That depends on what the hard times are. If I'm struggling through something I can't affect, I use the phrase "Can't go around it, so I gotta go through it." Time will eventually lessen the blow, and in the meantime I use distraction to great effect. Just keep living life intentionally instead of letting it happen to you. Take action where you can. The only constant in life is change.
2. How do you motivate others?
Again, if someone's going through something hard that they can't change (a breakup, death of a loved one), I try to use distraction and humor. It gives a bit of relief from the constant ache. That said, I also listen if what they need to do is vent, and I try not to be a "fixer" if that's not what they need.
If someone is DOING something hard, like making a decision or performing some action, I motivate them by telling them all the things they've accomplished before, & how they can do this thing now. I also like to point out how it's better to regret having done something than having done nothing. :) GRAB LIFE & EAT IT!
3. Who do you talk to for encouragement and inspiration?
I have a fantastic support system. I have a husband & BFFs & family who all think very highly of me & my abilities, and they're always available for encouragement.
4. What books have offered encouragement and inspiration?
I use books mainly for distraction purposes. The tension of doing something very difficult (grad school for example) leads to a lot of stress build-up for me, and one of the best ways to diffuse that a little is to read a book that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Fluffy scifi & fantasy are my super favorites.
5. Which of your family members have encouraged you most over the years?
That has to be Bryan. The best decision I ever made was to marry him. He believes in my ability to do basically anything, and he supports me in whatever it is I want to do. Before I got on the elevator to go to my grad school interview, the last thing he said to me was "Whatever we have to do to make this work, we will do it. We will make it through this, and you will get a doctorate." From little things to the very biggest thing I've ever undertaken, Bryan never doubts me and always offers whatever support I need.