Motivation – Podcast

Young businesswoman looking away
By LifeStance Health on October 12, 2020

Dwight Thompson (00:00):
Hi, welcome to Reset Your Mindset by LifeStance Health, myself, Dwight Thompson, and my cohost Nicholette Leanza will bring you conversations with leading LifeStance health professionals who will help guide you on your journey to positive mental health and wellbeing. At LifeStance, we believe in the three pillars of mental health, mental flexibility, mindfulness, and resilience. [inaudible 00:00:27] Welcome back everyone. Thank you for joining us. Today, Nikki and I are bringing you a conversation centered around motivation. We are going to discuss some of the things that we do in our respective lives to stay motivated, share some tips on staying motivated from our experiences and hopefully inspire you as well to find motivation and maintain motivation. Nikki, welcome back.
Nicholette Leanza (00:58):
Yeah. Thanks Dwight. I’m excited to do this topic for sure.
Dwight Thompson (01:01):
Yeah, I think it will be… It’s one that I think so many people struggle with. I think it’s a topic of conversation where there’s not a lot to point to as far as what works to stay motivated and it’s also, it’s so subjective. Everyone has their own things that keep them motivated and that inspire them. Let’s dive right into it. Why don’t you tell me some of the things that you do to stay motivated?
Nicholette Leanza (01:27):
Oh my gosh. So, I do love music and I’m even going to dare to say I love musicals. So I don’t know if people necessarily think musicals are very uplifting, and motivational, but that’s for me. Even if I’m needing a break in the day or if I’m really maybe feeling a little down, I do, I’ll put on my Pandora on my channel with musicals and it just kind of helps lift up my spirits and kind of helps me push the reset button. And that’s sometimes enough for me just to get motivated. I’m also someone who likes to exercise. I will go for a run sometimes if I am feeling a little sluggish or whatever, I’ll go for a run or work out or do something like that, so that also is something that picks me up. What about you?
Dwight Thompson (02:10):
Yeah. I mean, one of those definitely with exercise, I mean, exercise helps. It’s weird because you kind of have to find the motivation to exercise, but then once you do, it seems like exercise kind of snowballs into providing some motivation for other things. And then also I find, you mentioned the word reset button. I think that is incredibly important for me personally, finding the things that helped me kind of reset myself. I can sort of feel when I’m getting a little bit off balance as someone who tends to be a little bit more extroverted. A lot of times that that reset comes with putting myself in social settings that I enjoy. Seeing some friends, seeing some people that just naturally uplift me, which kind of organically tends to keep me motivated.
Nicholette Leanza (02:57):
That’s a good [inaudible 00:02:58] be around people that uplift you, of course. That’s a great one.
Dwight Thompson (03:01):
Yeah. I think it’s so important to surround yourselves with people that do motivate you because I know that you had actually mentioned before we got on about kind of where motivation comes from. Why don’t you talk about that a little bit, the way you look at motivation, as I think you put it, as an intrinsic piece.
Nicholette Leanza (03:18):
Yeah. Yeah. We look at motivation from a psychology point of view of intrinsic or extrinsic. And extrinsic you’re going to be anything outside of yourself that might motivate you. So that’s going to be basically money, food, anything that you really see as a reward that’s outside of yourself. Intrinsic motivation is truly what’s from within you. It’s that energy that drive within you that really makes you get up and do the thing you’re wanting to do. Oftentimes what affects that intrinsic motivation of why people might not do or feel like they can get motivated, it’s what they tell themselves too. It’s this self-talk. Oftentimes people can be like, “I can’t do this. This is too overwhelming or I’m not good enough.” And that all affects that internal drive you have, so you do have to, you have to shift your self-talk to help you kick up that motivation for sure.
Dwight Thompson (04:08):
Right. That’s really interesting. I don’t know. I personally haven’t, I don’t think I’ve actually put the thought into whether separating it from intrinsic motivation, juxtaposed to the external, those external factors. So, as a clinician, when you are working with folks talk, I’m sure motivation is something that has to come up a lot in conversation, in what aspects can they come up?
