Are You Fueled by Inspiration or Motivation?
Dear Success Seeker,
Have you ever had this experience? There is a project you need to do. It is important and must be done in the near future. In spite of this, you can't seem to get started on it. You delay, you procrastinate, you waste time on unimportant things. But for some reason, you just can't seem to dig into it.
If you can relate to this, you're not alone. I've coached hundreds of successful small business owners and financial advisors who experience this on a daily basis. They find it bewildering, frustrating, even discouraging; yet they can't seem to overcome the problem. Even worse, most of them beat themselves up for their poor discipline, which further diminishes their confidence and momentum.
Resolving this problem starts with understanding what is blocking you. Every goal you have consists of three components. The 'what' - your desired end result. The 'why' - your reason for doing it. And the 'how' - the steps or strategies for getting there. Of these, the 'why' is your essential fuel. It's what gets you into action - or not. If you are not taking action, it means your 'why' is not strong enough to overcome the resistance you have to doing the task.
You may think that the solution to this is motivation; if only you could get motivated! And motivation can work but it is unsustainable. Let me prove this. Bring to mind a situation where you feel you need to motivate yourself - maybe to get up earlier, to go to the gym or to do your taxes. Connect energetically with the task you're trying to get yourself to do. Can you feel the heaviness of it? Motivation is based on obligation; "I need to do this" or "I should do that." It has pressure or fear associated with it. Motivation can help you get things done in the short term, but in the long term drumming up motivation depletes your energy and leaves you exhausted.
The solution is to fuel yourself with inspiration instead of motivation. 'Inspire' means to breathe into. Motivation is external; inspiration comes from within. It is the difference between carrying wood to fuel a fire and spontaneous combustion. When you are inspired you don't need motivation; you just need to direct your abundant energy towards what it is you want.
So how do you get inspired?
The most powerful way is to have a compelling vision for the future. A vision takes your attention off the immediate tasks and challenges and pulls you towards an inspiring future. Imagine you were climbing a challenging mountain and you encountered a raging river you needed to cross. Would you need to motivate yourself to get across? Not likely! The river would simply be an obstacle to overcome so you could get to the summit. No big deal; you'd do whatever was necessary to get across then carry on towards your goal. In order for a vision to fuel you, it must truly be sourced from deep within. If you want it with your mind but not deep in your heart you will struggle, fail or burn out along the way.
If you don't have a compelling vision (and most people don't) another source of inspiration is having a clear life purpose. This means being connected to a certain shift you want to create in the world or of a contribution you want to make. For example, I know that my life purpose is to awaken, inspire and empower others to reach more of their own potential. When I am connected with that purpose it guides my decisions and energizes me to do whatever needs to be done.
Another source of inspiration is passion. When you are passionate about what you are doing, doing the work is effortless. Again, I am lucky in this department because I love almost everything I do.
If you must do something that is not connected to your vision, purpose or passion, first look for ways to delegate or avoid doing it. If that's not possible, you will simply have to motivate yourself to get it done. One thing that can help is to develop a habit related to your unpleasant task. For example, I really don't enjoy going to the gym however after I motivated myself to work out three times a week for a year or so it simply became part of my routine and my resistance decreased significantly. You can do the same with necessary tasks like marketing calls or doing paperwork, thus reducing the need for motivation.
At the end of the day, the only way to achieve your goals is to do whatever it takes. When you are fueled by inspiration you are more likely to achieve success and less likely to procrastinate or burn out.
To your success!
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
Would you like to receive private Business Coaching from Andrew?
Email Pam@ProCoachSystem.com or call 604-983-8041 for details
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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