The other day, I told someone it’s not enough to “feel” motivated. You have to act on it. I then proceeded to explain why motivation isn’t enough.
Motivation is a short-term fix. I’ve had countless moments in my life when I felt motivated to do something. And then the moment passed. It was like a balloon slowly deflating, shrinking until it just had no impact or buoyancy.
Here’s what I DO believe in.
Motive + Action = Motivation
Motive is a purpose, a reason for doing something. As Simon Sinek says, it’s your “Why”. If your motive is strong enough, you’ll move mountains. If not, you’ll revert to where you were, having made no progress.
Case in point. Studies have shown that a large number of lung cancer survivors either continued to smoke during treatment or returned to the habit after the cancer had gone into remission. As a lung cancer survivor myself, the thought of not living to see my grandchildren or spending more years with my wife or just all the things I hadn’t yet done was an overpowering motive for me to never EVER light another cigarette.
For all those other lung cancer survivors, for whatever reason, they didn’t have a strong enough motive to combat their weak willpower.
We all love to feel motivated. It’s energizing. In that moment, we’re invincible. We’re Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps with “Gotta Fly Now” booming in our heads. We are 100 percent convinced right then that any obstacle is just a small speed bump.
But you must stop and ask yourself at those times if you’re experiencing an artificial distraction or a meaningful restart.
If you don’t initiate action from your motive, if you can’t take the feeling beyond a momentary high, then you’ve missed the opportunity to achieve.
Feelings are fleeting. Actions are lasting.
What will you do with your heightened sense of motivation that stems from someone pumping you up? How will you put those feelings into play to improve your life?
Someone has sparked your engine. Will it sputter and die or will you rev it?
When you’re feeling the excitement of motivation, stop and ask yourself why you’re experiencing that feeling. What need is it feeding? And why do you have that need? Identify the “Why”, because if it’s not strong enough to launch your action, you won’t benefit.
My friend Philip Jalufka wrote a book recently, “Leading With Your Life Equation: How to Be Indestructible, Indispensable & Unstoppable”. He is very tuned into knowing his “Why” and it launches his actions every day. Philip is an ex-Special Ops helicopter pilot and you could say he’s a motivated person by nature, but I think it’s more that he has learned how to harness a strong motive—his “Why”—to get results by putting action to those feelings.
Motivation without action is daydreaming.
You can sit through a team-building exercise and come out feeling warm and fuzzy about your co-workers. The next day, that guy you caught in the trust fall returns to his toxic self and you wish you’d let him hit his head on the floor.
The team-building exercise didn’t exact a lasting change. The team just stepped out of the environment and toxicity was largely kept out of the room for that time. But no amount of rah-rah cheering will change a situation if it is not accompanied by an action plan—one that the stakeholders will be held accountable to follow.
Motivation isn’t enough. It’s simply a good start.
Harness your own power.
I’m going to ask you to do something. If what I’ve written here sparked you to want to do more, act on it. Write down how you can transform the way you feel into tangible actions that deliver results. Convert your positive energy into a positive plan. Set dates and specific goals. Share it with someone who will hold you accountable.
Then, please, let me know how it works for you!