Nicholette Leanza (04:36):
Oftentimes working with clients who are really struggling with significant symptoms of depression, part of the diagnostic criteria for depression is things that you used to find enjoyable you no longer find enjoyable. You’re having a hard time with motivation, and so when you’re working with someone who’s really struggling with depression, you’re also working with them, how to kind of kickstart that internal motivation again. And part of the ways you do that is like looking at their thoughts and what they’re telling themselves, because our thoughts do affect our reality and our perceptions and stuff. So you’re helping them with their thoughts and changing those. But also another thing we’re trying to help them do is something that we call behavioral activation, where instead of waiting till you feel better and not depressed to then do the thing you want to do, it’s take action first and hope that that will kickstart you to feeling better.
Nicholette Leanza (05:31):
So if you’re feeling pretty depressed and you’re feeling like, gosh, I can’t even get off this couch. Well, what we try to say is, do the opposite. Actually do the thing opposite that you’re wanting to do. So, force yourself to get off that couch, maybe get into a shower, sometimes a nice ice cold shower will do the thing that kind of kicks starts you, too, because the coldness kick starts like an adrenaline rush a bit, and that might get the energy enough to kind of go out, and even if it’s just something small that you’re trying to do, like grocery shop or even go for a walk or something, but doing the action itself, sometimes your mood will follow. So what we say is mood follows action. So do the thing and that should help you switch your mood. So that’s something key for motivation too.
Dwight Thompson (06:13):
Awesome. I really like that a lot. [inaudible 00:06:17]
Nicholette Leanza (06:20):
Let me switch this to you. I definitely see you as very athletic, and I’m guessing you probably played a lot of sports in your time, probably being on some sports teams. And I think when you’re on a sports team, motivation is so key. And if you happen to be down a few points or a touchdown or whatever it is, how do you think a team gets itself motivated to kind of keep themselves going?
Dwight Thompson (06:43):
Yeah, team sports are really, I’ve always said that there’s stuff that you can learn in sports that you can’t really learn outside, that are tangible and translate to life that you can’t really learn outside of sports. Sports have has a way of teaching you, I think some unique lessons about cooperation, about motivation and something that we’ve talked a lot about is resilience. And this is the perfect example of kind of learning what resilience looks like in yourself. I think when teams are looking at kind of staying motivated, one thing that I think everyone kind of starts with is understanding everyone sort of reacts differently to different types of messaging. So, sometimes you have the person that needs a little bit more of a sense of urgency from their coach, we’ll say, in a little bit more loud yelling, kind of lighting a fire under them.
Dwight Thompson (07:41):
And then you have those people that when they receive that kind of approach, they kind of back away, they kind of go into their shell. So it’s important to, I think, understand how different types of people get motivated. I was always someone that didn’t really need the… I didn’t really need you to yell or raise your voice. I just kind of needed someone to say it’s time to pick it up or, and sometimes that kind of in and of itself. And I think for me, when I look at sports teams, since we’re using that example, I think what always tends to stand out to me is the ability to sort of compartmentalize from the situation that they’re in, in the big picture where we might be down several points in this game. What really helps are the teams that can sort of look at, “Okay, one play at a time.”
Dwight Thompson (08:31):
So, more or less, just like in our day-to-day life a lot of the things that maybe we want to change or where might be motivated to fix, they’re not going to happen overnight. And I think when you start to give yourself sort of that… Give yourself that patience and that generosity to understand that one thing at a time, one day at a time, as long as you’re making progress and kind of moving forward, that helps you stay motivated and helps you from feeling defeated, because, again, big picture. There’s a lot of mini steps that come into affecting the things that you want to affect. And so for me, I’ve always kind of looked at it as one day at a time, one step at a time. And then if you kind of compile all those together, you wind up with this grand piece of progress.
Nicholette Leanza (09:12):
Oh my gosh. And that’s brilliant. And it’s funny that you should mention that that’s what you do it’s just one step at a time, one play at a time, you name it, when going back to depression, that’s often what we’re saying just break it down, just do one thing. If you feel like you don’t have the energy to do the things that you’re wanting to throughout the whole day, just pick one of those things and do that one thing and then reinforce yourself, at least I did that one thing. And then that can just start the motivation to kind of get going and keep spiraling forward and stuff like that. So it’s the same similar message that we say working with clients too. So I really like that message.
