“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
Enthusiasm. Inspiration. Passion. Motivation. Excitement.
Just reading those words, don’t you feel a little more energy in your body and mind? And if you think about their opposite—boredom, cynicism, apathy, numbness—don’t you feel that energy go dead?
I don’t have to tell you how much easier and more fun it is to do anything when you feel motivated and inspired. You know it’s true from your own life experience. Even if whatever you’re doing takes a lot of effort, it feels more like play than drudgery or work when you feel enthusiastic about it.
But too many of us live most of our lives without tapping this energy. We go to work, we do our errands and chores, we exercise or do those other things that are “good” for us simply because we’re supposed to. We plod along, doing the best we can, but without experiencing the real juice of life.
Maybe we feel like something’s missing but we don’t know what can be done about it.
Every once in a while, we stumble into feeling excited and motivated. We attend a great lecture or read an inspirational book. And for a short while, we get to feel the juice we’ve been missing. We get all pumped up! But within days—or minutes!—that alive, excited feeling fades.
The problem is that most people don’t know that the energy of motivation isn’t just for “special occasions” or certain activities. It’s always ready and available to be tapped. We don’t have to wait for a particular circumstance to feel it. Inspiration is like the sun on an overcast day. It hasn’t gone anywhere. We just need to get above the clouds to experience it again.
As the highly-acclaimed French footballer Arséne Wenger points out, “When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.”
So how do you get to the place of consistency in motivation?
- Connect your daily activities to your purpose.
Recently, I wrote about finding your purpose. For many people, keeping in constant touch with their purpose keeps that energy of inspiration lit within them. They take all of the activities of their life and connect them directly to the purpose that they are committed to. For example, I’m excited about exercise so I can stay healthy and have the energy to fulfill my purpose to empower others to transform the world. I’m motivated to get on that plane to get to my next training because I’ll be able to empower my students to transform the world. I feel inspired to write my articles and books because I know they will empower others to transform the world. Get the drift?
To me, the connection between my purpose and my activities is very tight. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself of this connection but for the most part, I don’t even think about it.
But if you haven’t yet made that tight connection between all you do and your purpose, it’s not that difficult to do. Simply remember to ask yourself, “How does this activity support my purpose?” Rather than seeing picking up your dry cleaning as a dreaded chore, ask “How does having a clean and sharp suit to wear support that purpose I really care about?”
- Create inspiration rather than waiting for it.
I have a writer friend who claims she would starve to death if she waited until she was inspired to sit down and write! But if she puts herself in the arena and just starts writing, and if she reminds herself how her work can uplift and entertain others, she knows she can coax inspiration to her.
Some people use physical movement or exercise to get juices flowing. Other people find that certain music or getting out in nature makes them feel motivated. Still others use inspirational quotes or visualizing their goals. Find what works for you and add it to your routine. You’ll be amazed how much more energy you feel—and how much more enjoyable your tasks are and life becomes.
- Put enthusiasm on speed-dial.
In my Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) trainings, I teach a technique called “Anchoring,” Though it’s often more effective if guided by a qualified NLP practitioner, try these steps on yourself:
- Create a movement or touch to act as your “trigger.” It might be touching your left elbow or pinching your fingers together.
- Now think of a time when you felt totally enthusiastic. Keep thinking about it until you actually feel that sensation of enthusiasm in your emotions and your body.
- As the feelings of enthusiasm grow, activate your “trigger” (touch the elbow or pinch your fingers together). Release your trigger as soon as you feel the sense of enthusiasm fading.
- Repeat steps #2 and #3 with a different time when you felt totally enthusiastic.
- Now without thinking of anything in particular, activate your trigger. Notice the feeling of enthusiasm welling up in your emotions and body.
Next time you’re about to start a task or activity that has felt blah or burdensome in the past, activate your trigger to fire up your enthusiasm!
Until next time. . .