Tag Archives: Inspiration

When Motivation Fails

Motivation is such a double edged sword. On the one side, motivation gets us going. It gets us started. It’s what ignites and lights the spark that makes us want to take on a new endeavor. It gears us up for finally making a change in our lives and it sets us on the path to victory.

On the other side, it fizzles out after the initial burst. It’s enough to get us started, but not enough to keep us going. It’s enough to to take us out for dinner but not enough to ask us to move in together. It’s there when things are romantic but disappoints us when things get real.

Motivation you son of a bitch…

So what do we do? How can we get motivation to take the long ride, drop down on one knee, and stay with us forever?

The truth is, we can’t.


See motivation doesn’t actually work like we’re trying to make it work. Motivation isn’t meant to be there for the long haul. Motivation’s purpose isn’t to settle down with us and have kids. That’s just not who motivation is meant for.

Motivation is meant to simply be the spark that ignites the fire. It’s only meant to get things going, to start the motor, but to keep the motor going you need more than just a spark and some lighter fluid. You need something more powerful than motivation…

Living off motivation is the key mistake so many people make when it comes to changing their lives. They want motivation to do all the heavy lifting. They want motivation to wake them up every day and help them get going. They want motivation to push them through the tough times and inspire the to go the extra mile… but it just doesn’t work that way.

If you think it works that way you’ve been watching too many Nike commercials.

If you think it works that way, ask yourself, how many times has motivation got you started, but failed to pull through in moments of adversity and challenge?

Motivation is going to fail you when it comes to sustaining your goals. It always will. It always will because that’s not what motivation is for.


What you need to be looking for is something beyond motivation. Something that is bigger and more powerful than motivation, that will drive you through and past adversity and challenges. What you need is something that is bigger than personal motivation. Bigger than yourself.


Because adversity is often bigger than we are. Challenges are bigger than we are. If they weren’t bigger than our current selves, they wouldn’t be much of a challenge and that’s the whole point. A challenge is a challenge because it’s bigger than you… and to overcome that, you need something bigger than the challenge.

The only way to overcome those challenges is to have the tools that are bigger than our current selves and the current challenges we’re facing. To find those tools, you need to find Powerful Why’s.

photo cred: Eila Lifflander

When you’re facing a challenge and you have Powerful Why’s that drive you beyond that challenge, the whole game changes.

When you’re working hard to make money because you’re poor and your family is starving, you’re on a different level than someone living middle class.

When you’re hitting the gym and losing weight because your doctor told you your health is at risk, you’re a different person than someone who just wants to look good in the mirror.

When you have a Powerful Why, you’re on a whole new level than someone whose doing what you’re doing purely based on motivation.

Now that doesn’t mean we have to be starving or our health be at risk to have a Powerful Why. We can find and develop Powerful Why’s in our own lives from our own situations or we can adopt them from other people. And once we have them, I promise you, the game will change for you.

If you’re struggling to find your Powerful Why’s reach out to me and let’s talk. Leave a comment, send an email, or DM me and let’s figure out what your Powerful Why’s are!

How to Have the Worst Workout

You know that feeling you get right before you know you need to go do your workout? Maybe it’s in the morning when your alarm is going off or maybe it’s right after work at 5 o’clock.

And you think about the day you had at work and you’re just like, “damn today was rough” or “I didn’t sleep for shit last night…” and you tell yourself that you’ll just skip today’s workout but you promise, you PROMISE you’ll get tomorrow’s workout in.

And then tomorrow comes, the stars are still not aligned, you think about how much of a pain in the ass your workout is… and you skip again. And again. And pretty soon you’re right back where you started, sitting on the couch, wishing you could figure out how to get your act together and questioning why the hell you can’t seem to make working out, work out.

photo cred: Bruno Nascimento

I’ve been there. I’ve been in those shoes. I’ve got three kids ranging from 1 to 15 years old. I know what it’s like to be out of gas. I know what it’s like to have a crazy busy day at work or to not get any sleep at night. I walk in those shoes almost every single day.

