CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When you hear the phrase "pushing your buttons," I'll bet it strikes a negative chord. That's because it's usually associated with manipulative behavior.
But what about pushing our own buttons? That could be framed either way, right? In the negative sense, it could indicate your inner critic is taking over once again. In the positive sense, though, it could mean getting into gear and getting on your game.
Have you ever peeked into the cockpit of a large plane as you boarded? What an amazing display of buttons, levers, dials and switches! What if, as you were boarding, you overhead the pilot say to the co-pilot, "Joe, remind me, what does this set of buttons do?" That certainly wouldn't inspire much confidence.
Steve Chandler, author of "100 Ways to Motivate Yourself," takes this illustration further by explaining that most of us pilot our own lives that way, without much knowledge of the instruments. We don't take time to learn where our own buttons are, or what they can do.
We can make a proactive choice, though, by noticing when things push our buttons. Make a note of the things that inspire you. That's your control panel. Those buttons operate your whole system of personal motivation.
By the same token, notice what brings you down. You may have more control over your environment than you realize. Once you know what triggers cause you to react in certain ways, you can begin to consciously program yourself how to respond. Or, at least, pull yourself out of a funk if you start to go too deep.
Are there some buttons you could push on yourself that would have positive results? Like finally conquering the procrastination that's plagued a project?
I'm still basking in the glow of an overdue home project my husband, John, and I accomplished last Sunday. Getting ready to hunker down for the big snow, he had put on a big pot of chili, and we planned to stay inside and tackle something that's been on our home list for quite a while.
Well, the snow didn't materialize. But the chili sure was good. And we stuck to our plan -- yay! You know how you have those little things that need to be done, but they don't quite rise to the top of your list? There's always something more urgent or more enticing that calls to you.
Such was the case with our spot on the upstairs ceiling. It started out small, nothing to worry about, really. But with each subsequent hard rain, it grew a little bigger. Obviously, it had something to do with a leak. Thankfully, it wasn't a roof leak. Getting to the bottom (or top) of it, though, would require maneuvering through the attic crawlspace -- ugh.