And it’s good to be back with the 1st episode of season 2 and today the subject is DRIVE. How to find it, how to maintain it and how to harness it.
I always start new episodes by recapping on the last but today I need to recap on the last two. Episode 15 was all about setting and achieving your goals and was placed at the end of season 1 as it’s an absolutely vital one –If you KNOW your goals then you can focus on what is IMPORTANT and PRIORITIZE those things over others.
I also released a NEW YEAR SPECIAL which details Jinny Ditzler’s incredible book Your Best Year Yet. If you missed that one then I urge you to go back and check it out. I finally completed my plan for my best year yet on the 4th January and have been using it to drive me towards my own goals for this year and I guarantee you if you take it seriously that it will do the same for you. I’m going to flag it as essential listening for you if you are serious about productivity.
Before I go to DRIVE I’d like to talk about a few changes that I have made this season as a result of what I have learned from the last.
You may have noticed over the course of season 1 that the episodes got a little longer than the 10 minutes I’d started with originally. I realised as the season went on that points which require the listener to think about and absorb new information, needed longer pauses placed after them before I moved on to the next topic and started lengthening the gaps in recording after I’d made a point to allow for better comprehension by the listener.
So as I move into season 2 you can expect shows to run at nearer the 10-20 minute mark as a result and a couple of them will get up to nearly 30. It really depends on the topic.
DENIS WAITLEY the American motivational speaker states that “Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.”
And the athlete ROGER BANNISTER who was the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes said something similar “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
Generally speaking, I seem to have what is referred to as DRIVE. I’m not a hundred percent sure when or where I got it, but I have it. At least I have it sometimes… I had the drive to get off my butt and prepare this podcast for example and to be truthful as I finalised my research and wrote up my notes to record this I could happily have sat down and watched some TV show or relaxed instead. But I didn’t. And here is why.
Last year I made a decision that this podcast was something worth doing and I created 15 episodes. No one paid me to do it. I just decided to start and here we are. I am recording this podcast because I want to do it. For most of us, however, wanting to do something is just not enough.
So what additional SPECIAL POWER did I muster to bring this episode to you right now? You really want to know? It’ll sound like I’m bullshitting so be warned… I er…
WROTE IT DOWN.
That’s it. That’s THE SPECIAL SAUCE I used to make me move my ass… and you may have caught this from me in an earlier episode but there’s NOTHING QUITE LIKE A DEADLINE to give you a kick up the backside and create a bit of DRIVE.
I simply decided that season 2 will launch on the 24th of February, and maybe it might slip a week if I get a lot of work, but I’ll aim for the 24th of February and I’ll research, write and record 12 episodes which will be ready to release by that date.
These deadlines are part of my Best Year Yet plan and one of my 10 larger goals for the year, so I took that goal and that release date and I worked back from it. I wrote that this episode, number 17, would be completed by the 12th of January, and I’ve done the same for the next 11 episodes recording every 4 days or so after that. This is no small task, but I’m doing it.
I record in batches before the release of a full season, and I have written what Jenny Ditzler refers to as process goals in my Google diary, to ensure that each and every episode, and it’s social networking marketing images etc will be ready by the time I launch.
But what else is involved in finding your drive? Putting aside the obvious one that gets us to work (earning money) let’s look at some others.
- How’s about DETERMINATION for one. That’s part of it. It might be determination to win, or just to beat someone else to the finish line, or maybe it’s just to achieve something for yourself, but with DETERMINATION, you can fuel your drive.
- Hand in hand with that is probably PERSISTENCE. Relentless persistence. There’s an awesome Napoleon Hill quote that goes “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” And that’s one I find hard to argue.
- PASSION too is a contributing factor. Let me throw an Oprah Winfrey quote at you for that one Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
- FOCUS is part of it too, as without that I’d have been sidetracked along the way. It’s one of the cornerstones of productivity and I’ll Pull out my old Bruce Lee quote book to push that one home. He says something like, the SUCCESSFUL WARRIOR IS THE AVERAGE MAN, WITH LASER LIKE FOCUS.
- I suppose another reason, off the top of my head, is commitment. I announced in the previous episode that this season will launch and I have to deliver, for want of a better way of putting it, to save face not only with those that listen but for myself.
- And then there’s DEDICATION. I had a whole host of reasons for doing this show, and I am dedicated to continuing it. As I said earlier, I want it to help people and that makes it all easier.
Frank Lloyd Wright was quoted as saying “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
So with all that said I also think I know why, on occasion, I LOSE DRIVE ON MY OWN PROJECTS and I think its FEAR that halts me. I’ve experienced this time and time again just after I shoot something, but before I edit. A sense a fear that if I try to pull it together into a finished piece, that I will somehow have messed it up, and that the people I have worked with on it will be disappointed or that it will just be no good. I cover this topic quite specifically on my episode about the inner critic, but here it is again, alive and well and killing my drive.
