Deciding what you want, even how to get it is only part of getting you to where you want to be. To be successful there is another element required: Knowing why we are doing what we plan to do. Without clear motivation– we will lack an essential element we need to sustain us through to success.
If we can’t keep going – we’ll soon stop going. Knowing why we are doing something is the glue that holds everything together.
How does motivation work? While there are many illustrations, it comes down to these 5 essential principals:
- Sometimes the work is hard. It’s really that simple. Sometimes the work is hard. And we need to be certain we can stick with it. Jim Rohn taught that when the promise is clear, the price is easy. When the price begins to get hard, the promise is what pulls us through.
- Sometimes the work takes time. The emotion of the moment when we committed to something can and will fade over time if we don’t bring it back, even if not at the same sensory level. I was recently reminded that there is very little that is action dependent that does not require some constancy, even daily re-commitment to that action. Whether it’s our health, money, work or relationships. Our motivation (why) is what creates the power we need to keep making the commitment over time.
- Sometimes the work needs to change. This is an important one to think about. Sometimes the method we choose to do something doesn’t bring us the result we wanted. That’s not failure. That’s experience. Without knowing why we were doing it in the first place, we don’t have the ultimate creative pool to work from for finding our next strategy and getting it in place. The why keeps us focused in the RIGHT direction, even if we change the vehicle we’re riding to reach the destination.
- Sometimes the work requires help. When we are clear about why we are doing something our enthusiasm and passion are evident and infectious. Others will not only respond to requests for help – they will volunteer! There is nothing more binding and bonding than a shared desire to transform something for good. Even if they don’t know, like and trust you yet, if your why is clear and they can align to that, it can actually be the catalyst for the best relationships.
- Sometimes the work requires a choice. This point goes beyond the first one where we talked about work being hard at times. This is about sacrifice. This is about choice. If you do THIS (something that honors your why) then you cannot do THAT (something you really want to do!). It’s called opportunity cost. The promise being clear is still part of the rationale on this but it goes deeper because you are making a conscious choice to not only have something, but also to give something up. If the value equation isn’t clear, those choices can get very difficult.
Having the right motivation makes a difference getting started and staying started. And one thing is certain: We can and will have more than one start along the way.
How to put this to work? Choose one area of your life (health, finances, work, relationships, community) where you struggle staying on track with your goal and action settings. Go through a series of questions focused on the word why to get to your core reason for what you are doing. That is the promise. Don’t take your first response. Why? Because chances are fairly high that it is not your real reason. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a number of times to get to your true motivator. In the words of Pat Riley, “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” You’ll know you are there when you can take that reason and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this reason strong enough to keep me going when it’s hard?
- Is this reason strong enough to keep me going when this takes a long time?
- Is this reason strong enough to challenge me to always find a way?
- Is this reason strong enough to allow others to see the value in the work?
- Is this reason strong enough to support the right choices along the way, even when it means a sacrifice?
When you get to five yeses – you are there! More importantly, you know you’re going to be able to begin and experience the journey to go to your desired place of achievement with joy and ease.
Live well. Live today like you want tomorrow to be.