated was because I prioritized and pushed myself on doing more work for the people than feeding the soul where the motivation to do the work comes from. Yes, this is coming from the gal who wants you to celebrate yourself all day, everyday.
I have to re-learn and practice what I preach. I had to re-learn to treat myself again with the simple and big things without feeling bad about it or apologize for doing so…without thinking that this time or money is better used for somewhere else. Because here’s one thing I learned about this season: if you need motivation in your life, you need to find it within you, and that is only found when you continue to feed it with the things you love and enjoy doing, and the Word from God.
At the end of the day, I was reminded that it is not life’s fault - or even God’s fault - that I didn’t have time to rest and do all the things I love to do, but mine completely.
2. Know your measurement of success.
When I started Her Progress, my end goal was clear - it was to make women around the world feel heard, be encouraged with women’s real life stories, and be connected in a community who’s all about being real.
But over time, I slowly blurred the end goal and was looking for instant and tangible rewards to keep going. Talk about the millennials want for instant gratification. My success was slowly defined by the amount of likes, comments or shares that I would get in a post. It was slowly defined by the amount of people who came to the events. I always found myself in a mental and spiritual battle of reminding myself what really matters most.
At some point, I was so craving for tangible rewards that I just wanted to leave Her Progress behind and be in a place where monetary rewards was instant, or find the easy paths for monetizing the blog. And hey, there is nothing wrong with receiving the fruits of your labor, but if your definition of success is blurred, so will your motivation and self be. You can lose yourself doing God’s work when you are more focused about the work than God.
In this process, I have to re-learn, be reminded and fall in love again to the why behind my what. I have to re-define what success is for me. I have to always remind myself that every calling and platform have different forms of reward, and when you are faithful in your purpose, God will be faithful in His provisions.
3. Real connection refresh your soul.
I have this saying that I keep in mind for awhile which goes: you are the sum of the five people you hang out with. So in the last couple of weeks before I turned 25, I genuinely decided to really invest on the friendships that I wish to keep in my life. And for these past few weeks, I have experienced connection, love and support more than I have in the past year combined in those friendships. I am truly grateful to have friends and family who keep reminding me to celebrate who I am, my progress and my achievements.
Just as we refresh ourselves when we refresh others (Proverbs 11:25), sometimes we just need to be the people who others refresh to and invest in. How does that look like? Well, I have to learn to let people into my life and openly accept wisdom. I have to learn to actually let the people I love love me in return. I have to learn to ask for help even when the girl boss Valerie thinks she can handle everything all by herself.
The encouragement of the right people around you can bring your spirit up to a level that brings you back to point numero uno.
All these three points took an ample amount of time to be engraved in my heart. It took plenty of zap moments to keep the process going. And these rock bottom moments helped me appreciate the beauty in the darkness. Like the beaming moon and stars that are perfectly seen during the night, there is something to look forward to in the challenges of every season. I know that things can be really hard and man, life can really throw you a good curve ball, but I want to reassure you that there is a purpose for your pain. You just have to keep looking up and showing up!
And as for expectations for the 25th year, I want to have a deeper well of understanding and wisdom, and I know for a fact that means being a whole lot more vulnerable to life. I have bigger dreams and goals for the days to come and plans that I can’t speak of yet, but I am really looking forward to share it all with you! And as for Her Progress, we want to keep serving you gals here in New Zealand and across the globe with real talk content and more events to keep us all connected. Watch this space!
But for now, I am looking forward for another amazing and wild road trip around the sun! :)