A recent email from a friend/former client, combined with something that arose during a talk I gave to a professional group last week, led me to today’s topic. In talking to the group, I mentioned the need for us to change our thinking from “I should” to “I want.” That seemingly simple semantic switch (say that 5 times fast) can completely change the dynamics of making choices about what we really need to take care of ourselves, whether it be lose weight, get active, eat well, drink less, whatever is our particular demon. But my friend’s email, in which she forwarded a newsletter from Michael Neill, a life coach , added a bit more substance to this conversation (at least in my head).
He talks about three motivations for any action you take or goal you pursue. In his words, there are only three movations. That’s all.
1) Desperation – Because you have to
2) Rationalization – Because you should
3) Inspiration – Because you want to
He shares a number of his thoughts on each of these motivations. One of my favorites is “the number of reasons you have to do something is inversely proportional to how much you actually want to do it.” And this from George Bernard Shaw, “Reasonable men adapt themselves to circumstances, whilst unreasonable men persist in attempting to adapt circumstances to themselves. That is why all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.”
At Green Mountain at Fox Run , we’ve long encouraged women to stop ‘shoulding’ on themselves. It’s hard, but changing this kind of negative self-talk can go a long way towards helping you actually get where you want to go. Neill has a great experiment to help you determine and examine the motivation behind your actions and goals, but when trying to access it on his site, I see that it requires a subscription. So I won’t repeat it out of respect that this is the way this guy earns a living. But to entice you a bit more to explore his site to see if it looks like it’s worth $99 a year to you (my friend thinks his stuff is mostly ‘on the money’), here’s a little ditty he penned to end his e-letter on motivation.
If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
If you do want to, you don’t have to.
But you could, because you can.
And if you can and you want to,
You probably will.