Tag Archives: why

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!

Hunger Up!

Five weeks ago I was sitting around… laying around… trying to figure out a way to reach my goals.

Should I try this new productivity system? Should I just write down my top three things to get done for the day? Or what about doing a little bit here and then doing a little bit there?


No… Maybe I can just focus on this one thing and that will work…

But it didn’t…

None of it worked…

It’s ridiculous how much of the last 6-7 years of my life I’ve been trying to find a way to be both happy and successful.

I could be happy, sitting around, binge watching TV shows, and smashing Dr. Peppers. Have a couple of beers and destroy a cheeseburger or two. The thing I realize now though, is that each of those little pleasures was always so short lived.

photo cred: Szabo Viktor

Yea they were fun, sure they made me happy, but as soon as they were over, so was the joy they brought me.

I could flip the switch though, right? I could say okay, “Today I’m going to just try to have one less soda” or “Today I’m going to eat a salad.” And I could do those things. I mean those aren’t challenging goals.

But the next day, I couldn’t repeat it. Like most people, I couldn’t show up day-after-day and so while maybe I could have one good day, I couldn’t find long-term success.

But here’s the secret… here’s the secret sauce to what changed all of that for me. The problem…?

I wasn’t hungry.


Not just hungry, I wasn’t starving.

Think about it. Who works harder for a meal. The guy that’s hungry or the guy that’s starving? That was me. I was hungry for more happiness… more success… but I was not starving for it.

I changed all that by defining, not just Why I was hungry, but Why I was starving.

Once I started looking at my goals from the perspective of starving for them. Everything changed. Instead of thinking, “what’s that next little bit I can do today?” I started thinking, “how much more can I do today?” I got so damn hungry that I felt like I was starving for it.

So sit your ass down, get out a piece of paper and pencil, and write down what you need to do today. Write right down Why you want to accomplish it. Write down Why you’re starving to get it done.

Then Hunger Up and go fucking get it!

photo cred: Randy Tarampi

Be a Closer

It’s December 31st, you’re counting down as the ball drops on the New Year and you’re telling yourself, “Tomorrow, I’m going to get up and go to the Gym. It’s a New Year and a new me!”

Tomorrow comes, you’re pumped up, you’re excited. You pack up, head to the gym and get a great workout in. It powers you through the day and into the next!

The next day you wake up and you’re starting to feel a little sore… But that’s okay, you get up and you head to the gym again. Another great workout in the books!

The third day comes around and DAMN are you feeling sore today. Those last two work outs kicked your ass and you know what? You did so good you say, “I earned a day of rest” and you take the day off.


The fourth day rolls around and you’re still sore. You say, “shit.. I’m still not fully recovered. I’m going to take one more day of rest.” And then the fifth day comes around… and the sixth day… the seventh…

And in one week. That new you is gone. Back to sleeping in. Back to skipping the gym.

This happens every single year, for thousands of people. And we see memes and jokes about these people, right? We see, “Brace Yourself!” memes because we all know that first week of the gym is going to be packed and we all know a few days from then it’ll be all cleared up and only the few will remain.

It’s amazing how many people can get fired up, inspired, and motivated to a level that they are willing to change their entire daily routine but they can’t close the deal. It’s amazing how many people can have a great new App idea, the next Best Seller idea, write a few pages or code a few lines and then quit.

It’s amazing how we can be so motivated to QUIT.

So I’ve been on this mission to figure out why. Why are we like this? What is it about our human nature that puts us right on this path with everything that we do? And how is it that some people don’t suffer from this sickness? How are some people living great lives, getting in great shape, making six figures, making a difference in the world?

And when I really dug in and I started looking at what some of the differences are between these people, it’s simple. It’s so simple that we just over-look why we’re not accomplishing our goals. Why we give up….


The reality of the situation is that your motivators are shit. You’re reasons for wanting to get in shape, or for wanting to be more successful, or wanting to work harder are a joke. It’s why you’re able to start up a great new goal and then give up the first time it gets hard.

You see quitting is a habit. And when we start quitting, when we grow up and our parents let us quit because its hard or because it’s not what we thought it was, we carry this with us into adulthood. And then when our job doesn’t workout like we want, we quit. When our workout gets hard, we quit. When our marriage gets tough, we quit. And millions of us are quitters.

And there’s only one real way to change this. You have to learn to be a CLOSER.

A Closer is someone whose specialty isn’t starting new projects but closing them out. A Closer comes in and finishes strong. A closer doesn’t give up, a closer doesn’t quit, a closer closes the deal. They get it done. They push and push and push until it’s done. When you become a Closer, your life changes. When you tell yourself it’s not about starting that new workout, it’s about closing on that work out, your whole perspective changes.

photo cred: Jose Morales

And if you need help becoming that Closer. If you’re not sure how to be that person that crosses the finish line, take a look at your Why’s.

And if you say, “I know my Why’s but they still don’t seem to help me Close Out” then maybe You’re Not Getting the Point.

You’re Not Getting the Point!

In my previous post about Finding Your Why we talked about reasons we struggle so much to reach our goals and how we need powerful, motivating factors to achieve them. Although… it’s not always that simple and like myself, many struggle to find their reasons why.

The most difficult and common struggle I find among myself, and others, is in laying out the why’s and motivating factors for our goals. Think about some of the goals you’ve ever set for yourself, or even that you’ve seen someone else set for themselves. How often do we hear or see, “I want to lose weight so I can look good” or “I want to write this book so I can be a best seller” or “I want to build this little app so I can make a million bucks.”

The common theme her is that it’s all about me, me, me, me and we say I, I, I, I….