If you feel that you have lost your drive, believe me, you are not alone. We all find ourselves in a slump of sorts now and again, and some people really just never seem to get out of it. We have all sat NOT doing things WE KNOW WE SHOULD and gotten MORE AND MORE FRUSTRATED as we see others in our field advance and move forward while we seem to be stuck in neutral.
I would think you may agree with me that, as creatives, we often lose DRIVE not just for work created for others, but also for our own passion projects.
What I am focussing down on here is perhaps MOTIVATION. What motivates the drive within us? Well, there are two sides to that. You have:
- Intrinsic Motivational factors: Deeply personal values and beliefs. These are what I draw on in creating this podcast for example.
- And Extrinsic Motivational factors: and these would be tangible rewards, such as pay, or even consequences like punishments. The carrots and the sticks.
The Daniel Pink book entitled DRIVE, which I’ll link to in the show notes, presents many scientific studies which prove believe it or not that tangible extrinsic rewards actually undermine feelings of autonomy and actually result in decreased motivation.
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Quoting directly from the book, he says…
“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science and research show the way.”
He is specifically talking about BUSINESS in this quote – I’d like to point out though, that the creative industries can only consider themselves INDUSTRIES if those of us within them think, at least on some level, in terms of business. And show business is show BUSINESS after all. Whether you are listening as a film professional, other creative or simply as in interested individual getting into a business mindset can be no bad thing for your productivity.
“If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” said the Scottish-born American founder of Forbes magazine B. C. Forbes
I raise this as if we want to learn how to master our own creative drive then we should begin to understand what is behind it. We need to engage our high-level thinking again.
Daniel Pink says that DRIVE has three essential elements:
- Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives.
- Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
- Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
So let me expand on that as you must recognise these elements in picking up and dusting down your own drive. I’ll go on to some applicable solutions shortly.
So Autonomy – that’s just a fancy name for doing what you want to do. If you have autonomy you are more likely to have DRIVE. It’s also one of what they call the six principles of adult learning that adults are internally motivated and self-directed. When you make choices relevant to your own objectives and you have the freedom to assume responsibility for those choices, then you are more likely to find the drive you need. That’s Autonomy.
Mastery is the next one. Quite often you will find that drive comes easily in learning new skills, or in skills for which you are improving, or just want to get better at. It’s NOT about IN-BORN GENIUS or talent for these things. It’s just about getting better at what you do. If you are seeking mastery of something you will find the tenacity of effort required to get there. Seeking mastery of any skill or task, and the feeling that you are improving are strong contributing factors in achieving inner drive. All great masters go through a rigorous apprentice phase as they learn not only about the topic at hand but about themselves. It’s through that process that the focus to improve is better, and with that comes drive.
“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” ―W. Clement Stone /Unquote
Finally Daniel Pink talks about Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. Perhaps we are talking about destiny here or certainly a deep desire to achieve a worthwhile endeavour. I suppose that’s where I find the drive to do this podcast. A NEED to do what we are here to do.
“Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Said John F. Kennedy, unquote.
So now that we have an idea of the principles behind what creates a strong inner DRIVE a little more fully, let's look at a few solutions and hacks to get things moving. I’ve based this section on an excellent article from THE CUSP which I’ll link to in the show notes. Firstly:
- GOALS – episode 15 was all about goals, and in terms of drive they help because not knowing how to start is the most daunting part. Whatever you are doing, whether it’s writing an essay, or shooting a film or loading that dishwasher - Figure out one specific goal that’s achievable now. When you see the path, it’s easier to forge ahead. Be specific though and write it down, that is probably not necessary for the dishwasher goal, but I digress. I’ve said it several times before. Scientific studies have proven that if you write something down, even on a post-it note, it doesn’t have to be a novel - Then you are 80% more likely to do it.
- Next - And a few of the rules that I talk about in episode 9 are based on this, JUST START IT – The problem most of us have is that we’ve got no momentum. Make a commitment not to complete your task but to do just a few minutes of it. When you get started, you may just find that you complete the whole thing.
- Next, BUILD ON LITTLE WINS and FORGIVE TINY LOSSES - When you keep your stakes small, your achievements encourage you to keep going, and you can easily rebound from misfortunes. If you washed a load of dishes, for example, it’s easier to put them away while you’re there. Conversely, who cares if you didn’t edit your film today? Forgive yourself for not doing the whole thing, and sync up the footage instead so that you are more ready to edit tomorrow. You’re still working towards your goal. Make these larger goals a sum of their smaller parts.
- RECOGNISE EBB AND FLOW - You physically can’t maintain energy and focus all the time. You’re not a machine. Try attacking a task, in short, intense bursts interspersed with breaks, rather than trying to ‘push through’ or ‘stick at it’. And don’t overcompensate for a bad day by trying to work twice as hard the next. You’re setting yourself up to fail and establishing a vicious cycle.
