“The best motivating is self-motivating. The guy says, “I wish someone would come by and turn me on.” What if they don’t show up? You’ve got to have a better plan for your life.” – Jim Rohn
What does motivation mean to you? Do you get fired up when you see or hear the word? How do you motivate yourself? More importantly – do you need motivation?
Motivation has come to embody a great deal in the Western world. I’ve often heard people from non-English speaking countries comment on how lazy we are in the West. I tend to agree with them in some respect. Work ethic in the Asian and European countries is incredibly high. It is passed down from generations and instilled in young people.
Without the risk of comparing cultural differences, I want you to note the anomalies which exist. I could write an entire book on motivation – someday I will. There is so much to be said about it. Let’s keep it brief by highlighting some concepts, ideas and suggestions which may create interest for you.
Motivation implies one is lacking in this virtue, upon reflection of the word. Perhaps my cultural upbringing had something to do with it. My Grandfather was a working class immigrants to this country. He worked hard like most other migrants, providing a quality of life for his family. Motivation for my Grandfather was a foreign ideal. I don’t recall a time when he required motivation. He would advise against ever needing it. Motivation is something which comes from desire and will. It is a sense of purpose and meaning which guides the essence of motivation.
I don’t believe you cannot motivate other people. You may inspire them, but to motivate them would suggest they’re lacking in this quality. Have you ever tried to motivate someone to do something? I’m sure you’ve had a friend, family member or loved one who needed some assistance. How challenging was it to motivate them? Did they achieve the results they wanted? I’m thinking there’s a big NO against that question.
As many of you know, my job entails working with people in one-on-one capacity as well as group environments. My responsibility is to inspire my clients and groups of people when conducting seminars. I must confess the more I’ve had to motivate a person, the less they’ve performed as a consequence. You see motivating someone who is not inspired, is like whipping a dead horse – it can’t go any faster.
My clients turn up to training since they’re already motivated. Anyone who chooses to get out of bed at 5 a.m. in the morning to exercise it motivated. All I’m doing is providing the medium and the expertise to deliver a comprehensive training program tailored to their specific goals. Many of them are clear on their goals. They need someone with the expertise and know how to deliver the execution.
Often I provide them with a source of inspiration. Given I am regularly active and living what I preach, my clients find my lifestyle a source of inspiration. Perhaps it is due to many of them leading hectic work-life schedules. They find it challenging at the best of times to stay healthy, motivated and sane!
So how do you gain motivation to achieve your fitness and health goals? Below are some practical approaches for motivation when you’re going through a down period. Bear in mind, my approach is different to other programs. I have found it very useful in my personal life as well as clients, groups and large corporate business
• Examine what is holding you back. This is the first step. How are you going to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been and why you’re stuck there. Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau in your training, nutrition or personal life and require assistance from a skilled professional. Talk to those close to you, whom you trust and have a sympathetic ear. Ask people for advice who have walked the path before you.
• Realize that sometimes what may look like things going wrong, may prove to be a blessing in disguise. Dan Millman in his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior states “When we feel stuck, going nowhere – even starting to slip backward – we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” How about that for another perspective to consider? What might look like failure might in fact be your greatest opportunity for success. Realize that you need to get stuck sometimes in order to navigate your way out. When you come up against painful moments in life, the brain signals its dislike for being in this state and looks for a way out. It wants pleasure and enjoyment from your pursuits. You had to arrive at pain in order to find pleasure and fulfilment.
• Take one step at a time. In society we’ve been conditioned to believe we must get ‘x’ in order to be satisfied or happy. Such thinking conditions the mind to neglect the important aspects which happens in-between – i.e. the process or journey. I’m reminding you to enjoy the journey by having fun along the way. The journey is about the people you meet, the friendships formed, the person you become, the knowledge you acquire and the lessons you gain. Without these important stepping stones, you merely become another unfulfilled person waiting to begin the next adventure. You are arriving instead of striving if you follow this mantra.
Wherever you are in your journey, take some time out to take stock of where you stand. Use self examination to explore the root cause of your suffering. Make adjustments to your plans every now again. Don’t be too rigid on ‘how’ you get there. Be open and flexible, allowing the universe to guide you. You’ll know you’re on the right track when your goals begin to manifest with ease and perfection.