Finding Your Motivation


One of the first questions I ask new clients: How are you motivated?

This results in one of two things – either an outpouring of information that may or may not be apologetic – or – a slightly blank stare often followed by an “I don’t know.” Asking you, dear reader: how are you motivated?

Now if you’re like any one of my clients, you might be floundering. It’s ok! Let’s work on finding – and activating – that motivation together.

What is it even?

First of all, you have to understand what motivation is: simply put, it’s the drive to achieve your goals or meet your needs. It’s affected by how much you want it, what you will gain, and what your expectations are. It’s safe to say that something you don’t want very much and yields a small amount of personal gain will also be lacking some of your motivation.

What gets you motivated?

Motivation is also a funny thing: everyone is motivated by something different! Take a moment and think about what gets you going to accomplish a goal? This can change whether you’re thinking about a goal that is focused on your career or personal life. This starts with a career goal – are you motivated by…



-meeting deadlines?


-coming up with creative ideas?

-leading a team?

-solving a difficult problem?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course! Just a jumping-off point. Now on to personal goals – are you motivated by…



-opinions of others?

-material items?



Take some time and think about what gets you working on things that you want to accomplish. Now, while this can vary between career and personal goals – it can also vary with goals! You might be motivated at work by money as well as by leading a team or solving difficult problems. Understanding what motivates you is key to getting motivated.

But I don’t know!

It’s ok if you don’t know what motivates you! If taking time thinking about what gets you working on things didn’t work, try this: the last time you accomplished something, what kept you trying even when the time got tough? For me, sometimes getting it done – not perfect, just done! – motivates me to make it happen. I don’t love leaving things unfinished. Sit with that reflection for a while, and see what comes up.


Once you understand a bit more about what motivates you – how do you NOW apply this to your goal? Deep breath – it’s easier than it sounds! Look at your goal and make sure it is specific, achievable, and timely. Now, think about how this goal fits in your life – how can you incorporate it into your every day? How can you break it down into smaller tasks? How can you get your family and friends to support you?

Now that you have that little goal setting 101 done – how do you let your motivations push your goals to a place of success? Simple: think about your why. Why do you want to accomplish that goal – and how does this fit into that time when things got tough and you kept going? Channel that into your goals and let it guide you to success.

A Caution

One quick word of caution before you run and accomplish all the things – when your motivation is internal instead of external, you’ll reach success more often. Examples of external motivation can be what other people think, how they feel, status – things that live outside of your control. When things are outside of your control, then, frankly, you can’t make it happen, it depends more on other people! (Whom you can’t control.) Finding internal motivation is key to a high level of success in goals!



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