Motivation Doesn’t Last, So Why Bother?

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Maybe you’ve tried to pursue your Passionate Purpose before, got motivated, had some initial success, and then gave up—what happened?

Did you start to think that all this personal development stuff doesn’t work? Maybe you decided that getting motivated isn’t worth it because it just wears off after a while.

Well, did you eat more than once today? I guess that eating thing wears off.

Did you take more than one shower this week? I guess that whole bathing thing wears off.

Yes, virtually everything wears off if we let it. I used to know how to do calculus problems. It’s been 30 years since I’ve done one and I couldn’t do one right now if my life depended on it. It wore off.

Did you exercise at the gym one day and say now you’re fit for the rest of your life? Ridiculous, right? Then why do we think that we only have to be motivated once and we’re set for life? Why do we think there’s some easy button to success and to pursuing our dreams?

We will get there, but it takes deliberate, persistent effort aimed at our Passionate Purpose. It takes improving ourselves day after day to become the person we want to be.

I would love to be one of the people who tell you that if you have passion and desire and you think positive thoughts your dream will appear at the end of a double rainbow with pots of gold and butterflies and sprinkles on Twinkies that have no calories—but that’s not the truth.

Setting goals works. But you need to get clear on what you want, why you want it, that you have to achieve it, when you will reach it, and how you’ll do it. Then you must take consistent action to get it done.

Oh, that’s all? Sweet! Then I’ll create world peace for breakfast and save the whales after lunch.

I know it can sound intimidating and overwhelming, but when you do this one step at a time it’s really not that hard.

It may sound like word games, but I believe there is a difference between motivation and inspiration. My purpose isn’t just to motivate you for a short time. My purpose is to help inspire you to find your Passionate Purpose. When you find and pursue that you will become self-motivated.

You will still have ups and down on how motivated you are. But when you find your why you have a reservoir of motivation in your soul that you can draw from whenever you need it.

Know this: If you’ve been working on what we’ve been talking about, you are in an elite group of people walking this planet. You have defined your Passionate Purpose, created goals and mini-goals for your success, and developed an action plan to get you there. Most people never do this in their entire lives. You are on your way to a totally new life! If …

Yup, there is a HUGE “if.” If you stop now, this will all be a complete waste of time. In fact, if you stop now, all this might actually hurt you instead of help you. You might start to believe that none of this really works. It’s all nonsense and a waste of time. You are not in control of your own destiny. You will never live the life of your dreams. At best, you are doomed to a life of mediocrity.

Quick! Hide all the sharp objects in your home! Life is no longer worth living!

See how ridiculous that line of “reasoning” can go? Is that really how you want to look at the world and your power over your own life? I can tell you that the most successful people do not allow themselves to think that way. From now on neither will you.

Instead, you are going to keep a positive focus on your goal and take daily action on your plan.

You must take action. Without action, all of this is just a lot of time and effort wasted. Without action you will lose focus, become frustrated, decide goal setting doesn’t work, and quit.

So here’s my advice: Don’t wait one day, start now. If you put this off until you’re “ready,” or your busy project at work ends, or until after your vacation, or until the kids are grown, or the time is right, or (fill in the excuse) you will never start or finish. If you only remember one thing from this book, remember this:

Go!

As soon as you “Go!” and start taking action on your Passionate Purpose, you are a success. The staircase will start appearing faster and faster. This is why you are here. The possibilities are endless for your life now. You aren’t just surviving, you are thriving. You aren’t just earning a living, you’re earning a life.

Let’s Go!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)

Have You Ever Fallen Into The Impressive Trap?

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Why we do something is vital to the level of motivation and persistence we give to it. It also figures prominently in determining how much enjoyment we get out of it. Sometimes we put out a lot of time and effort before we realize we’ve anchored it all to a “why” that doesn’t serve us very well.

I was reminded of this when my daughter was practicing the piano and working on a fairly difficult jazz piece. After a while she plopped down on the couch beside me, looking frustrated.

I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I want to impress people by playing this song, but it’s hard.”

Before I could stop myself, I laughed out loud. I reminded her that if it was easy, everyone would do it. But then we got to the more important point. Doing something to impress others will never truly satisfy. The feeling you get from it is hollow and won’t last. It also means you’re allowing others to determine your worth. Why would you want to do that?

We all know this, yet somehow the “impressive” trap can sneak up on us. My wife, Anne, admits how it got to her in the story of her two careers.

Her first degree is in finance. Anne had big plans to become a senior executive in the banking industry. In just her first few years out of school, she was well on her way as an assistant vice president in private banking.

But, then she started volunteering as a tutor for at risk students at an inner city elementary school. She loved helping the little girl who was assigned to her. After a while, Anne realized she enjoyed tutoring much more than she enjoyed banking. If she was going to be honest, she didn’t like her job at all.

Anne had thought about becoming a teacher earlier in her life, but she worried about what other people might say. “Anne, you’re a straight A student, why would you use that just to teach elementary school?”

She knew that people say they value teachers, but many think if you’re a teacher it’s because you can’t do anything else. Or, you just want your summers off. Anne knew that wasn’t true, but she was letting other people’s opinions decide her fate.

She finally admitted to herself that the main reason she chose to be a finance major and go into banking was to impress others. Anne wanted people to know she was smart. She wanted the prestigious job title. She didn’t want anyone patting her on the head telling her what a cute, little teacher she was.

Once she figured that out, it didn’t take long for her to rework her “why.” She wanted to help inspire and teach our children to make our future brighter. Anne went back to school and got her Masters in Education.

She has helped change the lives of countless children and just won the award for teacher of the year at her school. She gets great joy out of teaching! She found the “why” that motivates her.

The “whys” that truly motivate us for the long term, and for the best results, are intrinsic. It’s not about impressing someone, or making our parents/significant other/society happy.

It’s about creating the extraordinary life of our dreams. It’s about growing, learning, being challenged, and achieving. It’s about enjoying what we do, not just the results of what we do. It’s about being the masters of our fate and embracing that.

Most of all, it’s about transcending ourselves, making a difference, and living a life that matters.

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”
–Daniel Pink

What is motivating you right now?

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)