- GET SUPPORT - “Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” —Sheryl Sandberg /Unquote - True drive comes from within – but it’s nicer with passengers. Spending time with family, friends, colleagues and mentors – meeting for coffee, or even a quick phone chat – can help you enrich and recharge. Gravitate to energetic people who make you want to be better. But beware social media. Don’t waste hours in a feedback loop of checking notifications and thinking up witty comments. You’re only making procrastination feel productive. I’m guilty of that one…
- TREAT OTHER PEOPLE AS INSPIRATION, NOT COMPETITION - Because everyone wears their game face on social media, you can get the false impression you’re lagging behind. Everyone struggles sometimes, with something. Remember with social networking too that you’re not seeing reality, you are seeing the edited highlights of someone’s life. The photo which they have chosen to release, not the one in which they look like a fat oaf. BTW I’m particularly good at deleting pics in which I look like a fat brainless oaf from my phone before any would ever be released publicly. And remember that other people’s success doesn’t make you a loser. You need to adopt an “If they can make it, so can I!” attitude. I was the year below Kevin McKidd at drama school and when he left he I think did a tour of The Silver Darlings and then was in TRAINSPOTTING. I bumped into someone that was in his year and I said, isn’t it amazing about Kevin? That guy was so down, so annoyed at Kevin’s success that I think even now, 25 years later he’s still annoyed. Kevin was always brilliant, and I was genuinely happy for him. Try and kill the negativity and adopt the “if they can do it, so can I” attitude.
In addition, the novelist Michael Korda points out that “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”
In an article published on LIVEITFORWARD.COM the creator Kent Julian talks about how to Get Your Drive Back if you’ve lost it somewhere along the way. I think this advice is invaluable.
He says DO NOT Try Harder, and I absolutely know where he is coming from on that. Figuring out how to get your drive back is not about exerting more energy or pushing harder, it’s about creating space to find your mojo. The first secret to how to get your drive back is to slow down and intentionally look inward.
He calls this approach leading your life from quiet and just like you have to stop driving to put gas in your car, LEADING YOUR LIFE FROM QUIET allows you to stop pushing to put fuel in your life. This is exactly why I say in episode 2 that getting back control of your life starts with saying NO often, and meaning it. That gives you the breathing space to start gaining control. Kent says that the key for him is to set up a regular time to lead your life from quiet and to follow through with it consistently. I suggest that you set aside an hour or so at a specific time every week to consider where you are at, and what you need to do to move forward.
His second tip is to Live It Forward. He says yes, stop pushing, but that doesn’t mean you should completely stop moving. You should live it forward by taking small, positive steps every day. Don’t look for one, big, magical step to take that will somehow solve everything. Mojo builds as a result of taking consistent, simple actions every day. As you take these positive steps forward, your drive will begin to build again.
The American-Italian racing driver Mario Andretti says that Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
I’ve largely been talking about drive to do bigger life-level tasks here today, but if you have trouble with getting the drive to do even small tasks then you may want to try one of the anti-procrastination hacks that I talk about in episode 9. That’s available right now on iPlayer or the Android app of your choice.
“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.” Said Norman Ralph Augustine unquote
Please remember that external motivators like money and praise can only go so far. You’ll need a strong inner drive to take you to the finish line. By utilising some of the techniques and understanding some of the motivating factors that I have discussed here today you will be able to form and move forward with drive and motivation.
CALL TO ACTION
One of my most powerful weapons in tackling daunting tasks is to split them into smaller chunks. Your call to action this week is to take something for which you have lost all drive and revisit it. See if, by splitting it down into smaller chunks you can get it started again.
If you don’t have a specific task in mind, then assess your day to day tasks and see if, by splitting them up into parts they can be tackled, and become a sum of their parts. These smaller parts will be easier to get into than the whole, daunting thing.
Utilise the “Sum of Its Parts Theory” and take from this episode the advice you need to rekindle your drive. That drive and motivation are within you.
And never forget the special sauce.
WRITE IT DOWN.
PUT IT IN YOUR DIARY.
Not every goal can be achieved in 5 minutes, or a day or an hour or a year. There’s no need to rush.
In the words of Pablo Picasso - “It took me a lifetime.”
The topic of Drive was requested in a kinda roundabout way by Anna @u_no_me_2 on Twitter but in the interests of true transparency, I was already planning it at the time. I know a lot of people struggle with it and I hope you’ve found the episode worthwhile.
Just before I go I’d like to recommend a show called The Filmmakers Podcast which I’ve been listening to for about 6 months now and it’s awesome. Supporting indie film has been something the filmmaker's podcast has taken great pride in and they’ve been promoting other people’s work and campaigns over the year and a half they have been going so why not give back and keep supporting indie film. Giles is also an awesome retweeter of my @filmproprodpod tweets and I owe him one.
Please follow them on Twitter @filmmakerspod or look to my own account @filmproprodpod or the show notes here for links.
So thanks again for giving me your time. Have a great week ahead and as always - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
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- You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.com
- Please follow the show on twitter @filmproprodpod or find me on facebook @filmproproductivity. My personal accounts on twitter and instagram are @fight_director
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Thanks: A Himitsu
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