The Truth about Motivation

Let me guess, you started your ‘something’ two years ago and now there is one year left to go and you have no motivation to get it finished? If this is you… read on because a friend of mine has some great advice.


Do you have a friend you wish you broke bread with more; because when you do you always walk away feeling like your life just expanded? I am lucky enough to have a friend like this, and today was one of those bread-breaking days.

Recently I had breakfast with Ian Robbins. Ian is an unsuspecting wizard of words and encouragement, he tells a great story, and can relate to anybody. I put this down to his life experience – he is father of two, husband of Lyn, an ex-long-haul truck driver, a self-employed counselor (see Talk Affects), and is 60 going on 20.

What I like most about Ian… he is a “the glass is always full” kind of guy. Ian has overcome (initially I wrote suffered but that’s a poor choice of word) serious mobility issues for as long as I’ve known him, but you wouldn’t think so by talking with him, because he always is, and always has been “Spectacular.”

We met and worked together from 2008-2010 at NatRoad – The National Road Transport Association, and one conversation back then, was the catalyst for my career change into Sport and Exercise Science. To me, he is the best guy you have never heard of.

During our conversation he stated/asked, “I’ve haven’t got the faintest idea of what Strength and Conditioning Coaching is, but can you tell me why you like doing what you do?”

“Because I enjoy making a positive contribution to the lives of others – I love helping people achieve what they are committed to”, I said.

Honestly, I think the source of it comes from when I was a young lad in Bombala; when I needed to make the transition from good golfer to great golfer; I wasn’t aware of my opportunities, nor the resources around me to help pursue my sporting desires. So being that resource for others is a gift I am very willing to give.

Often my most rewarding moments are not even bigger, faster, stronger related; the best moments come when a young athlete presents with a life problem distracting them from the task at hand, or they are unmotivated to train. I thoroughly enjoy this ‘softer-side’ to being a strength and conditioning coach, just as much as the strength and power stuff.

After I mentioned my desire to strike motivation in others, Ian enthusiastically chimed in, and shared his thoughts on the matter. I’ve done my best to do his words justice. I loved what he had to say, and I hope you do as well. Enjoy.

The Truth about Motivation – by Ian Robbins

More of often than not, clients have come to see me upset because they have lost the motivation to keep going at their job, or their studies, or their marriage for example.

When a case of this flavour presents itself I’ll usually interrupt and say something along theses lines… “Let me guess, you started your (insert any commitment here) teaching degree two years ago, and now you can’t understand why you’re in this position – one year to go and no drive whatsoever to get it finished.”

At this point, their eyes will widen and they’ll say, “Exactly! How did you know?” From hereon in I know they are ready to listen, so I’ll begin to explain, my version of what motivation is, and why so many people ‘lose it’.

Lets start off by breaking down the word – Motive-ation. By definition, the word motive – is something that causes a person to act in a certain way, or do a certain thing, etc.

Said a different way – a motive is a catalyst for initial action; it is the incentive to start; or the spark of a new beginning. Get my drift? What a motive is not… a motive is not continued action, and a motive is definitely not discipline.

I ask my clients, “Why did you start your (insert any commitment) teaching degree two years ago?” The response is any of the following:

  • I thought it would make my parents proud, because that’s what they did.
  • My friends/family told me it was a good idea.
  • Teachers get lots of holidays.
  • I couldn’t get into anything else.
  • The money is good.

Unfortunately for my clients, none of these motives hold up over time because the motive from two years ago is not a motive that ignites some fire within NOW! Sound familiar?

Form here, I am usually asked, “So what do I do? How do I fix this?

My advice is this… If you cannot reconnect to your initial motive, then you may as well move on now. You’re on board a sinking ship, therefore find what lights you up and do that instead.

The Truth about Motivation – Take Home Points

  1. If you are feeling unmotivated to complete your commitments, reflect on your motive to start in the first instance.
  2. If your initial motive is not your current motive – move on.
  3. If your initial motive is the same current motive that lights you up – you’re in the right place so carry on solider!

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