BUT here’s the trick.

Go have the shittiest workout that you can.

Literally… half-ass put on your workout gear, don’t even go to your gym if you don’t want to, and do 1% of your workout.

Do 1 pushup or 1 squat or 1 crunch. Walk 1 set of stairs or do 1 jumping jack.

Do 1% of your workout.

Because the real key to success in anything that you do is showing up. Showing up is like 90% of the difference maker. If you show up every. single. day… even if you do it in a shitty way, you’re already out performing 90% of the people you know.

How many people do you know that go to the gym every single day? How many people do you know that workout, every… single… day…?

If you just show up, even if it’s at 1%, you’re already 1% better than you were before.

Just show up.

Just go do it.

photo cred: Jonathan Borba

Go have the worst workout you can possibly have and do it every day. I promise you, if you do this, if you show up, even when you don’t want to. Your workout will stick. It will stick because you won’t see it as this huge unclimbable mountain anymore. It’ll stick because you know how easy it can be to do 1 pushup or 1 situp. It’ll stick because you’ll make showing up a habit and habits die hard.

So go do your workout today. Go do your 1%. The stars are not going to be aligned for you every single day. You are not going to feel 110% every single day. It just doesn’t work like that so stop trying to make it work like that.

Show up, do 1% and then show up again tomorrow. Keep showing up.

You’re Going to Get Punched in the Mouth

It’s a fact of life.

There are going to be times when life is going to knock you down. There are going to be bad days, off days, down days, and rain days. For some of us it’s once in a while and for others it’s every. single. day.

Sometimes it happens when we feel like we’re on top and sometimes it happens when we’re already down. Sometimes it comes from complete strangers and sometimes it comes from those that are already close to us…

What I’ve learned is that the more you try to put yourself out there, the more you try to do, the more you try to better yourself…

The more that punches are going to come your way… the more snide comments you’ll hear… the more people will talk shit about you… the more questions you’ll get about why you’re doing what you’re doing…


“Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.”

~ Mike Tyson

And like Big Mike says… what’s your plan after you’ve been punched in the mouth?

Mike wasn’t saying that because you’ve been punched your plan is lost. Mike was asking what your plan was after you’ve been punched? What’s your plan for how you’re going to respond when life punches you in the mouth?

The lack of a plan is why a lot of people struggle to be Closers. People have no problem starting something. Starting a workout routine, starting a marriage, starting a blog, starting a project… but then they get punched in the mouth and they’re ready to step out.

They flat out back down.

They’re no longer the person they said they were when they said this is what they were all about.

It happens so often, so much, it literally plagues millions of people around the world. As soon as something gets tough… as soon as it doesn’t go exactly the way someone pictured it… they quit.

So here’s the trick to coming back after getting punched in the mouth. You have to have a plan. You have to have a plan for how you are going to respond when you get punched. And here’s the thing you can do to plan for when that punch is going to come and how to respond to it.

Stand up and say Fuck ’em

Mike Tyson is not one of the greatest boxers of all time because of a highlight tape. He’s not one of the best just because he could throw a big punch. He didn’t make it to the top because he could beat anyone’s ass (even though he probably could).


Mike went to the top because when he got punched, he stood back up, and he said Fuck that Noise. He didn’t quit or bitch out because the fight got tough. In fact he did the exact opposite. He came back and fought even harder.

That one aspect of Mike’s attitude got him to the top. Without it… if Mike had said, “man I really don’t like getting punched” he would never have made it anywhere in his life.

photo cred: Louis Smit

So the next time life punches you in the mouth… the next time life shits on you… the next time someone tries to bring you down…. stand back up… say Fuck it and go back out there and keep working at what you want to achieve.

If you missed your work out this morning, go do it tonight. If someone said something that made you feel bad, go prove them wrong. If someone tried to tear you down, go stand even taller.

