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December 9, 2009
The Mystery of Motivation

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily".
– Zig Ziglar

As a coach working with individuals, I am always amazed to witness how we as human beings hold the word and concept of “motivation” like some illusive mystery or outside force. We wait for its arrival, similar to how a little child waits for the tooth fairy to arrive and leave them some money. If it was that easy, we would all be happy and most likely wearing dentures.

Easy it may not be, but “Motivation” is not illusive and not a mystery.

Have a Goal:
To be motivated is to be inspired. To be inspired, one needs vision that propels them into action. When we are not motivated we are not in action, simple as that. If you know what you really want to make happen you have taken the first step towards taking the actions necessary to succeed.

Have a Vision:
Our minds are very powerful. And often, what we focus on is what we get. So start focusing on success and your goals. Visualize yourself achieving your goals. Do so in great detail.

Jim Carey, comedian and actor, took this a step further. He wrote himself a check for ten million dollars for “Services Rendered”, dated it, and kept it in his pocket. When times were tough he would sit on a hillside overlooking Hollywood and imagine himself as a famous movie star. Then he’d reread his check as a reminder of his goal. A few years later he signed a deal for more than ten million dollars to star in The Mask. The date? Almost identical to the one written on the check that he kept in his pocket. Coincidence? Maybe but consider it is one simple tool he used to keep himself focused and motivated.

Don’t Get Stopped:
True success is following and achieving your dreams in life but it comes with small footnote we rarely choose to acknowledge and that is staying motivated in the face of some circumstance, challenge or obstacle. I invite you to read on and discover what your life and our world may have been without the following individuals motivation.

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through "a minute-and a half" of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. This to the sister of one of his friends for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn't stop him from completing over 800 paintings.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Jordan once observed, "I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was "too awkward and clumsy." He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

In his first professional race, cyclist Lance Armstrong finished . . . drum-roll. . . last. He made up for this lackluster first effort by being the only man to win the Tour de France six consecutive times.

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" – Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

See what’s possible for you in staying motivated in the face of failure?

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Joshua Miller was a senior creative executive for over twelve years. He has worked in challenging creative environments in a variety of industries with a wide range of professionals. Currently, he is an executive and personal life coach and CEO/founder of myinstantCOACH.com.


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