A few weeks ago I was in a bad mood and complaining about the phrase “Work Hard”. You may have read about it. I came to the conclusion at the end that while I had no idea what it meant to work hard I could persevere. I like that mantra much better than “work hard”. This might be just a re-writing of that same conclusion but without the complaining.
Lately I have been rolling the phrase “keep working” around in my head. I don’t know if I am working hard, I am not sure I am particularly efficient or organized and some days I question whether I am even competent! But I keep working. I keep showing up, I keep trying new things, I keep doing the tasks before me.
A while back I wrote a post entitled “rejecting discipline”. I was spending a lot of time trying to be disciplined because that, along with hard work, seems to be the thing that all articles claim successful are keys to success. And I want to be successful. But then I had one of those God moments:
I was reading through Timothy a few months ago and came across I Timothy 6:11 “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” And I got stuck on the word endurance. Pursue endurance? So I looked at other versions and got: patience, perseverance, steadfastness, steadiness. My commentary said, “Endurance is the won’t quit determination of God’s servants in the face of opposition to the gospel.”
And now I find myself rejecting the phrase “work hard” for essentially the same word. This time instead of enduring I am persevering. Don’t quit. Keep working.
I am a runner. I became a runner/athlete in my 30’s so I don’t have a bunch of kid sports background to motivate me. I have simply had to coach and motivate myself. And what I learned about how to motivate myself as a runner applies to the conclusion I came to with these words. I don’t like to be pushed by other people. Running with my sister while she yells at me to keep going when I have lost steam does not motivate me. And watching her run further or faster than me does not motivate me to push and keep up. But my own self talk does motivate me. I like to create my own goals and then exceed them and be impressed with myself. I can literally push myself an extra mile or more simply by continually giving myself an out. When I get to the next block I can quit. Then I tell myself. “well, I don’t feel that bad, I could probably push out one more block.” And so on and so on. I need small goals and the ability to continually increase them as they are met. I persevere and keep working; I don’t quit.
In working it is important that I am telling myself the right stories. That what I tell myself actually motivates me to keep going. So figuring out that words like “discipline” and phrases like “work hard” do not motivate me or inspire me to forward motion, and finding ones that do is an important part of this transition for me from homemaker to working mom.
What word or phrase do you find unhelpful? What motivates you?