Need motivation? Let Inspiration Fuel Your Fire
We’re high performers on a mission: when we know what we want we usually get it. We know the drill -- intensely focused on our goals, we drive ourselves until we get the outcome we want. That clarity of purpose guides our steps, and we experience significant progress, if not success, along the way. When we simply need to get things done, motivation can help us check the boxes on a to-do list. This kind of system has its place in our world, in times when pre-defined action is needed. Motivation can move us towards goals, real-time.
But what happens when motivation starts to wane? Motivation is primarily an externally driven and often limited concept. It does help us move from inertia to activity and gets us to task completion. But what do we growth-minded, dynamic people do when we need to feel moved from a deeper place in order to take action? We need something more than motivation.
To go the distance, we need to look for the ease of inspiration rather than what can feel like the pushing and striving of motivation. We need to connect with our core values that are constant and real by remembering what uplifts us from deep within whether we’re in action or in reflection. Inspired by the foundational principles that guide our lives, we take action in alignment with them and move more easily towards what we want.
The road to our desires is never linear. If it appears so, it’s our perception that leads us to believe that we have control over outcomes. It might feel more comfortable initially, when we look ahead, to believe that continuing blindly towards a goal will get us there. In truth, unforeseen events invariably alter that path and a broader vision -- a connection to what inspires us -- will allow us to continue on in the face of challenges. By simply looking at the endpoint, we may lose sight of where we are going and even why we are going there. Instead, if we get on our metaphoric surfboard of purpose and inspiration, the waves of the unexpected will flow under us as we continue on our path.
Inspiration implies a mental stimulation to do or feel something, as well as the drawing in of breath. Just like the beating of our heart, we don’t need to think about breathing, it just happens. Using only motivation as a force for success can take our breath away, stripping us of our natural power, and hindering our progress. As is written in the Tao Te Ching, “The force that is forced is not the true force.” Inspiration -- as does the breath -- moves through us in an endless flow of creative potential. Allowing, not resisting, that flow empowers us high performers to go beyond even what we may have believed to be possible. This is the magic of true power.
We can learn from the marathon runner. Although she wants to win, a focus on doing her best -- not necessarily the best -- will optimize her results and confidence. A coach or friend might provide helpful short-term motivation from the sidelines. However, remembering why she runs in the first place, listening to her heart, will allow her to continue, even in those challenging moments. Running her best race depends on an ability to pace her speed appropriately for a long journey, while being fully in the present moment, listening carefully to mind and body, listening to her breath. She will have an even greater possibility of realizing her true potential.
So when you feel stuck or de-motivated, even if you’re not an athlete, check in to remind yourself of your larger purpose by taking stock of what’s most important to you. What inspires you? Family? Success? Health? Pleasure? Taking a deep breath, then making choices that support those core principles will keep you happily inspired and moving towards what you truly want.
You just might discover that inspiration will give life to your most profound desires, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.