Dwight Thompson (09:50):
Sure. And I think looking at the year that we’re and everything that we’ve been faced with, I think it’s very easy for a lot of people to kind of lose some of that motivation. I think that’s very normal right now with the way that our world has been flipped upside down in so many ways due to the pandemic and everything that’s came from that and other things going on in the world. I think that generosity with yourself is kind of important right now because a lot of the things that maybe you thought you were going to get done, you were looking at like, “Oh, we’re stuck at home. We’re going to have all this time on our hands.” That motivation just because you, you might not have done everything that maybe you initially set out to. It doesn’t mean that there’s not a way to sort of regather yourself and find some motivation.
Nicholette Leanza (10:35):
One of the things I say to piggyback on is I often tell people, be a better friend to yourself, be kinder, gentler to yourself especially with this year, it’s been a rough year. So I think when we start being really critical of ourselves, we’re really just starting to shade our world view as very negative. That’s not going to help anything. how does that really serve us except to make us feel worse? So be a little kinder, gentler to yourself in the hopes that, that you also are kinder and gentler to other people as well. It’s much needed in our world today, that’s for sure.
Dwight Thompson (11:07):
Sure. And especially because a lot of this is new for a lot of people. So I think when people kind of approach something that’s a little bit new, it’s hard to navigate things that maybe you just, you’re not familiar with. Using the sport sports example before, it’s kind of easy to when you’re in a position of maybe being down in a game or what have you to be able to reference back, like we’ve been in this position before and we’ve came out of it. That’s always very powerful. However, there’s not always something tangible to point to. Sometimes you’re in situations that you’ve never been in before. And you kind of have to just understand that there’s going to be a process and you just kind of have to trust that process, I think, a little bit. And for me, that definitely helps stay motivated, whether it’s a new work challenge or whatever it may be, even if it’s something that might be new to me, I try to remind myself that I’ll navigate it, but just to be patient. And I think patients goes a long way in maintaining motivation.
Nicholette Leanza (12:06):
Oh gosh, I agree with you there for sure. With there’s being so much unknowns in the world, I think that’s often the formula to increase anyone’s anxiety, and so when we don’t know the unknowns, it just really affects our mental and emotional wellbeing. So, it is about learning the trust process. We’ve been jumping back to when, if you’re going through something in your life and you feel like you just can’t do it or it never turns out right for you. I think when people kind of do that all or nothing thinking that’s not helpful. Sometimes people are stronger than they think they are. So if they can go back and think, “Okay, I had been through something similar before I did. Okay with that.” Now I know that example doesn’t really line up with COVID since we haven’t really navigated these times now, but bringing it back to just in general, things that people might struggle with, sometimes people don’t realize they are stronger than they think they are. And when we can tap into that, that right there can be very motivational.
Dwight Thompson (13:03):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think, it’s really exciting, we’re coming up on doing this podcast for almost a year now, and it’s very easy. I mean, we’re still getting the hang of it. I think there’s so much to learn still, but I definitely see the progress from when we started to where we’re at now. I think motivation has gone into a lot of this. I think sometimes you just have to, it’s something that we both enjoy and doing stuff that you enjoy that obviously just naturally makes you have so much motivation and so much of a sense of urgency.
Nicholette Leanza (13:40):
And I think that’s it, people forget that when you do something you enjoy that immensely helps [crosstalk 00:13:46] motivate like you just said. Even when it comes to, if we’re going to bring it back to sports or even just exercise when people are like, “Oh, I don’t have the motivation to exercise, or I don’t want to go to the gym or this and that”, maybe do a form of movement that you do enjoy. If you prefer to dance and that is exercise, then if that brings you joy, then find like a rumba class or something like that. Or just take time to find a YouTube video and dance to that. I mean, it’s just [crosstalk 00:14:12] Yeah.
