Quit Calling Yourself 'Lazy' or 'Unmotivated'

Jan 14, 2022

People are consistently impressed by my high output and performance...but I've certainly gone through periods of intense paralysis and inaction. In this episode I talk about the excuses we tell ourselves, and how to dig deeper to identify the real issue at hand.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 Hello, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, client attraction coach and author of the brand new book Client Attractor

To start off today's episode with a little bit of a humble brag, one of the things that I hear pretty consistently from people in my circle is how impressed they are with my high level of output in my business, my ability to create a ton of content, to write these social posts, write a book, put out a podcast episode every day, all these different things that I'm doing. People are really impressed that I'm doing all of them at once and don't seem to be burning out. Don't get me wrong, I have certainly dealt with burnout, and in fact, that's probably something I will discuss very soon on this show. 

But today, I want to talk about this high level of output that I have and really what enables me to do that. Because the truth is that I have not always been this high-performing, high-output individual who can sit down one morning and record a podcast episode, write a social post, and publish it all before 9:00 a.m. That's me now, but that has certainly not been me for the majority of my life and for the majority of my business. For a long time, I was prone to these really intense bouts of paralysis in my business, where I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn't make myself do it. For example, I would know that I needed to write a social post, and I would know exactly what I needed to include in that post, but I wouldn't actually write the post, because I, for some reason, just couldn't force myself to action. 

To give another example, I would perhaps have a really warm prospect that I had a good chance of bringing on as a client, and I knew that the next step in that process would be to reach out to them or follow up with them, and again, for some reason, I could not make myself do that. As a result, I began telling myself these really untrue and unhelpful things about myself. I would say that I wasn't taking action because “Oh, I'm lazy,” or, “Oh, I'm unmotivated,” or, “Oh, I don't have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. 

I would kind of use those excuses to hide behind, because I knew that if I hid behind those, in some way, that excuses the behavior. Now, of course, someone had to call me out on that, because I certainly wasn't seeing the patterns or the trends that were happening. 

I was on a call with my business coach at the time, the amazing Heather Wildsmith, and I was talking through this issue with her, this exact problem of knowing what I needed to do, but somehow not doing it. I started to talk about how I thought it was because I was lazy and because I was unmotivated, and Heather called me out on that. She looked me dead in the eye and listed off all of these things that I had done in my life and in my business up until that point. And then she asked me, she said, “Jacob, does that sound like a lazy or an unmotivated person to you?”

She continued to say that, oftentimes, when high-performing individuals are thinking of themselves as lazy or unmotivated, it's not actually because they're lazy or unmotivated. They’re kind of using it as a cop-out. They're using it to almost shirk away from the responsibility or from the purpose they have in life, because if they're lazy or unmotivated, well, at least that means they have an excuse. In working with Heather over the following few months, I started to identify several really big things that were happening that were keeping me from taking action, and these three things are issues that I think a lot of us deal with. 

What I've discovered in working with my own clients is that when it comes to inaction, it usually has to do with one of these three things. The first is burnout. It's that overwhelming tiredness and exhaustion from working so hard that you had pretty much driven yourself into the ground and cannot take another step. 

The second is accountability. It's that not having a structure to ensure that you will do what you say you're going to do. When you're in an office or a traditional job, that accountability structure is built in, because if you don't do the things you say you're going to do, if you don't do your job, you will get fired. That is your accountability structure. If you don't get fired, at the very least, your boss is going to pull you into his or her office and say, “Hey, what's going on? This isn't sustainable. This isn't going to work.” 

The third thing is clarity and structure. It's inaction that results from having a piece missing in the actual puzzle of the strategy or tactics themselves. In other words, this is vagueness. This is having a piece of the puzzle being vague enough that you don't really know what it looks like or what it should look like. For instance, in the example I mentioned earlier about having a really warm prospect but not actually reaching out to them to follow up or to book a call, the clarity and structure that could be lacking there could be that you don't know exactly what that follow-up message, that reach-out message, needs to be on a really concrete level, the question of, “Wow, what do I say here?" 

You'll see that none of these three things that it often comes back to have anything to do with laziness or motivation. If I'm being 100% honest with you, part of it is that I do not believe that if you are an entrepreneur, there is a remote chance of you being inherently unmotivated and lazy. That's not to say that your feelings of laziness or your lack of motivation isn't valid, or that it isn't real—because it's 100% real—but it's not an inherent characteristic in you as an entrepreneur. 

And sure, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have a goal of building their business so that they can be lazy, but they also know that they cannot be lazy if they want to achieve that, and they are, in fact, truly motivated to reach that level where they can work less and, essentially, be lazy. That's not to say that motivation does not have an ebb and flow, to ignore the fact that some days you'll be way more motivated than others, that on Monday, you'll be ready to hit the ground running with your business, and that, by some Fridays, you'll just want to curl up and watch Netflix. 

If you do feel stuck in this place where you are not taking the action that you know you should be taking, pay attention if you're telling yourself these stories of how you might be unmotivated or how you might just be a lazy person. And then once you've done that, start to dig into what could be the underlying cause of it. Is it burnout? Is it a lack of an accountability structure? Or is it just a lack of clarity of some part of the process? 

Over the following three episodes of the Client Attractor Show, I'm going to spend an entire episode focusing on each of these things: talking about my experience with burnout and how I began to move past it, talking about my experience with not having an accountability structure and what it took for me to create one, and then about what it has looked like for me when I have not had clarity or structure that has in some way prevented me from taking the action that I know I need to be taken. 

So thank you so much for joining me for today's episode on Client Attractor, and I am really excited to dig into these next three episodes together. These three concepts have been super important in my own journey, and I hope that they will be for you too. Again, I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, and remember that you can find my brand new book Client Attractor on Amazon, or you can get a free copy at clientattractorbook.com. Thank you so much, and I'll see you tomorrow.

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