Several years ago I was sitting in a seminar on motivation and the speaker asked how many of us, at any point in time, felt like we lacked motivation. There were about 50 people in the room and each of our hands shot up at the same time. As he continued to talk and our hands slowly receded, he asked a simple question “if you were in the water and someone was holding you under, how many of you would fight for air?” Again, each of us in the room raised our hands. He grinned slightly and then with the most comforting voice in the world, and a slight grin, he said “then none of you lack motivation – what you lack is the right inspiration.”
I have seen that example play out time and time again when clients, friends and family articulate goals. Whether it’s losing weight, becoming more active, addressing conflict, or pursuing professional advancement – if you’ve set a goal yet are not working toward that goal, then there are only two things that can be going on; either it’s not really a goal, or the inspiration you’re using to accomplish the goal is wrong. That’s it – it’s either one or the other. If you discover that the goal you’ve identified isn’t really a goal, then no big deal, just stop trying so hard to accomplish it – after all, you’re not really trying anyway, the only thing that’s happening is you’re experiencing a great deal of guilt for saying that you were going to do something and aren’t doing it. However, if it’s that the goal is really a goal and you’re sincerely struggling to adhere to your strategies, then it’s likely your inspiration that is awry.
For instance, a couple of years ago a client expressed a desire to lose 20 pounds yet no matter what strategy we implemented, he would report back that he wasn’t doing it. In fact, over the two months that he was trying to lose weight, he actually gained five pounds – yet he insisted that losing weight was indeed a goal. Over the next couple of conversations, we talked about how his goal came to be. Herein were the golden nuggets of his unsuccessful weight loss attempts. His wife was pressuring him to lose weight, his doctor had recently informed him that his cholesterol and blood pressure were dangerously high advising him to make changes in his diet and he had recently lost his father – who was also overweight. In other words, all of his motivators were rooted in what he “ought” to do – he was feeling external pressure to lose weight. No wonder he was having so much difficulty. As soon as we changed his “ought” motivators to things that were personally inspiring – such as his daughter feeling proud to have such a fit and handsome father walking her down the wedding isle – he not only peeled the 20 pounds off, he successfully implemented strategies for a healthier lifestyle, lowered both his cholesterol and blood pressure, and became more active and engaged with his wife! Changing his inspiration….changed his motivation and not only did he attain his goal he realized he’d set the bar too low and that pushing past them left him feeling healthier, stronger and more balanced!!
So, the next time you’re feeling like you lack motivation, or don’t have any energy or maybe are even feeling like you’re lazy……ask yourself if you’d fight for air if someone was holding you under water and if the answer is “yes” reevaluating your inspiration will be the difference between successfully attaining your goal – and not!
Have a magnificent weekend everyone and #LiveAlive!!!