Dwight Thompson (14:14):
It’s funny, you mentioned that. I’m sure a lot of people know who Kevin Hart is. I actually, around this time, last year, I had spent some time with his personal trainer [crosstalk 00:14:24] Yeah. And he trains Kevin Hart. He trains some NBA players. And he had said to me that a lot of people that he trains have this idea of well, working out looks so complicated. I don’t even know where to begin. And his whole slogan is just move and that’s and it’s point blank period. Just move is his little motto. And it makes a lot of sense when he was kind of explaining it to me, it was like, “You don’t need to be doing these bootcamps, or these like cross training or CrossFit, whatever it is, just do something, whatever you enjoy, whether that is going for a walk, whether it is dancing.” There’s so much stuff that like, if you’re just moving and I think that kind of translates back to just everyday life is just do something. Find something that kind of fits the mold of what you’re looking for. And you don’t need to, over-complicate it.
Nicholette Leanza (15:19):
Yeah. And I think that’s what people do. I think people overthink it, over complicate it, and it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Things are often more simple than we think they are. So I think sometimes we just need to step back and try to look at things from that perspective sometimes. For sure.
Dwight Thompson (15:35):
Yeah. So, I, myself am not a parent, but I know you find yourself as a mom, what do you do raising your kids and helping them kind of learn their own sense of motivation. What can you say from that perspective?
Nicholette Leanza (15:52):
And thanks for that question, because as I’m sitting here pondering that question, there are some things that my kids are very motivated to do and other things, not so much. Motivated to do their chores, not so much. Motivated to maybe talk with their friends online, through their video games and stuff like that, very motivated, but I’m also with that being said, a lot of that’s just typical kid stuff too. I am very blessed that my kids are motivated. They do get up, they go to school, they’re both in high school, but they also take college classes and this is all stuff that I’ve done my best to help nurture in them. But they’ve really been the ones that pick up the ball to do that. So, I feel very blessed.
Nicholette Leanza (16:30):
I know sometimes parents do get frustrated with their kids when they’re feeling like, “Ah, they’re not motivated. They’re not this and that.” And I think when you give your child that message, that’s not helpful. Come at them from the point of view of like, “Hey, we’re working with this together. We’re a team with this. What can I do to be helpful with this too”, as opposed to like you’re this, you’re that, you’re lazy, that message is never helpful. So I think bringing it back to the team not just a team that we play on sports, but just being a team with your child or just with one another, goes immensely.
Dwight Thompson (17:04):
It really does. It really does. Yeah. And I think, yeah, I’m sure a lot of what they’ve learned through motivation has been picked up from you and kind of some of that stuff is even if you don’t think maybe you have directly impacted it, kids absorbed a lot of that and [crosstalk 00:17:20]
Nicholette Leanza (17:23):
It’s all about role modeling. And if you’re a parent or not, we role model more than we think to other people [crosstalk 00:17:28] That definitely infringes on motivation for sure.
Dwight Thompson (17:33):
Right. Cool. [inaudible 00:17:35] Nikki one thing that really is just going to stick with me because it’s something that candidly that I find myself struggling to make sure that I’m most frequently is, I like how you talked about pushing the reset button, and I know that’s something you speak a lot with your clients about. That was very poignant to me. I think that’s a great takeaway. And it’s also something to really be mindful of when it comes to maintaining motivation. As you kind of put it, like when things get a little wonky and you’re feeling a little bit offset, there’s a way to come back to center.
Nicholette Leanza (18:12):
Yeah. And that’s the key that coming back to center, push the reset, if something happens in life, it’s okay. What can you do the next day to kind of recenter and push that reset button? So you’re right.
Dwight Thompson (18:21):
I appreciate you sharing that.
Nicholette Leanza (18:23):
And Dwight, on my end for you is break it down, just take it one step at a time. That is so key because we so easily get overwhelmed and that overwhelmness works against us wanting to be motivated. So you sharing about just breaking it down one step at a time, one day at a time. So, that all builds the momentum. And I think that’s so key and it’s so poignant that you shared that for sure.
Dwight Thompson (18:46):
Well, thank you everyone for joining. We hope that there were some takeaways. As always we appreciate it. And we’ll talk to you soon and Reset Your Mindset.
Nicholette Leanza (18:54):
Thank you.