Find Your Motivation + Run With It, Mama. - by Abby Herman for MotherHustle
“I wanted to show my daughter that motivation and perseverance create strong, capable women who name their desires and get it done.”

“You can’t.”

Those words have always lit a fire under me. I’m a little stubborn and a lot competitive, especially when someone doubts me.

I heard these two words one day when I told someone (who I thought should be supportive of me) that I wanted to run a marathon. When I heard, “You can’t,” I steeled my resolve and said, “Watch me.” And maybe a few other choice words.

I think everyone is born with motivation, but it looks different for every person. What motivates me is not the same thing that motivates you, because my goals and desires are different.

For me, motivation looks like a finish line — both literally and figuratively.

It feels like pride that no one can take away. It smells like the perspiration it took me to get there. It looks like head-down determination. And it tastes like blood, sweat and tears. (And maybe a pint of beer, too.)

But motivation doesn’t have to be about some big physical accomplishment, though it almost certainly has something to do with reaching a goal of some sort.

I quit my day job in May 2013 with the goal of growing my writing business into a full-time income. I had little savings and a lot of debt, but I knew I couldn’t go back into the classroom and teach again the following school year with my sanity intact.

My motivation was all about growing a business that could sustain me and my daughter, without depending on another income in my house.

It’s been hard. Really hard. But almost five years later now, I’m going strong and growing steadily.

Why? Partly because that same person didn’t think I could make it. But mostly because I wanted to show my daughter that motivation and perseverance create strong, capable women who name their desires and get it done. They don’t fall back on excuses or circumstances; they excel because of their challenges, not in spite of them.

When I said I was going to run a marathon, I wanted (needed) to feel a sense of accomplishment in my life. I was at a stage in my life when not much made sense and I was simply going through the motions every day.

I needed to do something big, something that I’d never done before and something that would provide a central focus when other parts of my life were just messy.

Honestly, I needed to get my life back on track and take care of myself so I could move past the messy and unhealthy.

And after that “You can’t,” I needed to prove that yes, I can. And I will. In fact, I probably needed to prove it to myself more than anyone else. It was just those two words that lit the fire under me so I could get it done.

In the end, not only did I run that marathon, but I ran three of them. As well as two ultramarathons, with one more on the calendar.

I’ve since retired from marathons because I know I can do it; I just don’t want to. And frankly, training for an ultra is more fun than training for a marathon despite it being a longer distance.

And if you ever want to see a strong, driven woman succeed? Just tell her she can’t. Because she will.


MotherHustle panelist Abby Herman is a content strategist and content coach for small business owners, helping to get her clients’ written message out to their audience, in their own voice and on their own terms. She specializes in working with female-owned, service-based businesses to generate ideas and strategies that help to move their businesses forward with content that attracts the perfect clients. Abby firmly believes in the power of educating and empowering business owners so they can grow their businesses without breaking the bank. Community over competition is truly her jam!

When she’s not crafting words or coaching her clients through their own writing roadblocks, you can find her exploring the mountains near her home in Phoenix or finding new ways to get her teenaged daughter to take a break from the school books and technology. You can follow her on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

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