In this episode, I talk about how to find your purpose and motivation after trauma and I will lay out a couple of things to build who you want to be.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/how-to-find-purpose-and-motivation-after-trauma-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes
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Are you feel lost or feel lazy sometimes?
Are you asking, "what to do with my life" or "what is my purpose"?
In this episode, I talk about how to find your purpose and motivation after trauma and I will lay out a couple of things to build who you want to be.
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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! As you may know or may not, maybe that's the first time you're finding out. We are now answering questions from you, the audience on the pod. What you need to do, if you want to have a question answered on the show like I'm about to do right now, go to thinkunbrokenpodcast.com and you will see a little sidebar icon that says, “Ask Michael a question” And so, if you click that, you can leave a voice note to ask a question, or if you don't want to do that, you can email me subject line, “I have a question for the podcast” and write your question and I will answer it like I'm about to do right now.
So, I got a question here a couple days ago from Sheila, she said;
“I discovered you recently and I'm most of the way through your book. My podcast question is, I've lived my whole life in fear. I'm 56. It was my driving force in everything that I did or choose to do. Success goals and failure without fear running me I don't want to do anything, just sit around, maybe do artistic things, maybe talk to a familiar person, reasoning says, having no desire is wrong. If I don't work, I can't have my basic needs met. I do work. If I don't clean, my house is gross and a gross house makes me feel sad. Where in me do I find my drive to have purpose? How do I find motivation that is not driven by fear or consequences? Thank you for your time”
Sheila, I'll tell you right now, you are not alone in that, my friend. I think, the vast majority of people who have come through trauma, find themselves in a very similar position, it's very much like, well, how do you kind of start to build and create your life? How do you do things because you choose to do them, not because of fear, not because of shame, not because of guilt, not because of this weird thing that's innately in us that says we have to do something or this happens. And I think about this a lot because I look at my life today and I look at the lives of the clients and the people I've coached and people we've guided through the journey over all these years of building and creating Think Unbroken. And ultimately, I believe that it always comes down to a couple of things.
One, you just have to have clarity.
Most people don't know what to do in their life because they haven't made a decision and created a framework and a roadmap about what it is that they want to do. And when I say a roadmap, I mean it's literally getting into the trenches of your reality and building who you are step by step based on who it is that you want and choose to be.
One of the things that you really have to think about and understand when it comes to being on the other side of a childhood and background and having been a chameleon for most of your life, which many survivors are, is that the place that you're in now is unknown territory, especially when you're like, okay, I want to build a life without fear being the motivation. Fear is an amazing motivator like it is because that pushes you forward in the moments when you have to take care of yourself, when you have to get that job, when you need to leave that relationship with all the other elements of life that may come up, sometimes fear can be a provocateur for success. Now that's very rare and that's something that should be in the minority of the action that you take in your life, not being the very thing that's always pushing you forward. And so, when I talk about this idea of mapping out your life, one of the things we always do at Think Unbroken at the beginning of the year is our goals workshop because we need to create and set a framework for the future.
Now, I don't necessarily believe that creating goals around the beginning of the year is the only time to do them in fact, I write my goals down almost every single day, I'm always moving towards something, but I know that the goals that I set and I write every single day are actually mapped towards the bigger picture view that I have of my life. And what you have to do is literally, this is where people are gonna not be able to have success in their life ‘cuz they're not going to follow the steps that I'm gonna lay out. If I go and I trace back all the success in my life, I can literally pinpoint it to doing exactly what people who, when I asked them, the question told me to. And so, if I go and I seek help from my mentors, from my coaches, and I say, hey, what do I do? And they say, you need to do this, I go and I do that.
And so, if you want to have success here, you need to do what I'm gonna tell you to do because a lot of people will be like, Oh, their advice didn't help, their coaching didn't guide me forward, and it's like, well, you didn't execute the game plan. You didn't keep your side of the commitment, which is super, super often, and I really, really do not want that to be you. So, you are going have to follow through here and if you're listening, you're gonna have to follow through as well if you feel very similar to where Sheila's at.
So, what do you do? You take a pen and a piece of paper and with massive clarity in the most nuanced of detail, you write down the life that you want to have. Some of you already have decided you're not going to do this, and I'm gonna tell you why ‘cuz I can read your fucking mind. You've decided that you're not going to do this because you're measuring yourself against the success of other people and saying, I can never have that.
The language that you use is a predetermining quality of whether or not you're going to have success or failure in your life. Two things. One, if you measure yourself against other people, you're screwed. Two, if you do not give yourself the space to find possibility, you will never find it. You're not gonna have it. It's not going to happen, and you will be right. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy when you say, I can't, I won't, I shouldn't. Not gonna happen. You've already predetermined. So, when you're walking into creating the nuance of this life that you want to create, you've gotta be massively specific while also understanding the chances are, (A) You need to be patient, knowing that it's gonna take you longer to get there than you think it is, and (B) to get comfortable with the truth that you probably have not acquired the skills in your life required to get there yet. The possibility is there, but you're not there yet.
