Fear, Heartache and Tragedy Can Actually Be Big Motivators

Use these five strategies to channel the negativity you're feeling, into something positive.

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By Kelly Bolton


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many of us have difficulty, sometimes, finding the motivation to keep going. Running our business may be getting too tough, or we may be confronting other, more personal issues that are discouraging us. For whatever reason, we find ourselves lacking the motivation to continue. We may even be thinking about giving up.

Related: How Understanding Behavioral Psychology Can Help Your Business Blossom

Or we may be thinking about a change, prompted by a drastic life event like a loved one's sudden death, a family member's illness, the loss of a child: Tragic events like these affect our views on how our lives are going. And the resulting fear and heartache we feel may cause us to actually make that change -- for the better or the worse.

The point is to use the fear and heartache to our advantage: Both when my husband was ill with a brain tumor and I suffered a miscarriage with our first child, I was depressed a while, yet found the strength to rechannel that negavity into something positive: I started my own business.

The main thing I learned from my struggle was that it all has to do with my mind. The more you think about how bad life is and how upsetting the situation is, the more depressed you will become. Eventually, I realized that my way of thinking had to change. I had to trick myself into thinking I was OK and that the bad things wouldn't define me. I had to learn that mental constructs are not physical things, but instead a thought process that can be changed. There are a few techniques that helped me overcome my depression and find success, and they may help you, as well.

1. Change your way of thinking.

Forget all the ''what if" questions you might have, because those things might never happen. Instead, try to live in the present and be mindful. Try sitting in a chair, and picture yourself -- your feelings, your actions, and your mental state. Then, sit in another chair and picture yourself as a loved one. Look at yourself through that person's or persons' eyes.

Think about how they're feeling, how they're seeing you. This trick will help you see that other people are not judging you; they are just worried about you and want to try to help you in any way they can.

2. Meditate.

Taking the time to clear your mind and relax is a terrific way to relieve stress and anxiety. There are many different techniques, here, so find one that works for you. One that really helped me involved creating a "happy place" in my mind where I could take refuge.

Relaxing music also works well. Meditation helps you sleep better, which is another means for lowering your stress level.

Related: 3 Psychology Books About the Power of Our Mindset

3. Employ 'power' phrases.

There is a reason people use power phrases, in meditation, and for self-improvement. Words have power. Repeating to yourself select words and phrases can help you focus and direct yourself toward more positive thoughts. So, create your own personal power phrases to inspire and encourage yourself. They will help you regain and boost your confidence.

4. Create a 'gratitude' inventory.

Make a list of everything you're grateful for and what you've accomplished so far. This will help you see the more positive side of life. Making my own list allowed me to see all the great people around me and everything I'd managed to accomplish; and that revelation led me to begin thinking about my future. It can do the same for you.

5. Make a plan for the future.

Think about what you want for the future -- what you want to do, where you want to be. But don't just think it, visualize it. Then, set up a calendar and mark specific goals on the path that you elect to reach that future. Using a calendar helped me to stay on track, get things done and ensure I met my goals when I was supposed to.

All these techniques can help you, but the main thing to remember is that it's all in your way of thinking. To overcome depression or heartache and find success, you have to change your way of thinking. Don't let negative thoughts win. Use fear, heartache and tragedy as the biggest motivators for your success.

Related: 4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Defeat Depression

Kelly Bolton

Founder of Aggressive Growth Marketing

Kelly Bolton is the founder and director of Aggressive Growth Marketing, which uses specialized growth-marketing methods to help businesses stand out from the crowd and stay a cut above the competition. Known for high levels of ambition, drive and client service, Bolton has built AGM from the ground up and taken it from a part-time freelancing job to the company that it is today.

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