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AP 0413: How Do You Stay Motivated When Life Gets Tough?

AP 0413: How Do You Stay Motivated When Life Gets Tough?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 413 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 413 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.

We have a great question today from Michael. But before we get to that, I do want thank today’s sponsor, which is, making it super easy to organize our business finances, which can be crazy. Especially once you start diversifying and doing affiliate marketing, and all that stuff. It just makes it incredibly difficult to manage. You should get software that helps you manage that for you and obviously makes it easy during tax season when you just have to click a few buttons to print a couple reports to give to your CPA or your tax guy, or even if you’re doing it yourself. Tax season is coming up upon us very soon. I mean, I know it’s August now, but April’s coming soon and of course the end of the year. But anyway, check it out, go to and enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section to get a 30-day free trial. Again, that’s, enter “AskPat” and join three million other small business owners including myself, who use FreshBooks to help them manage their finances.

All right, now here’s today’s question from Michael.

Michael: Hey Pat, I’m Michael Hoyer, founder of I was just wondering, what are your tactics for surviving the darkest night of the soul? I know that sounds super dramatic but all I’m wondering is, those moments when you were feeling down or discouraged, probably more so in the beginning, how did you press on and keep going? Even though it might have felt like you weren’t getting any traction. I just think it’d be awesome to hear from you because you’re always so positive that I think it’d be great for the listeners to kind of hear some of those moments and how you coped with them and pressed forward to build the company you have. So anyway, hope to hear from you, thanks for answering my question and take care. Huge fan. Cheers.

Pat: Hey Micheal, what’s up? Thank you so much for the questions today, I really appreciate it. It’s interesting that you had mentioned that I am always a positive person because it’s totally far from the truth. I am not always a positive person. There are a lot of moments of discouragement, some darker than others, but I always try to look for the positive in everything. I think just after my experience getting laid off in 2008, I’ve always learned that there was always something amazing on the other end. Whenever I get into a moment of discouragement, I always know that I’ll get through it and there’s something amazing on the other side. I don’t know what it is or how I’m going to get there right away all of the time, but I always know that there’s always something great and amazing to look forward to. That’s the first piece of advice I have for anybody out there is that life is a roller coaster. You go up, you go down, you go up, you go down, and if you’re in the down moment it just means you’re going to be up on the next side very soon. That’s the first thing I would say.

Sometimes when I get discouraged, maybe I’m working on my book or something and I just can’t get any words to come on the screen and I’m just having a tough time writing that next paragraph. Sometimes it just takes walking it off. That’s another strategy I use. This works for a lot of the less darker moments but when I’m just kind of frustrated and I’m just like, “ugh,” I walk it off. I go for a 15 minute walk, I just go on a run or something. I walk it off. I just take a break from whatever I’m doing. I go and do something I want to do, something I can enjoy, just get a glass of water, maybe get a snack or something like that, or even play with my kids if they’re up. Often times that really helps me because I can get back into it. I’m just in a much more positive mood.

You know, when you’re in a negative mood sometimes it just makes everything else seem negative right? But when you get back into positive light those negative and that darkness kind of goes away. Because when one thing goes bad during the day, maybe you start off the day in a bad way and it just seems as if everything else goes bad, right? That’s kind of what you want to walk away from, kind of not give yourself an opportunity just to try and find all these negative things that happen once something goes wrong. So, walk away from it then go back. You’re going to find that often times you’ll be much better than you were when you came away.

Another thing I like to do is I like to talk about what’s going on with others. This works really well for everything, especially when I’m really discouraged and down and there’s a lot of times in the past where that has happened where I’ve maybe spent a lot of money on something and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, or I sent an email out and it didn’t come across the way I wanted it to, or you know, just something completely bombed. Something that helps a lot is I talk about it with other people. I talk about it with other people who I know are going to be supportive, who I know know what I’m going to or what I was trying to accomplish. They’re going to be there to be that shoulder to cry on. No, I don’t literally cry, maybe I’ve done that a couple times on Skype but, I don’t get into crazy breakdowns, but it happens and it’s okay and when you talk to others who are there to support you, it just makes things so much better because they can talk you through it, encourage you along the way.

A lot of you know I have a great relationship Chris Ducker. He and I talk on Skype at least once or twice a week. Even though he’s all the way over in the Philippines, when I’m about to go to bed late at night sometimes he’s just waking up in the Philippines and it just makes sense if I’m having a bad day, it just makes it much better for me before I go to bed. He can find that positive in what’s going on and also give me some great advice moving forward into the next day as well. And vice versa, you know. He calls me in situations where he needs help as well.

I also go to my mastermind group members. Those are people who I trust who know what I’m trying to accomplish and who have been with me for awhile. I’m in three different mastermind groups and anybody in each of those groups would be great people to talk to as well and that helped me through things too.

The other thing that I do is think about my why. Now this is a big one because I have a lot of whys behind the reasons why I do what I do. The first one is my kids and I’m very lucky to be working from home and I get to see my kids every day. I get to take my son to school with my wife. I get to bring him back from school. That is a great reminder of why I do what I do because that’s something I want to keep doing. So even though I might be down, I might be struggling, there’s something that’s not working, I will continue to push forward because I want to continue this lifestyle that I’ve been able to create for myself, to be able to spend more time with my family and see them through as they grow. That’s one thing.

