Action Catalyst Blog

The Myth of Motivation


True or false: You must be a great motivator to be a great leader.

There is a myth that lives out there in the world that tells a leader it’s their responsibility to motivate their team. But motivation is greatly misconstrued. There are a lot of inaccurate insights about motivation.

People think that motivation is something that you either have or you don’t. That motivation is something that lives inside your core character, or doesn’t.

I disagree with that.

I believe everyone has motivation inside of them. The problem is they don’t have goals to inspire them.

Think about it this way: the amount of our endurance is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision.

If we have a crystal clear vision for our life, then there is naturally a strong connection between the sacrifices we must make today to have our goals met in the future.

This then creates a context for action to take place. Our discipline engages automatically. Our motivation comes alive – it activates in the context of that vision.

If we don’t have a clear vision of our life then there is no reason for those short-term sacrifices because there is no pay off that we can see.

Discipline becomes dormant in the absence of a dream.

So as a leader, we don’t have the power to motivate people. What we can do is help people clarify their vision. If we can focus on their vision and help them create a plan to get them where they want to be, it’s more likely that they will become motivated because of it.

Help create a vision for somebody, put a plan in front of them to help them accomplish that vision, and revisit that plan regularly and you will find that their motivation has come alive.

That is all you can really do as a leader. That is the great myth of motivation.

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