By Sunny Simon

My husband sighed and watched me with his “there she goes again” grin as I skillfully maneuvered another squeeze of toothpaste out of the totally flattened tube. Not really a super frugal person, but getting the last dab of paste out of every tube that finds its way into the Simon household is a challenge I rise to meet.

As I press down hard, managing to anoint my brush with a final dab of a cool mint fluoride-free paste promising to rid my teeth of plaque while whitening, brings to mind a speech I heard in a staff meeting long ago. The passionate talk, given by one of my colleagues, did much to inspire a leadership group facing some dim financial results. I do not remember his name, but I will never forget the essence of his message. It was about always being able to squeeze out what you need.

I often use the toothpaste analogy for inspiration. Whether you are running a marathon, or burning the midnight oil trying to finish an important report with an early morning due date, if you push hard enough you can find the extra steam required to complete the task at hand. Is bringing the last drop of energy to the surface an easy feat? No, it takes a large dose of grit and some solid mental prodding. Stated differently, you must draw on your willpower.

Dictionary.com defines willpower as a noun meaning “the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions.” Well, pardon me Mr. Webster, but I think your definition is only half right. Staying the course when you question how to keep going involves the will to power-through (verb).
One way to keep going when you want to throw in the towel is what I call “channel-changing.” Let’s take running the marathon, or any physical activity as an example. If your negative mental chatter pipes up trying to convince you that you’ll never reach the finish line, forget the finish line and think about a motivating subject. Visualize the glass of cold water waiting for you and the joy of hugging your five year old when the race is over. I employ that strategy with my fitness trainer. When I’m ready to say uncle and he calls for more reps, I conjure up an image of the new sundress I bought. No way can I rock that beautiful sky-blue outfit with flabby arms.

So, the next time you need to power-through an activity when your tank registers empty, change the channel and think of squeezing that tube of paste. I know you can do it!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com

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