Where can I find resources to motivate myself to pursue a new goal now that my previous goal is unattainable?

So, I worked for years in order to build a profile around one goal: Getting into a business school. Everything from my current career to my extra-curricular activities were carefully chosen to build my profile. However, when I had initially planned on pursuing an MBA, I had the financial resources to pursue it. Then, I went bankrupt and now I don't have the resources. Also, I don't want to take on debt. Practically speaking, I will have to find a job instead of working for myself. But, the motivation is simply not there. I feel I need a new ambition, but I can't simply seem to think of what that could be. I have $40k in the bank which will last only a short while. Where do I go from here? How do I motivate myself to reinvent myself? How do I pickup the pieces?


Why does your original goal have to be unattainable?

Figure out another way to generate the money to go to your MBA school. That should draw you on.

Honestly, you pick up the pieces by picking up the pieces. Wallowing in self-pity is pointless. We all go through ups and downs. If you get beaten once and give up, you won't be a winner. The key is in the getting up again.

Every day there are goals which have plans for their attainment invalidated by events. The planners keep the goal...and come up with new plans to reach them. Perhaps a review of Think And Grow Rich will help you.

It has been a goal of mine to be a public figure. During the years I was 27 - 30, 4 full years, I bent my entire life towards becoming a council member in my home town. I kept a fairly easy management job so I could focus on evening activities supporting reaching my goal. I joined fraternal organizations and rose in them. I was appointed to and participated heavily in committees of council. I produced press in the local papers and got the city's non-profits and business groups talking, and more. I viewed this as no less than a "life purpose" thing.

The 2005 election came and went...and as if I had been standing at train platform, waiting for the thing to come along that was so important to me, only to find that it blew on past without stopping--I lost.

If you feel anything like the sense of loss and confusion I felt at that moment...after 4 years of deliberate, consistent effort, and rising high in the related fields...coming so close to what I desired, only to have it fly away...then I understand how you're feeling right now.

The goal didn't change, but the means of achieving it did.

It took at least three years for the sense of bitterness to fade.

I moved thousands of miles away to a different country.

I changed jobs and got an entirely new focus.

But the goal didn't change.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and ask yourself: What out of the MBA education is what I really want?

Is it the diploma?

Is it the skillset?

Is it the prestige?

Is it the key to unlocking some great job opportunities?

Is it something else?

I'll bet you can learn and apply whatever these things are some other way...or you can figure out how to get back on top and afford the program.

First thing to do is get your head straight. You know the old homily, and I am not usually one to repeat them, but it is apt for you:

The Man Who Thinks He Can

by Walter D. Wintle

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world we find
Success being with a fellow's will;
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are:
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

Answered 8 years ago

I'm going to narrow my feedback to a very specific thing you've said: "I will have to find a job instead of working for myself" - and at the risk of sounding sarcastic ask you if you'd only hire yourself if you had an MBA? My guess is no. Break down the connection that you see between an MBA (which are almost universally part of a corporate management track - not a requirement for entrepreneurship) and working for yourself.

If working for yourself is what you want to do - chase that down. If you feel that the "dream house" version of the business you wanted to build requires more experience / credentials than you have now - you don't need an MBA - find a proxy for your "dream house" business and pitch a tent on that same land. Find a way to start something right now that can grow into your dream business - even if it's a few degrees separated from the final goal. I talk to people every week who are facing similar challenges, and we are always able to identify a path forward with the resources at hand.

Shoot me a message and I'll elaborate.

Answered 8 years ago

I understand how disappointing it can be to have had a goal for a long time only to have it quashed.

I wonder, what were your reasons for setting this goal in the first place? How would an MBA support your career goals? What would pursing an MBA give you? Do you have a clear plan for how you would have used the MBA once you’d graduated?

An MBA from a good school undoubtedly has value in the world of business; but ask yourself, is it the degree that you’re after - or the education? The prestige of the degree on your CV is one thing, while the act of learning is another. Are there other ways to achieve these same benefits without the MBA?

You mention working for yourself - is starting your own business an important goal for you? If so, I think most people would agree that an MBA is not the way to go. Can you get more relevant experience elsewhere - working for another startup, for example? Or taking on different roles and projects that will build your skills in important areas such as marketing and sales?

If you believe that an MBA is the right path for you, then I would focus on how you can make this financially viable. If this really is your big dream and you are certain that it is the key to achieving your career goals, then this will give you the motivation to continue working hard to make this dream a reality - even if it means a delay as you work and save up the money to be able to finance your studies.

Setting meaningful goals is key to having the motivation to achieve them.

Get in touch if you’d like to work through what it is you’re really after in terms of career goals and to pull together a plan to help you achieve them!

Answered 8 years ago

First off, I am sorry that things didn't turn out as expected. Now that 7 years have passed since you initially posed the question, I can only hope that things are better for you.

However, if you are still lost as to what to do in life (or anyone else reading this answer is feeling unmotivated) there is a way to regain your motivation and find your direction in life. And the way to do this is via psychological momentum.

What is psychological momentum? Well you may recall times in your life when you didn't feel at all motivated to do something: like going to the gym for a workout. Yet once you have forced yourself off the sofa and got your gym bag packed, it becomes slightly easier to undertake the next step: like leaving the house and getting into your car.

This is psychological momentum: the process of moving along more easily in a certain direction once you have already started. In a similar way, a car if left unused for a while upon starting will initially struggle to get going. Yet once the car has warmed up, it will move along more smoothly.

In a similar fashion, once you have decided to move towards a certain goal, it can often be hard to get going to begin with. Yet once you have started taking small actions towards your goal, more often than not your resistance will decline. In fact, once the momentum gets going, it will be easier to just carry on taking action towards your goal instead of stopping.

So if you are stuck in a rut and not sure what to do, the first thing you ought to do is just pick something that you would like to do. On doing so, then undertake a small bit of action. Then take a break: perhaps even giving yourself a small reward for taking some action. 

Then do the same again with a bit more action. Basically keep on doing this and sure enough, the momentum (or motivation) will pick up and you will soon find yourself progressing forward towards your goals.

This is the way to overcome lack of motivation: whatever direction you wish to head towards. Yet if you would like some more guidance in achieving your goal, then feel free to get in touch for a 1-2-1 coaching session. In such a session, I will personally guide you along towards your goals as well as hold you accountable to its achievement.

So don't remain stuck in a rut: contact me today.

Answered a year ago

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