When I look at my life, I look at so many of the things that I've done. I've not even close to what it is that I want to build and create and Think Unbroken in my life, in my career, in my health, my relationships, my body, my friendships, my community ‘cuz I have not acquired all the skills yet, but as I'm acquiring the skills, I have to remind myself, you have to still be patient because if you're not patient, you're never going to get the thing that you're seeking. But if you're not seeking the goals, if you're not seeking the skills that you need to move towards that goal, you're not gonna get it either way. So, it's really a parlay of doing both. And so, as you're in this place and you're building out this idea of the life that you want to have, it's not about material possession alone. Can you have those? Yeah, of course you need to integrate that. You know, money, wealth, success, happiness, joy, hobbies, friendships, community. I mean like even about your sex life like, get clear, what do you want? Who are you? A second reason why people will fell at this is because they're not going to create clarity in their life with honesty, they're lying to themselves. And what I mean by that is, so we're so indoctrinated into this idea that we have to be motivated in order to go forward, right? We've been indoctrinated by this idea that there's a carrot dangling in front of us that someone else is holding, right? This starts in childhood; this starts in school, as far back as you can remember, because there's always been this thing that's in front of you that you're moving towards. If you grow up in a standardized western society, that thing is graduate high school, go to college, go get a job, be a cog in the wheel. And what happens when you operate that way is you lack critical thinking. And that's the reason why I hated school because I would be like, this doesn't make sense to me. Why do I have to do the thing that you want to do? Like I remember distinctly like these teachers would be like, don't be a ball player ‘cuz it's never gonna happen. I'm like, fuck that. If I want to be a ball player and I work for it, I can have it. And remember getting in so much trouble as a kid for that. And what happens is now you've been enmeshed and groomed into this irrational thought process that you can't have something when in reality you can. And the point of measure for determining that is looking at, has anyone ever done the thing that you're trying to do? If the answer is yes, guess what? You can fucking do it. If the answer is no, it may not be possible like the idea that came into my head is like, you can't be the first person to go try to breathe in outer space, there's no oxygen, you're gonna die. You can dry, but it ain't gonna fucking work. Right? So, what do you have to do? You have to look at and measure and model those in front of you.
Now when you do this, people are like, I don't know what my purpose is. Here's what I've discover.
Purpose is about showing up every day, living life on your terms, moving towards the goals that you have and the things that you want to create.
Purpose is self-defined. People have this notion and this idea that purpose has to be this big overarching thing in their life, right?
I'll even have people reach out to me and they're like, Oh, I'm so excited that you found your purpose and Think Unbroken, I'm like, No, no, no, no. That's just a part of my life that's, I would call Think Unbroken 7% of my life. The coaching, the books, the speaking, the writing, that's a portion. You don't see the other aspects, the fitness and the other business I run, you don't see the relationships and the friendships in the community. You don't see the bonding with family. You don't see the showing up every single day for my life in a way that is like, get up at 6:00 AM do the thing that I say I'm going to do. Show up every single day, move towards the goal. And in moving towards the goals, purpose starts to shape itself, right? People are like, oh, I wish I could have purpose. Purpose is fulfillment to me, like, what does success mean? And for me, success is did you do the thing that you said you were going to do today? Are you being accountable? Right. This is gonna be hard for people to hear, but this is just the fucking truth. People are like, I'm not motivated, so I can't do it. Yeah, no shit. It's not about motivation. You motivation ebbs and flows like the sun rises and sets. I'll tell you right now, straight up, full transparency, I am not motivated to record this episode of the show, Period. I'm not.
Accountability and discipline supersede motivation because here's what happens. Motivation can drive you, it's the coal and the engine that gets it going, but you have to continue to use the bellows that is such a weird reference, but basically what that means is you have to keep stoking the fire because the second you quit, it's out. Motivation is the spark. Your willingness in your effort to keep showing up day in and day out and execute the fucking game plan, that is where life changes, that is accountability and that is discipline. Like, that's why we created Think Unbroken Academy so people can come and have accountability that they can have a community to be with and start building discipline, that's why we have Think Unbroken Conference this December. And if you haven't registered, go to unbrokencon.com because especially if you're VIP, you're gonna get put into accountability group because that matters, right? And being motivated by fear, that's easy, everyone's motivated by fear. If you are in front of a fucking rattlesnake, you're gonna move. Think about it, if you're in front of a rattlesnake, you're gonna move. But what do you do when the motivation is gone and it's an intrinsic choice and decision that you have to make to move towards the life that you want to have. What are you going to do? Because you have a decision to make here. Are you gonna show up for yourself or are you going to make an excuse? And look, excuses are valid. I say it all the time. I'll never take that away from anybody. You have all the right on planet Earth to use excuses. I will never take that away from you, but I can promise you, if you continue to make excuses, your life will not be different.