I also have an amazing audience. You guys. Every listener out there, everybody who’s just been on the blog and especially those of you who have taken the time to send me thank you notes, whether through email or those of you who are amazing and have spent the time to hand write thank you messages. I’ve pinned up hundreds of them in a wall behind me here in my office and every time I get discouraged, I literally get up, I go to that wall and I just read a few of them and it just snaps me right back into place. Usually it’s something in my own head that’s making me disillusioned or making me discouraged, you know. It’s something that I feel, like I don’t believe in myself for awhile or I feel like I have nothing to offer.

I get up, I go to the back of the room, I look at these thank you notes and I say, “Wow, I have to keep going because there are people out there who could benefit from this and if I don’t do this, if I don’t continue moving forward, I am letting them down.” I’m not just letting myself down, but I’m letting other people down. I think about a lot of the people who have sent me notes and emails and messages whose lives have changed as a result of listening to the podcasts, of taking action based off of information on the blog or somebody who has seen me onstage, who has taken action. If I didn’t do those things, those people wouldn’t have been affected in that way, so I have to keep going. Even just one email will make a big difference.

I collect my thank you emails so I have a folder. Jessica, my assistant, knows that whenever I get an email where somebody thanks me for something I’ve done for them, we put that in the folder. It’s not because I want to collect a whole bunch of testimonials that I’m eventually going to put on the website. That’s something that I could do and I have yet to do that, but I go in there a lot. Every time I get discouraged, I go in there and I read one of them and it just puts a smile back on my face. Again, in the same manner as these thank you notes behind me. It just keeps me going.

The final thing I want to mention, something that keeps me moving forward, including even in times of discouragement and dark days, is I think about the small wins and I try to get a small win. A lot of times we’re discouraged because we’re trying to do this big thing, whatever that big audacious goal is, and it just seems so far away. There are up and down times when you’re working it toward that too of course and a lot of times the down times come when you feel like you’re not making any progress. It just seems so far away to that end goal. What you do is you break down that big goal into a lot of smaller ones and then you find out what that next task is. If you’re in a dark moment, what is that next task that you have to complete? Focus on just finishing that and how amazing it’ll feel after it’s done. Appreciate the small wins.

That is kind of a mind hack I use all the time with a lot of big projects that I do. Even batch recording these AskPat episodes every Sunday, for example. I am so thrilled when I’m done with five episodes on Sunday night because then I know that even if everything else were to break, at least I have these five AskPat episodes continuing to bring content out to you and it just puts me in a much better space even if I’m down. Not that I’m down right now, but again, it’s just an example of appreciating the small wins along the way. You should absolutely be thankful for the small wins that you do and create for yourself and that’s a strategy I always use. Something I feel like a lot of us can do more is reward ourself in the little small increments that we take along the way toward that big goal. You’ll find over time those small increments, those small little wins, add up to that one big one at the end and that’s kind of what I’m working toward right now. That’s what keeps me moving forward too.

I want to thank you, Michael, for this question. I think it’s a little different than something we usually get here on AskPat and less tactical I guess you could say, but obviously the mind is very important when it comes to the work that you do and if you’re not in the right mindset you’re not going to do any work. That’s one of the reasons I make sure my wife is happy because if she’s not happy, I can’t think of anything else but trying to make her happy and then I can’t do any work. I do whatever I can to make my wife happy because a happy wife is a happy life, right? Just a funny little, but true thing, I just want to mention there.

Anyway Michael, thank you so much for the question today, I really appreciate it. I hope that helps you. I’m not sure if you were in a moment of discouragement, but hopefully this will help encourage you to keep pushing forward and I wish you all the best. Of course we’re going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. I also want to thank everybody else out there who has asked questions for this show as well because this show wouldn’t exist without you, without questions there would be no asking, it would just be Pat. We already have the Smart Passive Income podcast, which is essentially Pat and other people talking too.

Anyway, thank you guys so much. If you have a question to ask, head on over to You could possibly get featured and get a t-shirt, free of charge there too. Michael, you’ll get an email from my assistant in the next couple of weeks to collect your information to get that t-shirt over to you. If you wanted to send a picture over Twitter or something that’d be awesome so we could check you out in your gear and your swag.

I also want to thank today’s sponsor, For those of you who have coaching clients or students or maybe companies that you work for and you invoice in your business, FreshBooks makes it super easy for you to invoice in a very professional way, so you can get paid sooner and it just manages all those things for you. Again, I can’t stress how important managing your finances is, especially up front so that when you start to make even more money down the road, diversify your portfolio, your passive income portfolio, again it just makes it so easy for you down the road. They have an award winning mobile app too, to help you manage your finances on the go as well. So go ahead and check it out for 30 days for free by going to, and by entering “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section.

Thank you so much for listening in today, I appreciate it and if you wanted to do me a quick favor, head on over to iTunes and leave a quick review for AskPat. I really appreciate it. It helps with the rankings, it helps encouraging me as well, and I appreciate that and as always, I’d like to end with a quote. Today’s quote is from Les Brown. He said, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Perfect quote to end this particular episode.

Cheers. Thank you so much and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks.

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