Are you trying to motivate yourself (and others) to do more with your business? Does your motivation come and go in a sporadic, start-and-stop pattern? When your motivation for your business begins to ebb - or completely dries up - how do you respond?

If you're like most human beings, there's a good chance you pull out a club and begin beating up on yourself!

This syndrome has many faces. It may look like the overweight person who looks in the mirror and tells herself how fat and ugly she is - thinking that will motivate her to lose the weight. It might take the form of the networker who only talks to one person a day and keeps telling himself that "it's not enough - I should do more, I'll never be a success." Beating up on yourself may be your response when, after being courageous and talking to someone about your business, you say the "wrong" thing (according to you). Then, for the next hour, day, week or longer, you replay the conversation in your mind, thinking "How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking?"

Have you ever heard the phrase, "No pain, no gain"? It's almost as if we think that the more pain we inflict on ourselves, the greater the gain. We have been conditioned to think that pain will motivate us into action. While that may sometimes be true, it is not as effective - nor as abundant - as you may think.

The Negative Feedback Loop

The process of building a successful and abundant business is an ongoing learning process. Studies repeatedly indicate that one of the most important components of true learning is participation: the more a person is motivated to participate in the learning process, the more learning will occur.

When it comes to the learning process in a networking business, however, many hesitate to participate, at least fully. Why?

Consider this common experience. Imagine that you are, once again, a six-year old. It's your first day of school. You're all excited. Your teacher asks a question and your hand shoots up into the air - you know the answer! You wiggle in your seat and wave your hand in the air, thinking "Pick me! Pick me!" Finally, the teacher looks your way and calls your name! You're so excited that you can hardly speak, but you blurt out the answer - anticipating the teacher's congratulations and pleasure at your response.

Instead, the teacher frowns at you and says something like, "No - you're wrong," or "That is not the right answer." A minute later, someone else in the class has given the right answer and the teacher is congratulating and praising him or her for giving the right answer. Just then, your hear a classmate near you snicker and whisper, "You're so dumb!"

The process of building a successful and abundant business is an ongoing learning process. Studies repeatedly indicate that one of the most important components of true learning is participation.

The next time the teacher asks a question, what happens? You're sure you know the answer - but this time you hesitate before raising your hand. "What if I'm wrong again?" you think.

Again and again, this scenario plays out; every time, your fear of participation becomes a little stronger and you begin to doubt yourself; worse yet, you start to beat yourself up for being "so dumb!" - and the more you beat yourself up, the less you're willing to participate.

The vicious cycle is complete. Beating up on yourself doesn't motivate you, it actually disempowers you. In fact, this is one of the most insidious and debilitating scarcity patterns there is: the pattern of "not enoughing" yourself.

If you complete one thing on your "To Do" list, you tell yourself it should have been two. Accomplish two tomorrow, and you point out that it ought to have been ten. You never get enough done. Looking in the mirror, you observe that you're not pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough. Perhaps you think you're not good enough at talking to people, or that you're not a good enough businessperson or parent or spouse....

It's a never-ending internal monologue that we have mistakenly thought would motivate us to get into action and change. Ironically, when it doesn't, we "not enough" ourselves and beat up on ourselves harder.

The Art of Encouraging Participation

Consider again the scenario of the teacher calling on you to answer her question. Your answer is still, strictly speaking, not the correct information - but this time, the teacher smiles at you and says, "Thank you - I love the way you are so eager to participate and learn. The answer you gave isn't the one I had in mind - should we see if someone else has a different answer?"

Would you have felt good about yourself and your participation? Would you have felt embarrassed, or ashamed, or stupid? The next time the teacher asked a question, would you have been just as eager to raise your hand?

My sense is that your motivation to participate would not have dimmed in the least.

In the second scenario, the only difference was that the teacher acknowledged you for what you did. The more acknowledgement you receive for your participation, the more motivated you are to participate.

Contrary to the opinion expressed in common practice, beating up on yourself does not motivate you; acknowledgment does. So instead of not-enoughing yourself and focusing on what's wrong with you, your business or your life, start acknowledging yourself - today!

Teresa Romain is founder of Access Abundance
(www.accessabundance.com),
an organization dedicated to helping people access
greater levels of abundance, freedom and fulfillment in their daily lives.
She lives with her husband Dan
in the small town of Baraboo,
Wisconsin.