Be ready to take your punches and then be ready to say Fuck ’em and come back even harder.

How I’ve Managed to Stay Motivated Day After Day

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing a number of practices on how I’ve managed to stay motivated and focused towards my goals. From finding Selfless Why’s and Setting Deadlines to Being Hungry and Being a Closer.

All of these are big picture concepts that you HAVE To have if you’re going accomplish anything. These ideas focus on what it takes in the long run to get it done. BUT, we also need to have a way to keep ourselves going in the midst of the day-to-day chaos.

With 3 kids and a dog it sometimes feels like all my wife and I do are laundry, dishes, dinner, diapers, sports practice, homework, and more… In reality, each of these things usually only takes anywhere from a couple of minutes to half-hour.


The crazy part of all of it is how it comes at you all at once from every angle. How we have to go right from cooking dinner to changing a diaper to doing the dishes to getting everyone in the bath to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing…

This makes it extremely difficult to stay focused on any thing really. It’s easy to be highly motivated when you don’t have life asking a hundred things from you but when life is coming at you at 100 mph it can become very easy to suffer from fatigue.

This happens for others in different ways too. I see it all the time in the workplace where people go hard from 8-to-5 doing as much as they can in as many places as they can. Work is coming at them at 100 mph and then we they do get off at 5 o’clock they’re hit with fatigue. The last thing they want to do is go do more work on any goals.

photo cred: Abbie Bernet

When we tend to start these goals for ourselves, I’ve found that they typically occur when we’ve got some extra free time on our hands. A Saturday afternoon where we’ve been able to get caught up on chores and we’ve got some extra time in the day. These seem to be the times we start to come up with those new workout plans or that next project we want to start. When we have that free time our motivation seems to be at it’s peak.

But that motivation that we had on Saturday afternoon when we had all that extra free time is suddenly gone when 5 PM Monday hits. Monday has a tendency to come in and kick our asses and after the day is over we look back and say, “man… I really wanted to work on my passion project but today kicked my ass. I deserver a little rest…

The truth is… you don’t need that rest. The truth is you need your motivation back. You need that same motivation and inspiration you had when you first started putting this idea together on that Saturday afternoon… And here’s how you get it back:

Portable Inspiration

Portable Inspiration is the number one daily trick I use to stay focused every single day… time-and-time again… over-and-over… For me, that Portable Inspiration comes from my headphones.

I have a short playlist of clips that are extremely motivating for me and whenever I find that I’m starting to get distracted, starting to get off course a bit, or caught up in the day-to-day of life. I put my headphones on, I put my playlist on, and it brings me right back to that moment when I first started this journey.

photo cred: Jason Leung

Think of your Portable Inspiration like your compass towards your goals. When you start to feel like you’re getting off track, when you feel like you’re starting to doubt yourself, or starting to make excuses you need to get back on course and your Portable Inspiration should be your tool to get it done.

So what can you use for your own personal Portable Inspiration? My strongest suggestion would be to pick something that is:

1) Portable

2) Emotionally Inspiring

For me it’s my playlist. For you, it might be a picture of your kids, it might be a picture of yourself at a time where you were unhappy, it could be a song, or a podcast. It could be a scene from a movie or a paragraph from a book.

Whatever it is, it needs to be something you can take with you wherever you go so that you can pull it out as many times a day as you need to. Portable.


It also needs to be something that triggers an emotional response for you. If it doesn’t give you that feeling in the back of your throat where it feels like you’re swallowing your heart, then it’s NOT going to be powerful enough to motivate you and guide you back towards your goals. It HAS to be EMOTIONALLY INSPIRING. I wrote that in caps so you understand how important this piece is.

So go figure out what your Portable Inspiration is going to be and find a way to keep it with you every day all the time and then… use it. When you wake up, use it. When you go to lunch, use it. When you get off work, use it. When life is getting crazy, use it. When life is getting shitty, use it.

And before you lay your head down to start the next day, use it.