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The key to developing a winning emotional mindset is to change how we think about motivation.

True motivation comes from deep inside ourselves. When it comes from the core of our being, we are fully involved in setting goals and achieving them.

I see a lot of people who feel they need more motivation. The specifics vary. One person may want more motivation to pursue an aggressive growth strategy for the company she owns. Another may seek the motivation to do what it takes to change careers. Yet another may be troubled by his lack of motivation to make a firm commitment to a relationship...

While the situations are different, there is often a common point. We tend to experience lack of motivation as a deficiency of some sort, the way we’d need more vitamins if we had a vitamin deficiency. “I don’t have enough motivation, I need more of it.”

Football coaches can almost literally pour motivation on their team before a game. How does it work? Pep talks make you feel like you’re part of something larger than yourself. You feel that all the other team members are stirred by the same energy. The group’s energy in turn inspires each person to go the extra mile.

When the football coach gives a pep talk to the whole team, he’s not literally “giving” them a motivation they don’t have. He’s reminding them that they actually have a motivation for being together: it is to play as a team, and to win. He may be rousing, forceful, convincing… he may have to overcome fear or discouragement… but he is playing on the fact that the team basically exists because of a common goal that transcends individual goals.

Now, imagine the same football coach using the same words and the same tone of voice he was using with the whole team to address an individual player. There probably would not be much of a connection: the individual player would feel that the coach is talking at him, not to him.

To deal with an individual as opposed to the whole team, you’ve got to pay attention to what makes this individual tick. You cannot simply assume that all this individual wants is the good of the team as a whole.

What is it that makes you tick?

What is it you want, and don’t want? What is it you like, and don’t like? This is what your real motivation is: getting what you want.

Making more money, growing your business, getting married… all of these things are wonderful goals. But if you find yourself “lacking motivation”, it probably means that you want something else. So it makes a lot of sense to pause and pay more attention to what you really want.

Many of us feel scared about asking ourselves this question. The fear is that there may be a deep conflict between what we want and what we must do to stay alive and solvent. It feels safer to put blinders on; this way we avoid the attraction of falling out of the path.

What happens when we go beyond this fear? More often than not, we discover that our reluctance is not about rejecting the goal we’re having trouble with, but an invitation to find a way to make adjustments that work for us. And, in those cases when it’s about making a radical change: now, at least, we’re dealing with it consciously.

My experience is that dealing with lack of motivation in this way actually strengthens our ability to deal with the challenges of life, business and relationships.

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