A Different Take On
Most discussions about motivation center around how to get more
motivated so you can experience greater success. Here, we’re going to
turn that notion on its head and show how your current level of
motivation actually provides the raw material for determining how to
create better results.
For many, the word motivation conjures up visions of inspirational
speakers whipping their audiences into a frenzy that leaves them feeling
like they can take on Goliath, walk on fire, or change the world.
Unfortunately, this effect tends to wear off since it’s rarely
accompanied by any kind of ongoing follow-up to change people’s real
habits or capabilities.
The truth is that most people, especially successful entrepreneurs, are
highly motivated by some things and less motivated by others. What we’re
going to suggest here is that, rather than trying to get more motivated
in general, it makes more sense to pay attention to what motivates you
and try to do more of that. While this may seem simple and obvious, it’s
not intuitive for most people. We’re trained by the world to believe we
should get ourselves motivated to do all sorts of things we don’t like —
that this is just a part of life, or what it takes to be successful.
Because of this, we tend to rationalize or ignore our feelings when
we’re not so excited about something. In doing so, we deprive ourselves
of some very important information that could help us organize our lives
Supernovas and black holes.There are some situations in life in which
you naturally experience a high level of motivation. You feel a swell of
energy, excitement, drive, and all the other positives people point to
when they’re talking about motivation.
A close correlation exists between motivation and our concept of Unique
Ability® — something in life you’re naturally talented at, have a
passion for, and can keep getting better at over your entire lifetime.
If Unique Ability is your magnetic north, motivation is your
Of course, your business and your life probably also contain some
de-motivating situations. A few common examples for many entrepreneurs
Having to follow instructions.
Performing repetitive tasks.
Implementing existing plans instead of being free to innovate new ones.
Working with people who aren’t future-focused or entrepreneurial in
Some situations make your motivation shine like the sun. However, others
feel like they suck away all light and energy. If you’ve ever felt badly
about letting something slide that you just couldn’t get up the energy
to do, you know what we’re talking about. The thing to do is get rid of
these energetic “black holes” and organize your life so that you can
spend as much time as possible in situations where you feel motivated.
Making this shift may take some time as you gradually delegate,
eliminate, and streamline activities. The change, however, which we’ve
seen thousands of entrepreneurs experience, is moving to behold. Those
who follow their motivation seem to lighten tangibly: Rather than
feeling like servants to their businesses, they come to regard their
organizations as tools for developing themselves and their ideas —
sources of freedom, not obligation. By capitalizing on their unique
strengths rather than trying to change themselves, they tap into their
innate genius and produce remarkable results.
Finding Your Motivational Center.
A “Motivational Center” is a filter that helps you recognize situations
that expand or deplete your energy. Developing your own Motivational
Center begins with a conscious act of paying attention to your inherent
drive and passion. As you do this, try making a list of the things you
observe, or go back in your memory and revisit past situations, seeking
out your own personal “best” and “worst.”
What has to be present for you to feel motivated at work or in other
parts of your life?
In what situations are you naturally “on”? When are you at your best?
What circumstances, relationships, and activities slow you down and sap
You’ll notice as you talk to others that they may be pulled forward by a
completely different set of motivations. This variation can be a great
help in rearranging your life to make the most of your motivation.
Over the next few weeks, think about what specific actions you can take
to help you focus more on situations that motivate you. With a greater
understanding of what situations and relationships energize you, you’ll
be able to effectively seek out and create these experiences
© 2007 The Strategic Coach