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Motivation or Inspiration: are you looking for the right thing?

This week I wanted to address the difference between motivation and inspiration, because while these two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some clear distinctions to be made. And this isn’t just some terminology lesson, but instead, I think it’s important that we’re aware of the difference so that we know what we’re really looking for and what we really need.

Just Google the word inspiration or motivation and you’ll get literally billions of results! It’s insane. And yet many of us continuously seek them out. We may like pages on social media that post these inspirational saying or motivational quotes all the time. We may watch videos with different speakers that inspire or motivate us. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But why? Why do we seek these things out? Do we really need these things?

So first, let’s look at the difference… Motivation is usually associated with doing something you don’t want to do, right? So you’re not motivated to clean your house, but then you see some Netflix show about minimalism or organization and decide to not only clean, but go crazy organizing everything in your home. You’re not motivated enough to update your website, but you just read someone’s story about some changes they made on theirs and how they have clients calling left and right; so now you’re motivated to make those changes on yours. So motivation is really the process of being stimulated to act in a specific way in order to achieve a specific goal. We’re pushed to do something. It’s all about action. Taking the steps to accomplish something. Inspiration, on the other hand, is driven by a passion to do something, or the fulfillment that comes with that end result of doing that thing. Have you ever had one of those clients that, when they explain how much better they feel, you just get an overwhelming sense of “THIS is why I do what I do!”? There’s something that stirs that passion, right?

Inspiration is about being influenced mentally and emotionally, drawing you toward a sense of fulfillment. Often times it’s something you don’t mind to do, but you just might need a reminder of WHY you want to do it. So while motivation is about the action, inspiration is about the result. And they go hand-in-hand. I have to be motivated in order to do the stuff I don’t want to do, but the inspiration behind the results I’ll get once I do all that stuff, is what will often drive me.

Now, while it’s great to look to others for some motivation or inspiration, don’t become dependent on it, or them. Much of this has to come from you. In all honesty, while it may help to read those quotes or listen to a speaker to get you over a hump, much of what drives you needs to be internal. If you’re constantly relying on someone else to give you that motivation or inspiration, then it may very well be time to step back and reevaluate what you’re working toward and why.

I know everyone hits slumps and it’s ok to have periods of time where you may really need that external push and pull to get you through because sometimes life and business just suck, but that shouldn’t be the norm. If you really can’t dig down deep and find your own motivation and inspiration to do the work and find that sense of fulfillment, then are you really working toward the stuff you want? Or is it something you think you’re supposed to want?

Now you may think this is rich, coming from me, but let me just clear something up. I am not a coach. A lot of people have the impression I am, but I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with coaches if that’s your thing and that’s what you feel you need. But I’m an educator. My job, and the purpose behind these videos and everything else I do, is to educate you. I hope that some of them give the kick in the pants kind of motivation you may need on any given day, or remind you of what inspires you, but I’m not some motivational speaker or someone who just wants to get up here in front of a camera and tell you how great you are and tell you all that you’re capable of. All that’s great, but my focus is on teaching you the how. It’s to show you point A and point B and give you the logistics of how to get from A to B.

So let me know what you think. Right now, today or this week or this month, what do you really need? Do you need to find some motivation? Or do you need to find your inspiration? And how can you find those in yourself instead of other people?

Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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