Look within rather than outside for your motivation


When it comes to motivation, are you an inny or an outy? Does your motivation come from within or from the outside? And are you motivated by pain or gain?

Are you running from something or moving toward it? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you come up with practical ways to get more motivated.

If you are motivated from within, your chances of making big changes are much greater than if something outside is influencing you. And if your motivation comes from what can you gain instead of what will you lose, so much the better -- although both can be compelling.

Look back at the times when you accomplished something really big. What set you down the path, and what kept you moving when you wanted to stop?

If you made changes in your life because a loved one nagged you or because "everyone is doing it" or to prove your detractors wrong, your shifts were probably short-lived.

 But if you moved ahead toward something because it was something you wanted for yourself, you most likely succeeded. Even then, it's no sure thing to maintain, since it's hard to stay motivated all the time (this is where the ongoing support of a professional coach comes in handy).

So what motivates you?

If your list looks something like this -- money, fame, adulation or respect -- you might want to rethink it. The best, most powerful motivation comes from feelings, not from objects, ideas, conditions, philosophical constructs or even what you or others think you should do.

If money motivates you, describe how you feel when you have it. Just fill in the blank: "When I have all the money I want/need, I feel...." Now look at your word choice. If you "feel like" or "feel that," you're probably not expressing a feeling.

For example, if you said "when I have all the money I want/need, I feel like people will respect me" or "when I have money in the bank, I feel that I can do anything I want," you are not describing emotions.

Try rewording it: "When I have all the money I want, I feel strong and independent." It's the emotions to which you want to connect because they provide the fuel to keep you moving.

Plus, it's so much more pleasant to embrace the gain of joy, satisfaction, gratitude and love than the avoidance of fear, anger, envy, guilty, embarrassment, shame and bitterness.

Negative feelings are valid. They are also toxic, limiting and unattractive, and consume a lot of energy that could otherwise be harnessed to get you where you want to go.

Recognize them and try to figure out where they originated. Many times, they come from self-limiting beliefs that we picked up along life's highway and simply aren't true. Release them, or find ways to turn them around.

While you're embracing the positive feelings that reaching your goal will provide, it also helps to fully envision, with all your senses, what your desired outcome will be.

Where will you be physically? Who will be with you? How far in the future is it? What does your home look like? What kind of car will you be driving, if any? What will you look like? What kind of work will you be doing? What will you be wearing?

Make that vision as detailed as you can, right down to the time of day, the weather, the climate, the flowers and trees around you.

Identify the feelings you get as you answer these (and other) questions and use them to pick yourself up should you falter on the path to your goals.

Jackie Harder, president of Key Dynamics Coaching and Consulting, specializes in helping women in business succeed in life and in the workplace. For a free consultation, call her at 305/451-9295 or e-mail

KeysNet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service