You know, I look at my life and when I was in my teens, I was terrible, terrible at school. Straight Fs. Right. Straight Fs. And I always said to myself, I have a learning disability, that's what teachers always told me, that's what people always said, I'm a bad writer. I don't know how to concentrate. I'm always interrupting and so, I played into that. And so, as I got older into my late teens and into my twenties, I would just always tell people, Yeah, I'm stupid. I would literally say that like I'm stupid, like I'm not a good learner. I don't understand anything and don't count on me to be the person when you need it, ‘cuz I was allowing that to be my truth. And then I realized, now, and especially looking back, I've written two books. I'm working on a third, right? I speak all the time. I'm constantly educating myself. I read more and consume more information to learn and educate than almost anyone that I know.
And so, the narrative about who it is that you are shifts when you start moving towards the life you want to have.
So, I looked at my life and I said, Okay, what do I really, really, really, really want? Like at the crux of it, at the baseline, I was like, I want fulfillment. I want community. I want success mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, sexually. I want everything that I want. All of it, all of it. And so, I took a pen and a piece of paper, and I wrote it all down top to bottom with massive detail. Massive detail. And in that, that gave me a roadmap and so on the days I'm not motivated like today, which I promise you I'm not, I'd much rather be doing anything else today, right? I ask myself, what's the mission? What is the goal? What is the accountability that I promised to myself? And am I gonna be disciplined to see my dreams come true? The answer is yes, because I know that if I don't do it, it's not going to get done. So, you show up and you do it anyway. Right. And we talk about this a lot in Think Unbroken people are like, I'm scared, like yeah, I get it. I'm scared too. Do it anyway. We're hosting this conference we've had, we got thousands of people registered already. I'm terrified. I've never done anything this big in this business before. We've got all these speakers, amazing powerhouse, world changing people who are coming in, who are counting on me to execute, they got the community who's counting on me to execute, to show up, to do what I say I'm going to do, right? The definition of success, that's accountability intrinsically one, because I said I'm gonna fucking do it, so I'm gonna do it. And two, because I know that there are people relying on me.
So, one of the things you may want to consider is how are you giving back to the world? How are you giving back to society? How are you showing up for other people? Like innately, we live in a disconnected society that tends to be very selfish. People don't know their neighbors, they don't volunteer, they don't show up to community events, they cancel all the time.
I was coaching somebody recently and they said something to me and I had to pause and I looked at them and I literally said, in this context, I go, oh, you're lonely because you decide to be. And what they had told me when I was coaching them, they were like, oh, I feel so lonely, it's like, I got invited this thing and I chose not to go, and I canceled last minute and my friends wanted to have dinner with me and I told 'em I'd rather just stay at home and I'm depressed. I'm like, yeah, no shit because you aren't showing up for your life, you're not showing up for your community, for your people. One of my favorite therapists, the person I've worked with the longest, who I've quoted thousands of times on this show and in my books and on stage, you know, he told me, you can be depressed and tend your garden. You can be depressed and go to dinner. You can be depressed and make love to your partner. It's okay because you're fucking human. But if you're not going to take action and you're just gonna make excuses, nothing's gonna be different. And again, you're allowed to have excuses. They're valid. They're valid. But if you want to be motivated in life and not do it through fear, it's not about motivation. It's just not, I can't tell you, you go listen to any episode of this podcast I've had with anyone who's done anything spectacular, not a single one of them were like, I was able to do this because I was motivated, like, it doesn't work that way. I can't do anything through motivation. You do it through discipline, you do it through accountability, and you do it through keeping your promises to yourself.
And as you do that purpose will show itself. And if you are in that place right now and you're really like, I just don't get it. I don't understand. Find two hours and force, you literally have to force yourself into thinking into the biggest and most grandiose idea of the reality that you believe you're capable of having in the future, not today, because people are like, Oh, I want to have this lifestyle. And I'm like, yeah, but you're not even fucking remotely ready for that lifestyle. You haven't done the work; you haven't shown up for yourself. You haven't spent the hundred dollars to even start the process. Right. You know, I was coaching somebody and when they had come into the program, they were so weary about the investment in themselves and I said, watch, I guarantee you, you'll quadruple this money because the energy that comes through building confidence and showing up for yourself starts to manifest in other ways, the ROI on you is incalculable.
And so, if you're in that place, get support, invest in yourself, show up, do the work, follow through. I'm giving you the game plan right now. Are you gonna do it or not? Because if you're not, I can't fucking help you, right? The tools will never work, nothing I will ever say will ever change your life and more so I can't want it for you. You gotta want it for yourself. So, the very thing that you need to do is go find two hours, take a pen, a piece of paper, and write down with massive detail and nuance every single solitary thing that you desire in all categories of your life that you can think of. And take that idea that you need motivation to create your life and throw it in the trash can, and start holding yourself accountable to being disciplined to follow the path towards those goals.
All right, my friends, I hope this was helpful for you. If you would like your question answered on the podcast, we definitely prefer the audio messages. Go to thinkunbrokenpodcast.com. Click “Ask Michael A Question” Submit your audio question, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer your question on a future episode of this show.
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And Until Next Time.
My friend, Be Unbroken.
I'll see you.
Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
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