Motivation: are you doing only what serves you?

The last four weeks I have been taking an online course regarding growing your personal craniosacral therapy business. On the first week the teachers asked us a very simple question: “why are you doing what you do?” However, I found myself asking myself this question throughout the week and realized the answer was not so simple.

It brought me to thinking about motivation, defined as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a certain way.” I started to wonder why am I motivated to do some of the things I am doing in my business and in my personal life. In addition I am currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. This book is a small yet profound read about letting go of who you think you are supposed to be and loving who you really are.  

As I am reading this book I am realizing being concerned about what others might think of me motivates some of what I do in my business and personal life. For example, I love to ride my mountain bike. I am motivated to ride my bike because it makes me feel good, I love being active in the mountains, and it is a huge stress relief. However there are times when I ride my bike even when I don’t really want to. I might be exhausted from my week or I am short on time but I still make myself go out and ride. Why? Honestly? That relates to more of being concerned to what others might think. If I don’t ride at least weekly, I worry that I will ride slower and hold my friends and husband back when I ride with them. What will they think when I slow them down? I worry that if I don’t get enough exercise I risk the potential of not being physically fit. What if I gain weight? Then what others might think?!

I really started to think about the why of doing what I do in all of my actions. How is riding my bike even when I am exhausted serving me?  Why am I writing a newsletter, why do I go to continuing education classes, why am I meditating? I realized that if something is not serving me or I cannot answer the why I am doing it; perhaps I should stop doing it. Of course, there are actions we have to do in our daily lives we don’t want to do, like grocery shop. However, hopefully you can still answer the why am I doing this: because I need to eat to fuel my body.  

In todays world people are worn out. We are constantly in our fight or flight system and rarely spend time in our rest and digest system. In my practice I find that people have forgotten how to reside in their rest and digest system. I’d like to argue if we only did what served us, stopped worrying about what others think, and were able to answer the why we do each action, then we would be happier, less fatigued, more mindful, and more relaxed.  We would find ourselves spending more time in our rest and digest system, which leads to an overall healthier body.

I am sure you are thinking… “I don’t do anything out of worrying what people think.” However, I challenge you this week to ask yourself “why am I doing this?” And you might be surprised. If you cannot answer the why or find a reason how it is serving you in a positive way, I challenge you to really look at that action. Perhaps you can change or tweak it to a way that it does serve you, or maybe stop doing it all together. When we are able to do what serves us, this is an in-direct action of self-care and self-love, helps us embrace who we really are, and reduces our flight or fight system.          


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