Reasons Create Movement

I read a funny cartoon in Fast Company magazine a good while back.  It was of two fish swimming next to each other.  One of the fish had a hook dangling from its mouth.  That fish said, “Oh, it was a scary couple of minutes, but now I am making a fortune as a motivational speaker.” 

Several times over the years I have been referred to as a Motivational Speaker and at first I really didn’t care for it.  I had this image of a Motivational Speaker as being a kind of smarmy, slightly plastic and over-the-top “people person,” who sprinted through crowds giving everybody high fives, before ascending to the podium to share his rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story.  He or she might then encourage seminar goers to turn to their neighbor and repeat a soulful mantra like, “I am.  I will.  I can,” followed by a cleansing breath, a mindful hokey pokey, the sharing of a deep secret and a good cathartic cry.

But as I sought the fundamental meaning of being motivational, I came to realize that each of us has the need and the opportunity to be motivational every day of our lives. 

-        Good leaders are motivational 

-        Good parents are motivational 

-        Good sales professionals are motivational 

-        Good customer-service representatives are motivational  

-        Good teachers are motivational

I sure as heck better be motivational.  You better be, too.  Why else would others listen to us, utilize our services, hire us, be led by us?  

We each may be motivational, but the decision to be motivated is a personal choice.  I can’t motivate you and you can’t motivate me.  I may be motivational.  You may be motivational.  But truly, no one IS a motivator.  The only person who can actually motivate you is you. 

 “Motivation is a fire from within. 

If someone else tries to light that fire under you,

chances are it will burn very briefly.”

-- Stephen Covey

The word motivation can be broken down into two root words:  Motive and Action. 

Motive is an inner drive that prompts a person to act in a certain way.  Motive is the goal or object of one’s action.  Other words for motive include reasons, purpose, intention. 

Action is simply the doing of something.  Examples of actions include:   Do, rent, read, act, try, sign up, show up, eat, move.

Motivation, therefore, is the inner drive to act, to do, to try.

Reasons create movement.

As William Shakespeare wrote in The Life and Death of King John, “Strong reasons make strong actions.”  Often we fixate on a goal without giving enough focus and attention to the reasons behind the goal. 

It is not a goal that motivates us, but our internalized reasons behind the goal that propel us  to action.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge