A powerful question that will (actually) motivate you

Self-Work is a newsletter by Marcella Chamorro that takes you from stuck to thriving in 5 minutes or less, with strategies to help you show up feeling your best — and deliver your best work, too.

Coming to you from my oversized couch this week. 🛋️

The world is feeling extra heavy, and my heart goes out to all those hurting. If you're able, please consider contributing to my friend Eli's GoFundMe to support Israeli soldiers.

It's in moments like this that I center on the "why" behind what I do: helping people do their self-work so we can all enjoy a world with more peace and well-being, both internally and externally.

So, shifting gears, today I'm bringing you a strategy to help jumpstart your progress on the things that truly matter to you.

Let’s answer this once and for all:

How can I motivate myself to stop dragging my feet on something important?

Today, you'll learn:

  • An overlooked but powerful strategy for increasing your motivation
  • Why you should use this strategy in all areas of your life
  • How this strategy plays out for my clients
  • A step-by-step guide to using this exercise to maximize your work AND well-being

A question that changes everything

Podcasting has always been an important part of my creative work. On and off since 2015, recording episodes and sharing audio on the internet has allowed me to grow my network and land opportunities that I never thought possible.

It's been about a year since I stopped podcasting, and jumping back in has been on my mind lately.

I sat on that idea for weeks, months even.

Something was holding me back from getting started—maybe a mix of self-doubt and laziness, if I’m honest—until a question occurred to me:

What will happen if I DON’T reboot the podcast?

On the surface, the answer would seem to be: nothing.

I continue my life as it is now, focusing on my coaching sessions and trainings. I get to skip the minutia of editing and publishing episodes weekly (which is more work than you’d think).

But that’s not true. SO MUCH will happen if I don’t go back to podcasting.

If I don’t re-boot the podcast:

  1. It will take a lot longer to expose people to my approach to coaching and why self-work matters.
  2. I won’t connect with incredible guests as powerfully and quickly as I could on the show.
  3. It will take longer for me to coach people who need it.
  4. I will feel lonelier and less fulfilled as a result.

In the short- and long-run, my future is less bright if I don't do this.

So onward I march.

Immediately, I sent emails to people I wanted to interview and started sprucing up a room for recording, slapping on some fresh paint and hanging up some artwork.

I've recorded 8 episodes with amazing individuals thus far, and 3 more booked for this week. Each one is an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into how someone handles the rollercoaster ride of their work life.

Authors, founders, illustrators, best-selling authors, and more dive deep into the ups and downs, the triumphs and challenges, and everything in between. 🎢

Side note: honestly, why are video thumbnails so weird? 👀 I'm 1 for 3 on these:

I haven’t even released the episodes yet, and they’ve already fed my soul in more ways than one. (Can’t wait for you to hear them.)

And none of it would’ve happened if it weren’t for that powerful question:

What if you don’t?

Putting the question to work for you

The majority of the time we think about how our actions might bring us something new, or the opportunities they will present.

→ Exercising will help me stay healthy.

But thinking about what we will gain is not enough to help us move into action.

Thinking of the consequences of not acting can be even more powerful.

→ If I don’t exercise, my body would be more susceptible to illness and experience discomfort and limited mobility as I get older.

The power of this strategy plays out in my coaching sessions almost daily.

Say a client wants to make a positive change in their life, but they cannot muster the motivation to get it done. I can see just how badly they want this change, but life just keeps getting in the way.

That’s when I aggravate the pain of inaction.

That’s when I deploy “What if you don’t?”

Together, we explore what their life looks like in the future if they don’t make this change now.

Our human brains are not well-trained to think through the consequences of inaction. The simple question “what if you don’t act?" can get you moving.

Let's walk through how this actually works.

  • Finding a job: It can be draining to do research and apply to roles at the end of a long workday. But if you DON’T, you’ll stay unfulfilled and unhappy in the same job 3 months from now, 1 year from now, maybe even 5 years from now.
  • Writing a book: It's mentally taxing to put words to paper in the right order. But if you DON’T, you won’t have a book to pass on to your children in 5 or 10 years, or even on your deathbed.
  • Improve a situation at work: It’s awkward to have a difficult conversation with a teammate. But if you DON’T, many things may be affected: your projects, your sense of ease, the goals you’re working toward, and even the organization’s revenue.

Evaluating the consequences of NOT doing something can work wonders to light a fire under your ability to do what matters to you.

Applying this to your life

What are the areas in your life that you’ve been avoiding or feeling unmotivated to take action?

Recognizing and acknowledging the areas where we need to take action is the first step towards positive change and personal growth.

Here are some of the common situations that arise in coaching sessions where this strategy proves particularly useful:

  • Repairing personal relationships
  • Figuring out a workout routine
  • Improving collaboration with a coworker
  • Closing deals with new clients
  • Working on a creative project, like a book or course
  • Setting better boundaries with work

Do any of those resonate?

You may see yourself in one of them (or maybe a few), but even if you don't, this strategy can help you with motivation for anything you're wanting to work toward.

Just think how this strategy might help motivate you to do your taxes. 🫠

Steps to follow

If you want to put this motivation framework to use, follow these steps:

  1. Take out a piece of paper.
  2. At the top, write what you’ve wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to. For example, “Exercise 5x per week” or “Talk to Mary”.
  3. Below that, write out the question: “What happens if I don’t ____?” For example, “What happens if I don’t start exercising now?” or “What happens if I don’t have the conversation with Mary about her performance?”
  4. Create a few subheadings that make sense for your situation: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?
  5. List out the consequences you'll face if you DON’T take action now. Take your time here as it's where the real magic lies.
  6. Take a good, long look at the potential ramifications of not doing this. Do these consequences matter to you? How much?

It's simple but packs a punch.

This exercise helped me reconsider the podcast reboot and I’m so glad I’m now in the thick of my recordings.

I can't wait to see the fruits this exercise will bring in your life.

Opportunity 🚨 Reply for a chance to get free coaching

I’m a normie, you’re (hopefully) a normie — let’s be friends.

I don't want to talk at you, I'd like to talk with you. And for that to work, I'd need to get to know you.

Take 30 seconds to reply to this email and tell me:

  • Who you are
  • What you’re working on
  • What's the biggest challenge you’re currently facing

Hit reply and I'll get back to you with a specific suggestion you can start implementing right now.

On Friday, I’ll pick a random reply to win a free coaching session with yours truly (which usually goes for +$300).

That's all for this edition

Now, you've got all week to put this powerful question — what if I don't? — to good use. I'm hoping it jumpstarts your motivation and helps you bring amazing things to fruition.

I know personally I'll be using it to have a difficult conversation I've been putting off and also continue working on the course I've got bouncing around my brainium.

So, go get started.

You got this. ✌️

All the best vibes ✨

Marcella Chamorro

Mental Health Coach + Executive Coach

Marcella Chamorro

Marcella is mindset coach for award-winning tech teams and an experienced marketing leader with a track record of successful creative ventures focused on mental health. She's worked with both thriving venture-backed organizations and wildly profitable bootstrapped companies to maximize their work performance and well-being.