In the world of coaching, we talk a great deal about “motivation“. I have even had colleagues introduce me as a “motivational speaker”. This grinds on my last nerve, and here’s why.
Motivation does not work!
Take a look at this dog to the right. There are several things that could be “motivating” the dog to not snatch the hot dog and lap it up:
- Great job using Photoshop
- The dog has been very well trained
- The photographer tried 10 times and made sure he snapped the photograph in two seconds
- The dog is not a dog
- And a few other reasons
My point is this: Dogs will be dogs, and dogs LOVE to eat meat in any shape or form. So, my hunch is that if left alone, this dog would scarf down that hot dog in ten seconds flat.
There are 3 basic reasons that I believe motivation does not work, and here they go:
1. Motivation is a “pushing” mechanism. Have you ever attended a motivational seminar or worked with a health coach who was “pushing” you to achieve a goal against the greatest of your will and might? It feels yucky. Now then, they may spin their words and sprinkle their magic pixie dust to get you to “change your life forever”, but the old motivational seminar or “in your face” health coach is like a shot of a cortisone. The inflammation goes away temporarily out of being in a trance or scared to death, but the true injury did not really heal. The cortisone was just a short term fix. Motivation is just like that shot of cortisone…it is a short term fix, and if you are feeling “pushed” to do something that you really don’t want to do, your success will be very short term.
On the other hand, a pulling mechanism does work…something in life that you are really attracted to and drawn to, and it has nothing to do with a health coach screaming in your face or a motivational speaker using his NLP to put you into a trance.
2. The “motivation” is not tied to changing the environment. We all have the ability to pull will power up, but if our environment is not redesigned in a way to help us reach our goal, we will do what anyone does who is trying to break a habit…we slip or relapse. If you are trying to lose weight, and your pantry is stocked with Famous Amos cookies, Reese Cups, Lays Potato Chips (you can’t eat just 1) and all of your favorite “fatty foods”, there is a very good chance on a bad, tired, stressed day that you will go to the pantry and go on an eating frenzy. The same holds true with the people in your environment…if they are not joining you in this goal and if they are eating your favorite foods, the mimic in you will follow them right to the pantry. To truly succeed with a goal, you really do have to change everything around you if you want to succeed.
3. Motivation is a form of pretending that you want to do something. If you are pretending you want to do something, just stop! On the other hand, if you have a goal that truly inspires you and stirs passion inside your soul, there is a great chance you will succeed with your goal. If you have been shamed or sent on a guilt trip to “get some motivation”, in about two weeks, you will find yourself right back in that trap. Standing in front of the mirror and pumping yourself up gets old, but when you are working on something so exciting that you dance out of the bed and out the door every morning, you are going to succeed…because you WANT to and you LOVE what you are doing.
So, I would love to hear some comments on this post. Just drop them below, and let me hear what you think.