3 Tricks for Dealing with Crippling Discouragement

I just pitched Entrepreneur another article.

I emphasize “another” because this is the eighth pitch I’ve sent their way. For the first six article pitches, I was connecting with an editor named Peter. Then, I started pitching an editor named Liz, hoping that she would be more reasonable and slower to reject me.

She wasn’t.

In fact, today, I received this email back from her after following up twice about an article idea.

article pitch

Hi Michael,

Thanks for following up. One of the big criteria we look for from new contributors is an established social media following, and it doesn’t seem like you’re quite there yet. 



Talk about a punch to the balls. Doesn’t she know I’ve written for SUCCESS, SmartBlogger (where I wrote the most-shared article of 2017), and GetResponse? Doesn’t she care that I’ll be interviewing high-level CEOs for the article who’ll surely share the piece with their audiences on social media?

So what, I only have 300 followers on Twitter, 1,200 friends on Facebook, and 400 followers on LinkedIn — a good article’s a good article.

Despite those thoughts, I simply responded with this email.

pitch 2

I totally understand. I’ll work on that before I pitch you again. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

Even though my response was level-headed enough, that rejection did a number on my motivation for the day. I didn’t feel like an adequate writer which, naturally, didn’t make me feel like writing much of anything.

You’ve been there, right?

Of course, we all have.

In fact, Lifehacker lists social rejection as one of the top motivation killers, saying, “When you get rejected, you lose your desire to try because it seems as though nobody would care either way.”

Needless to say, this is exactly how I felt.

And I’m willing to bet that you sometimes feel this way too. Unfortunately for you and I, we don’t have the time to feel this way. We have a business to grow, a life to live, and a family to support.

We have dreams to fulfill.

But nothing kills dreams faster than a lack of motivation.

Of course, lots of different things can cause you to feel unmotivated — from lack of sleep and unhealthy eating habits to inconsistent relationships and cloudy weather.

Fortunately, though, the cures are mostly the same.

Here are three things to try when you’re feeling discouraged.

1. Meditate

If you haven’t tried to meditate before, then you’re missing out. Even ten minutes can make a big difference in how you perceive the world, yourself, and your lack of motivation.

You might even find that after ten minutes of slowing down and reorienting your perspective, you’re ready to take on the world once more.

It might sound counterintuitive to slow down when you’re already unmotivated to do anything, but you first have to understand why you lose motivation in the first place.

Here’s a few common reasons.

  1. You’re stressed and don’t know where to start.
  2. You feel a lack of creativity.
  3. You’re struggling to make decisions.
  4. You feel physically unhealthy.
  5. Your relationships are out of whack.
  6. You’ve been rejected recently.

That’s just a few examples, of course, but the point stands — meditation helps with every single one of those elements. You can read more about the scientific benefits of meditation here.

Plus, meditation is easier than ever before in history. Headspace is my favorite app for guided meditations but there’s a slew of other options as well. I just do ten minutes, but that ten minutes often gives me the boost I need to get back to work.

2. Talk it Out

I love to talk. When something goes wrong, the first thing I want to do is call my wife and whine about it.

Sometimes, it might feel like you’re wasting time doing so, but that isn’t necessarily true.

As Psychology Today points out,

“Talking about it can help shed light on how to get through a problem. That’s also how therapy works. You may find that brainstorming with another person or even a group will help you find new ideas to help you move forward. When you know someone has your back, that emotional support can make all the difference.”

When you talk about your feelings (as cheesy as that sounds) and your ideas, your thoughts and your struggles, it’s therapeutic and it can actually help you work through those problems.

If something tangible discouraged you, then talk about it with a trusted friend to help get it out of your mind so you can move on with your life. If you’re not sure what’s causing your lack of motivation, then, well… sometimes it’s nice to just talk about the fact that you’re feeling discouraged to someone who will listen non-judgmentally.

Who knows, you might even figure out the cause of your discouragement over a cup of coffee and conversation.

3. Turn the Lack of Motivation into Creative Energy

Ya know how I mentioned that the article rejection happened “today”?

Well, that was literal. It did.

And it still makes me a little angry as I’m writing this blog post.

So why am I writing this blog post on a day that I feel terrible about my writing abilities and am severely lacking motivation?

For a few noteworthy reasons.

First of all, I know the answer to curing discouragement — we all do. Create something. Do what you love. Spend a little time with that passion project of yours so you can come out feeling accomplished on the other end.

Second, because I turned the rejection, the sadness, and the discouragement on its head.

Shortly after the rejection, I set these goals for myself in a Google Doc.

  1. Grow LinkedIn to 2,000 followers
  2. Grow Twitter to 2,000 followers
  3. Grow Facebook to 1,000 followers


– Post every day on each platform.

– Write one LinkedIn article each week.

Why am I sharing that with you?

Because I want you to see that every rejection you receive is an opportunity to improve yourself. Sometimes, you’ll feel unmotivated because of something other than rejection. During the times that rejection plays a role, though, try turning that negative influence into positive energy.

After I cooled down from the editors email, I thought to myself, “Ya know, I really do need to grow my social media following if I’m going to be taken seriously. Maybe this is the push I need.”

Sometimes, discouragement is just a painful and ironic reminder that you need to start doing something you haven’t been doing.

But it’ll only serve that purpose if you let it.


No. It’s not just you. We all feel like crap sometimes. We don’t always feel like working, people’s biting comments hit us harder than they should. And getting our motivation back is often a real struggle.

Still, it’s not impossible.

By meditating, talking it out, and turning discouragement into creative energy, you can get back to building the business and, more importantly, the life that your fully motivated self is capable of building.

How do you deal with a lack of motivation? 

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