And then, a challenge comes our way. A hurdle in our journey to accomplishing our goal comes along and what happens? We fold, we cave, we get beat down, and we fail to overcome our challenge. So why does this happen? Why can we be so motivated when we start on a new goal, that first few days in the gym for our New Year’s resolution, and then give up so easily?

But what about that person we see or know that’s out there crushing their goals? What about that athlete that over comes the odds and makes it into pro sports or that ‘A’ student who comes from a rough background or that business man who went from pennies to riches? What about those people? How come when they hit a hurdle in their journey they don’t fall off like the rest of us?

The secret, the secret sauce here, is that their Why’s, their list of reasons for achieving their goals is selfish AND SELFLESS. When you start to learn about these people who have achieved such great levels of success and you look at their list of Why’s not only does it contain personal motivators such as, “I want to be a great football player” but it contains a long listing of selfless motivators.

Think about times you’ve heard successful people give acceptance speeches. How often do we hear, “This is for my kids” or “I did this for my mama” or “I want to thank my dad for driving me to practice every day.” The reason these people are giving these speeches and crushing their goals is because they are motivated by something bigger than their own selfish wants.

You see what happens when you have these selfless motivators is that they tend to be bigger than you. The selfless motivators tend to take on a larger than life sort of role and this is what makes them so powerful. These selfless motivators give you a different set of power to aim towards your goals and then the next time you hit a hurdle or life punches you in the mouth, instead of staying on the ground or making excuses this selfless motivator pushes you through.

These selfless motivators have such a powerful drive behind them that they are literally the reason some people are successful at all. For some successful people, if you were to take them out of their environment and take away these motivators, they would be a regular Joe Schmo. These selfless motivators are the reason people push through their failures. Their the reason people get up earlier than anyone else, the reason some people hit the gym every day, the reason some people are out hustling all day and night.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe you should have a good mix of selfish and selfless motivators but I think the selfish ones come pretty easy. It’s the selfless motivators that we need to spend more time thinking on and sometimes they aren’t that easy to pinpoint.

My advice is to look at the world around you. Who around you might look up to you? Who around you might look to you for advice or example? What around you in the world, your community, might be bigger than you? Put that on your list of why’s and if you look at your list of why’s and all you see is I… I… I… then you’re not getting the point.

Find Your Why. Repeat your Why.

Why is it that accomplishing our goals and the things we know that we should do, so damn hard?

I’ve wrestled with motivation at various stages in my life. I’ve been on both extremes of the spectrum from highly motivated and engaged to “I don’t feel like doing shit today…

You see, Motivation works very much like a roller coaster and when you’re up, it’s great, but when you’re down… well it’s not so great. The problem with motivation is this roller coaster ride. It’s also the reason it’s so hard to stick to our diets, quit smoking, learn that new habit, or accomplish anything that requires great or consistent effort.

We’re constantly subjective to this wave of motivation and until we can make a change in this area, we’ll always be influenced by it. Motivation helps us get that new diet started but when things get harder, when temptation kicks in, when the workout gets tougher, that same motivation doesn’t ever seem to be enough to push us through.

And that’s exactly where our problem lies. You see our Motivation, when it first inspires us, is so strong that it’s enough to get us to initiate a change in our lives. It’s the upward ride of the roller coaster.

Maybe we had a moment where we felt unattractive with our weight or we felt guilty for not spending time with someone we love. Whatever it was, it was powerful and that motivation drove us to start that process of change…

And then after a while… a couple of days… a couple of hours… we lose that motivation. It fades away and with it goes our ability to make a change. And then the next hurdle comes in journey of change and now we don’t have nearly enough motivation to overcome this adversity.

So how do other people do it? How do great athletes do it? How do successful actors and musicians accomplish so much? How does that blogger on Instagram get up everyday and hit the gym?

Their secret, the reason they are able to overcome that next hurdle, is that they keep their motivation so high that they never ride the downward side of the roller coaster. When they step onto the road to change, for them, the ride is always up.

At first it seems hard to understand how they do this. How do they keep their motivation up? How do they keep it from coming down and avoid that roller coaster?

They have an enormous WHY. What do I mean by this? They have a situation, in their lives, a moment, a history, that is so impactful, so motivating for them, that they are able to stay at the top of their game day-after-day.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, Inquoris Johnson, Marshall Mathers, Mike Tyson… the list goes on and on and on. Each of these people are highly motivated, Extremely Motivated in their lives and the reason why is because they had difficult, rough lives first.

These challenges gave them a reason to push back and to push harder and for them, it wasn’t a roller coaster. It never was a roller coaster because everyday when they woke up, life was hard. Their motivation was right there in their faces and they had no choice but to live it. So when they grew up, they were raised in an environment that demanded they stay highly motivated to ever have a chance to survive.

How do the rest of us tap into this? How do we capture this level of motivation when not all of us are going to come from a rough background. How do we find that same motivation? The best way to do this is to answer this one simple question… Why?

Why do you want to accomplish what you are setting out to do? Why does it matter at all? Why do you care? Why, Why, Why, WHY?

And answer this question multiple times, every day. Don’t just think of one reason why. Write down your reasons why. Write down four, five, ten reasons why you want to what you want to do and then as life changes, as you grow, add to your list of why. Remove things that no longer motivate you from your list of why and replace them with new motivators.

And once you have your why’s the next step is to put them on repeat in your life. Make it so that every day, every morning, every evening, every night, you look at this list of why’s. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, Inquoris Johnson, Marshall Mathers, and Mike Tyson had to wake up everyday and live their reasons why, you should be doing the same.

Find your WHY. Repeat your WHY.