So You Think You’re Motivated?

I’m big on straight to the point truth. In some instances this has served me well in life and others not so much (enter any assumption you may have, including that sometimes I say what I think and its not always the best thing. Ha!). The point I am trying to make is that I’ll shoot it to you straight, life is too short to do otherwise. And to be honest it is simply too exhausting to hold your hand and tell you what you want to hear. Now that you are aware of how I communicate I have something I want to discuss, and it is the difference between passion and motivation.

People reach out to me all the time asking me for great motivational books to read, or what gets me motivated, or how do I find motivation on days that I don’t have it. There is one key problem with asking me this question, and it is that I don’t believe in motivation. Motivation is often confused with excitement which is an emotion, a short lived one that often fizzles out. This “feeling” is great when it is present but often leaves people searching for how to see their goals through or a task through when they don’t “feel” motivation anymore. I have never read a book on motivation or for the purpose of being motivated, never listened to a podcast for it, never went to hear someone speak for it. I don’t suggest athletes I coach or others do it either. And I’ll explain as we go. (Inspired is a very different thing, that can be a different post.)

The reason I don’t need motivation is because I have passion about everything I actually choose to do in my life. A long time ago it was made obvious to me by parents, and other adults in my life that if you pursue things you are not passionate about that you won’t be happy. I learned this as a youngster and for some reason I really believed it and decided to live this way. As a by-product of this perspective I’ve always been ALL IN on things I choose to do. An example of this is my pursuing the NFL as a youngster. I wanted to play professional football. It wasn’t just that, I looked at the lives of those that made it there, what they had to have physically, mentally and what they had to DO or ACCOMPLISH in order to make it. I went after all of those things, I didn’t just dream about it, I acted. Not only did I act but I was in love (passionate) with what those actions were. I loved to play football, I loved to catch, I loved to throw, I loved to hit, run routes, sweat, bleed, train. I even loved the aspect of being from a small town and knowing that the stakes were that much more against me to make it. Part of that was seeing other NFL greats make it out of similar circumstances. Honestly I developed a passion for “working for what I wanted”.

Many times people view passion as an emotion. I view it differently. In “Latin” the term passion is referred to as “suffering”. If I pursue something I make sure it is something I am willing to “suffer” for. If we take this perspective, it certainly changes our decisions I hope! When you are merely motivated to do something there becomes an expectation that you will always “feel” like you want it, you will always associate success by performance or if you actually achieve it. When you have passion about something and you associate that choice with having the willingness to suffer for it then your perspective already frees you from when times aren’t so great, or you don’t “feel” like training but you will choose to anyway. Suffering means to experience or be subjected to something bad or unpleasant. Doesn’t sound so attractive does it? BUT when you have passion or you are passionate about what you pursue, and you recognize what you are pursuing as something GREAT, then isn’t suffering inevitable? We often hear that anything worth pursuing takes hard work, or at times is painful. Think about this in everything you do. What if you do want to be a CrossFit Games athlete or regional athlete one day? Don’t you expect that everyday you won’t “feel great”, there will be days when you are feeling tired, down, or even insecure about reaching that goal. But what can spur you along? You have to LOVE and have PASSION for the training, for the strife, for the struggle. You see, everyone experiences this even the best of the best, but they are those who continue on anyways. Those who have passion don’t need to hear a certain song, they don’t need to find a reason to train that day, they love it so much they can’t find a reason NOT TO.

What if you don’t want to be a Games athlete or make it to the NFL like me? Well I’ll tell ya what, neither of those things make me who I am or are even close to the top of the list of things I am passionate about. I am Husband, a Father, a Son, a Brother, a Friend way before I am an athlete. (How you do anything is how you do everything….also something I’ll save for another post.) And life gets hard and trying in each one of those aspects of my life. I am thankful that before I got married I had great men who had conversations with me about what it meant to be a husband, and if I wasn’t willing to suffer for my Wife, our relationship, our future family, if I didn’t have that PASSION then it shouldn’t be something I pursue. Be passionate about everything you do, it will ensure that no matter how hard, or even how successful you are, you will WIN. When there is passion pursuing any goal, you’ll love the journey more than the achievement.

Those with passion do. Those without passion try.

Keep your eyes peeled for the blog post on “How to find your passion!”