One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how do I stop losing motivation? We’ve talked before about why we lose motivation, but how do you stop that cycle from happening so that you can actually stick to hard goals when they start getting really hard? In order to understand that you need to understand the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how to break the Dunning Kruger cycle. So I’m going to walk you through that and then walk you through how to actually do it.
I’m Tara Wagner, breakthrough coach and lifelong entrepreneur. I help other entrepreneurs to master the mindset and the skills to crush their goals, not their soul. If that sounds like your jam, be sure to hit the like button and check out the other videos on my channel after this one. There’s some links in the description to get you started. Be sure to also check out the free 5 Day, Get Out Of Your Own Way Challenge to help you overcome the obstacles and make more progress in your goals.
Okay. So how do you keep motivation high so that you can stick through hard goals, right? It’s so common that we get into goals. We’re three steps in or three weeks in, or maybe 50% of the way. And we just lose motivation. We get discouraged, we get overwhelmed, we get drained, we get frustrated. We’re not seeing the progress. And so we end up quitting. So this is actually called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. And here’s what the thing looks like you’ve got this little scale thingy, right? Whatever it’s called, this is your confidence. And this is your competence. When we start something new, we’re excited because it’s new. So we’re up here with really high confidence, really high excitement, really high motivation. We think I can do this. I’m freaking amazing. I’m ready. I’m committed this time. And nothing’s going to stop me. They actually call this the Mount of Stupidity, because we are so excited that we’re blind to the reality of what it’s actually going to take.
So we start off up here. And then what happens is once we start getting experience with something, the honeymoon wears off, we realize how much we don’t know how much we have to learn how much work something’s going to take. We dip into what is called the Valley of Despair. The Valley of Despair is something we all know so well, it’s when we start to get discouraged, we start to get frustrated. We start to think I can’t do this. This is too hard. This is too much for me. What am I thinking? What am I trying to do? Like, this is impossible. This just isn’t right to me, this isn’t my zone of genius. This isn’t my skillset. And what happens? We end up quitting. So most people will go from the Mount of Stupidity, to the Valley of Despair. And what they will do is quit and come back up to find something that excites them again, they’ll go and they will search for something that motivates them. And they’ll use that emotion of motivation or excitement to justify the move. I wasn’t having fun down here. If it was, if it was meant to be, it wouldn’t be that hard. Right? And so we use this, well, this is exciting. This new idea, this is where I’m really at. This is what I’m really excited about. And so what we do is we cycle back and forth and back and forth between this until something happens, until we either burn ourselves out and realize or come to the belief that we just can’t do it. We’re not cut out for it. We just give up and we go back to some mediocre life, a mediocre goal. We stop trying, right? And this means we basically stay down here. We stay in this Valley of Despair. There’s no point nothing’s going to work out. I can’t make it any easier. I might as well, not even try so confidence high, but competence, experience, real life knowledge low means we’re going to experience that Valley of Despair. And we’re going to be subject to that cycle until we break it. The alternative is when we persevere and we go up, what’s called the Slope of Enlightenment. This is the long drudgery climb of figuring out. If you notice, figuring out the competence, getting yourself highly competent, experienced, trained, skilled. This is an uphill climb. It’s work. It’s effort. It’s time. It’s energy. It’s paying our dues, right? Most people will not get into this hard work. But as you do, once you start to get into that hard work, you end up here, they call this the Plateau of Sustainability. This is, I know what I’m doing. And I now have the proof and the experience to know that I’m good at it.
So your competence is high and your confidence is high. But this only comes through time, experience, practice, learning, growth, skill development, personal development. If you’re over here, I want you to remember, you are just motivated, just excited enough and just dumb enough to not realize what’s ahead of you. But the more you start to recognize this, this is natural and normal, and this is necessary. The faster you’re going to get to this place where you can really start to feel confident, competent, and be getting the results that you’re wanting. So how do we get out of the Valley of Despair? How do we break that cycle? But I want you to remember is that that Valley of Despair is actually a crossroads. You have two options. Option one is to quit. Option two is to persevere. Neither option is easier than the other one. That’s what most people don’t recognize.
