How to Find Motivation in Difficult Times

When you’re a full-time digital marketer, especially a self-employed affiliate with your own business, obstacles from crazy customer trends to Google updates to aggressive competition all stand between you and paying the rent.

Being independent is great but it means there’s no-one to direct and motivate you when you’re in a tight spot. At some point in your career, you’re going to find yourself in a desert of trying, failing and getting discouraged – and you’ll have to find enough energy and determination to cross it. Every great marketing success story includes low points where the marketer temporarily lost faith in him or herself, their product and sometimes even their potential to make a living in the digital market.

Maybe none of your products have sold this month, or your main website ranking has dropped dramatically because of some Google algorithm change. What distinguishes the best affiliates and most successful marketers is that they never quit. Even in hard times, they push through and continue until they cross the low side of the learning curve, until they get beyond the threshold of understanding and finally find the winning formula. Maybe you don’t feel like that’s you right now. Don’t worry: you can do something about it. I will give here a few ideas to help you find motivation to get through any hard time.

Take it one decision at a time

When we’re in a crisis, the first tendency is to try to do too many things at once. The future seems dire and everything is happening too fast. We feel like we have to do something big and drastic to save our careers. This instinct can cause a form of paralysis. It’s like when the brain receives too many impulses at the same time, and it usually reacts by shutting down. The solution for this is to choose the most relevant decision that you need to make now and focus just on it. Once you’ve come to some resolution with this one, you can move on to the next decision. You might be wondering, when it’s a time when you should worry the most about the future, why am I telling you to focus on the present? Why stay in the short term when your long-term prospects are at risk?

The truth is, we’re in a hard time, we are already too much occupied with ourselves in the present. It’s impossible to make reasonable decisions about the future in this situation. So use this preoccupation in a beneficial way. Focusing on the present and making small decisions will help bring back your sense of order and control. This will lead to more decisions, and eventually you’ll see a full path of action in front of you. Even small decision that takes you forward can break your stagnation. It helps you reclaim your strength and determination.

Get past procrastination with NLP

When you feel like you can’t get yourself moving, NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) offers some great techniques to jump-start your motivation.

NLP is a therapeutic system based on a profound understanding of human psychology. You can also use NLP to improve your copy. NLP researchers have found that subconscious core beliefs and invisible habits play a large part in why we get discouraged and reactive when specific events happen. They have developed very clever techniques to work with them. Using the way the brain represents and processes information, we can learn how to influence our subconscious mind to our own benefit.

One great technique is called the “procrastination buster.” Developed by the hypnotist David Snyder, this simple technique has seven steps.

  1. Think about something you are unable to bring yourself to do
  2. Say “I must do it” and repeat it, letting the negative feeling associated with it grow and grow
  3. Breathe out all these negativities
  4. Say to yourself, “I should do it” and repeat until the negativity grows
  5. Breathe this negativity out
  6. Find in yourself the voice that says, “I want to do it”
  7. Do that thing

Another piece of advice from NLP is to change your body. When we are stressed or depressed, our body adopts a specific body language. But it’s a two-way street: our emotions determine our body language and our body language determines our emotions. Slouching, frowning and staring at the floor will actually keep you in your low emotional state. Experiments show that it is enough to change your body language to alter your states. Milton Erikson, the founder of modern therapeutic hypnosis, used to ask his depressed patients in the mental health institute he worked in to count how many bird’s nests are located around the building.

Simply the action of looking up to count the nests was enough to change the patients’ moods. Just by adopting a more open body language when you feel unmotivated can be helpful. You can also watch a video of an inspiring person, trying to imitate their body language as you watch the video. It will change your mood. Finally, try bringing more green into your life. Research shows that the color green has the psychological effect of raising motivation. Seeing a lot of green can enhance your mood, self-esteem and enjoyment of whatever you’re doing. Try putting a lot of green stuff near your working desk. Wear green clothing, install a green desktop image, etc.

Go for a run

Physical activity, especially jogging and especially jogging out in nature, can improve your mental state and revive your energy and enthusiasm. Psychology Today explains it:

“One common symptom of depression is decreased physical activity. Exercising, by definition, ramps up activity, so it resolves a major aspect of depression. Further, there’s evidence that it can boost healthy brain activity. A leading model of depression suggests that brain chemicals that affect mood—serotonin, endorphins and the like—are out of balance. Exercise could help restore balance.”

Physical activity can help even people who are clinically depressed. It will definitely give you the lift you need when you’re feeling a little low.

Remember your vision

Life coaches and athletic coaches alike insist that a great part of your motivation has to do with remembering your vision. Your vision is those overarching goals, aspirations and dreams that motivate you to move forward. Remembering your great vision and imagining it in as much color and vividness as possible can help you to get out of a rut. Sports motivation is mainly based on fear, incentive or purpose. Out of these three main motivations, higher purpose is often the most reliable in hard times. Big dreams and big goals that inspired you in this direction to begin with, can truly help you find motivation when the path seems hard.

There’s a sports coaching aphorism that goes something like this: If your athlete can be a school champion, make him aspire to be a state champion. If he can be a state champion, make him aspire to be a national champion. If he can be a state champion, make him aspire to the Olympics. One great coaching recommendation is to imagine how a typical day will look like in your ideal future after you become successful. Try to imagine it as vividly as you can, until you really want it, you feel it’s yours already and you’re willing to stand up and go for it.

Get Inspired

My last tip is technique so easy there’s no excuse for not trying: inspiring media. Listen to your favorite upbeat song, watch a motivational video or an inspiring move that makes you believe in the possibility of success against all odds. Whether it’s Rocky, Katy Perry or The Princess Bride, you know what inspires you. Just remember to use it when you are down.


Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Keeping your enthusiasm is extremely important in digital marketing. It’s tough work and it takes so much mental persistence, courage and creativity. No two people are the same, and so no technique will work equally well for everyone.

In order to find motivation, try the techniques out and find the one that works for you. This might teach you something about yourself that will allow you to cross the desert of marketing experiments and optimization. Sooner or later, you’ll get it right and live the life you want.



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