What Motivates You?

In an interview, I was asked the question, “What motivates you?”  I got a puzzled look from the interviewer when I responded, “I do”.  There are a lot of people and causes that extrinsically motivate me, but ultimately I am responsible for getting my butt off the couch.  Intrinsic (self) motivation is one of the most powerful tools one can have in order to achieve new heights.  Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

1)      Have Clear Goals.  In order to get where you want to go, you have to know where you are going.  Write your goals down and refer back to them in times of need.  Soccer star Mia Hamm once said, “Dreams without articulation are just that—dreams.  Write your goals down.”

2)      Know When to Disengage.  Life is a series of short sprints.  We go like hell for short bursts of time and then take time to rest and recover.  According to Loehr and Schwartz, authors of the book The Power of Full Engagement, if you are consistently over working or over training, in the long run, your performance will suffer.  Make time for rest and recovery.  Take care of your spirit by having some fun once in a while.

3)      Learn from your Mistakes.  Duke University Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski says his team learns more from losses than they do wins.  “Losses let us know where we stand and how we can get better.  We get more information from a loss,” he says.  Take time to analyze your setbacks and their causes.  Gather information that will help you positively progress and then move on.  There is no sense in dwelling on setbacks.  Use them to your advantage and not as an excuse to quit.

4)      Have a Support Network.  It has taken me a long time to get to where I am today and will take a lot of energy to get where I want to go.  I will be the first to tell you that I haven’t done it alone.  Every day I am surrounded by like-minded individuals who want to be the best at what they do.  This type of energy is contagious.  I am surrounded by people whom I respect and admire.  I value and trust their opinions.  Surround yourself with good people.  It will provide you with a wealth of good information and positive energy.

5)      Read…A Lot!  The most successful people are usually avid readers.  Reading stokes your mind and fills you with new information and new ideas.  Take the ideas presented and build on them.  Reading is a great way to disengage from the stresses and rigors of life, while still finding ways to improve and stay motivated.

Staying motivated can be a tough job.  Just remember that life happens during the journey, so don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

Suggested Reading:

  • Leading With the Heart:  Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life.  By Mike Krzyzewski with Donald T. Phillips.
  • The Power of Full Engagement.  By Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.
  • The Art of Happiness:  A Handbook for Living.  By His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
  • The Impact Body Plan. By Todd Durkin with Adam Bornstein and Mike Zimmerman.
  • The Long Run.  By Matt Long with Charles Butler.

By Jon Kahney MS CSCS