They think that quitting and starting something new will mean something easy. It’s not, you’re dragging out the hardness even longer. The perseverance it’s going to be hard, but not impossible. It may take you years, maybe even a lifetime to really get to the level of success that you hold yourself accountable to, right? The standard that you’ve set for yourself, but either way is going to be hard. It’s hard to start and quit and start quitting, starting quit. It’s hard to not do anything at all with our lives. That’s miserably hard and it’s hard to grow. It’s hard to develop. It’s hard to get better. It’s hard to get to a place like this. So when you’re at that crossroads, when you can remember either one is going to be hard, which one do I actually want to choose? Which one’s going to bring me closer to the outcome.
Now, here’s what I want you to remember. You need to decide, right? And the, the root definition of decide means to cut off meaning you’re going to cut off one of these crossroads. So you’re either going to cut off the perseverance and keep yourself in that cycle. Cutting it off. It’s dead. It’s gone just like you’ve kind of branch off a tree, or you’re going to cut off the option to quit. As long as quitting remains an option. The Valley of Despair, that losing motivation, is going to sneak back in. But the moment you say quitting is not an option is the moment you start climbing that slope.
Now, I want you to remember what I always remind people, your emotions come from your needs. So negative emotions, right? An emotion of lack of motivation or discouragement or frustration that’s coming from a need. Generally, it’s a need for progress. It’s a need for, you know, being able to see the purpose of something, being able to see that what you’re doing actually has an impact and we meet our needs. And two different ways. We meet them through strategies, but we also meet them through focus. Your ability to climb that slope is going to be determined on what you’re focusing on. Are you focusing on the option to quit? Are you focusing on the idea that it should be easy or fun or that you should feel motivated all the time? Are you focusing on the fact that you’re not getting the results that you want yet? Where’s your focus going? Because wherever your focus is going is what’s going to determine whether or not you perceive your needs are being met. But when you start focusing on the fact that my learning and growing and developing is going to meet my needs, then you actually start focusing on the slope, focusing on the things that bring you up the slope and focusing on something that’s going to create motivation, create results. When you make the decision to cut off one of those paths, you are then forcing yourself to focus on the other one. But even if you are focusing on the Slope of Enlightenment, if you’re focusing on the negative, if you’re focusing on the losses, if you’re focusing on the challenge, how hard it is, what’s not working. You’re not going to feel the excitement come back to you. Not going to feel the motivation. You’re going to be sliding down that slope versus climbing up it. But the more you focus on the progress, the incremental baby steps, the small wins, the more excitement you’re going to cultivate.
It’s like what we talked about with the Outcome versus Process Goals. A few weeks ago, you want to focus on the process and you want to focus on the “why” the outcome, the ultimate vision, when you’ve got your mind focused on the process and where you’re going, that’s the direction you’re going to go.
Just like we’ve talked about with that quote, from the art of racing in the rain, right? The race car drivers spinning out of control. If they’re looking at the wall or your Valley of Despair, that’s where they’re going to slide down to. And if they’re looking at the road ahead, that’s where they can course correct. And get themselves back on track. You want to be looking at the process, the progress and your ultimate “why” your vision, what you’re moving towards so that you can remember why you’re climbing that slope.
So this is why in the Inner Circle, we talk so much about training our focus, cultivating our emotions, setting up systems for success. Because the more you train these things, the more you create them as habits. And the more you break those old cycles of start and stop, of excitement and discouragement. of I can do this and I’m a complete and utter failure. All of this comes down to our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions, our needs, our strategies, our habits, our environment, setting these things up, creating them in a way that’s going to create success and keep our focus forward is what will actually break the cycle for you. So when you’re working on a hard goal and you’re losing motivation, and you start to notice yourself going all Negative Nancy on it, I want you to redirect your focus. I want you to do whatever you can do to distract yourself from the negative thoughts, from the emotions, from the habits, from the things that are going to keep you in that Valley of Despair or lead you down that path of quitting. And I want you to start cultivating the things that are going to train your focus, redirect it, to go in the place that you want it to go.
And if you need help with this, you can jump into the Inner Circle or you can jump into the free 5 Day Get Out Of Your Own Way Challenge and get a little bit of a taste of what I teach. If you found this video interesting or helpful or enlightening, give this video a thumbs up that helps me out as well, drop a comment below and let me know your biggest takeaway and how you’re going to apply it in your life. What you can actually do with this aha moment. And if you’re brand new here, be sure to check out my channel and the other videos I have and consider subscribing. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to crush their goals, not their soul. Fist bump in the comments if you made it to the end of this one, thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you in the next one.