How to make an Emergency Motivation Kit

Performing artists are all too familiar with stress and crisis as common occurrences: frequent deadlines and the need for preparation, constantly subjecting oneself to approval, the changes that come along with acceptance, the feelings that accompany rejection, the periods of being overwhelmed with too much on the schedule, and the lulls when it seems like nothing is happening and therefore the career must be failing…it is for these reasons and more that it is imperative to make finding balance in life a priority.

But it’s not just performing artists; everybody has those days and times when life is overrun by feelings of being overwhelmed or unmotivated. It’s part of being human. I, too, have days like these, which is why I decided to create an “Emergency Motivation Kit” – a collection of things I can look at and/or listen to when I need some help feeling inspired. I call it an “Emergency” kit, because it’s something that is already prepared so that it can be used immediately – the time to try to find things to motivate you is *not* when you are already feeling down! When I shared this idea in a group this past week it was well-received, so I thought I’d share it with you here.

How to make an Emergency Motivation Kit:

1. Think of things that have motivated and inspired you in the past: music, quotes, posts, pictures, videos, cards, books, people, accomplishments, objects – anything. For me, some of these things include songs (go ahead and laugh, but I love the Village People’s ‘YMCA’ – and the dancing/choreography in the original video puts me in a good mood every time), some great TED talks, quote graphics such as this one, and two big scrapbooks my mom made for me filled with cards that performers I’ve taught over the years have written to me.

2. Create a gathering place for these things, keeping in mind that different kinds of things may have different gathering places. I have a shelf where my scrapbooks are easily accessible, a file folder on my computer with different photos and quotes, and a playlist with songs on my phone. While these things aren’t all in one place, I know exactly where they are in my space or on my devices so I can get to them quickly. You can also make your own book of quotes/photos/clippings as well (and travel versions!).

3. Realize that different things might be more motivating than others at different times. Sometimes you might need music to get you up and moving. Other times you might need a good laugh from a video, and at others you might need to read something that really lights a fire under you that day. So if one thing in your Kit isn’t doing it for you, try something else.

4. Add to and take away from your Kit as necessary. If you come across something great that’s inspiring, add it to you Kit right then so it’s already there should you need it later. This will keep you from having to Google and search for things you really liked at another time (and it always seems like you can’t find them again…).

5. Frequent your Kit as many times as you need to. You might have a day when you look at something from your Kit and it’s enough to keep you going all day. You may have other days when need to look at something once an hour. Do what you need to do in order for your time to serve you best.

You can make other “Emergency” kits too: Stress Release, Calming Energy, Happiness , etc. – whatever helps to keep you in balance. Here’s to maximizing your well-being, so you can be your best as much as possible!

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