Why I Don’t Use Motivation

Do you ever find yourself getting caught up in all of the “motivation” information out there?

One day, I did a quick Google search of “how to be motivated” brings up over 200 million results, in addition to scores of subtopics like “how to stay motivated” and “how to motivate yourself.”

So why don’t I use motivation?

Let me share a story worth telling to illustrate…

Several years ago, I gave a talk as a keynote speaker at a conference for a multi-billion dollar network marketing company. After my presentation, one of the top leaders of the company came up to me and said: “Noah, I took six pages of notes while I was listening to you speak. That was one of the best presentations I've ever heard.”

“Thank you very much,” I said.

Then she said something that day that I’ll never forget. She said, “But there’s something wrong.”

Uh oh, I thought. Here it comes.

She said, “In our program, it says you’re a ‘motivational’ speaker. But you're NOT a motivational speaker. You're a motivating speaker.”

I said, “Wow, no one’s ever said that to me before. What's the difference?”

She said, “Well, a ‘motivational’ speaker is someone who gets you all pumped up, tells a bunch of stories and gets you all excited. Then you get into the office on Monday, and all of that ‘motivation’ has evaporated. And you feel like, ‘What am I supposed to do now?’.”

She continued, “But you showed us exactly what to do and how to do it. You gave us a step-by-step blueprint of exactly how I can reach my goals faster for myself and my team. That’s why you motivated me.”

What Is Motivation? 


The word motivation comes from the Latin word movere, which means “to move.”

The word motivation has the same root as the word motor. That origination helps me to remember that motivation in human beings is like the motor in your car—it’s the thing that causes both of them to move. It's built into one's behaviour that they can change or improve.

Therefore, when you’re thinking about your own motivation, it’s helpful to consider what actually makes you move, as well as what makes you not start with your tasks and follow through with understanding how your mind works.

What Do You Want?

Of course you know that one of the tenets of goal-setting is to, um, simply set your goals, make it part of your routine to achieve the results that you want.

That is, to know WHAT it is you want.

I call this process identifying your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

In this step, I feel you should ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you want in your business?
  • What do you want in your relationships?
  • What do you want in your family life?
  • What do you want to do with your time?

Just like driving in your car, it’s crucial that you know where you want to go. You wouldn’t just jump in your car and drive around in circles, would you? Yet that’s what millions of people are unconsciously doing in their lives.

Why Do You Want That?

After you’ve identified your reward at the end of the rainbow, the next step is to ask these key questions that most people forget: Why?

  • Why do you want that goal you set in your business?
  • In your relationships?
  • In your family life?
  • With your free time?

There are only a few reasons why we humans take action, and most (if not all) of them come down to emotions or feelings.

So when people tell me their goals, I always ask them, “Why do you want that?”

Focus On What You Actually Want

Of course, we all want more time, more money, and more influence. That's all well and good, but WHY do you want those things?

When I ask them this question, my coaching clients will answer things like:

  • I want to feel important.
  • I want to be heard.
  • I want to be seen.
  • I want to feel special.
  • I want to be appreciated.

In fact, many of the entrepreneurs, executives and athletes I’ve coached over the last two decades discovered that they had been going after external things without realising the internal reasons that were actually driving them.

motivationThe truth is, there's nothing “wrong” with motivation. In fact, motivation is the motor that will keep you moving toward your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

However, understanding not just what you want (your outer motivation), but WHY you want it (your inner motivation), means that you can move beyond motivation and finally give yourself Permission to Succeed.


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About Noah St. John

NOAH ST. JOHN is a peak performance executive coach and international keynote speaker who’s famous for helping people and companies take out their head trash and make more money while fulfilling their mission. Since 1997, Noah’s coaching clients have added more than $2.7 BILLION dollars in sales using his methods.

The #1 bestselling author of 15 books published in 18 languages, Noah is the ONLY author in history to have works published by HarperCollins, Hay House, Simon & Schuster, Mindvalley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher.

Noah is also famous for inventing AFFORMATIONS® - a new technology of the mind – and helping busy people enjoy more wealth, health, and happiness with less stress. Learn more at about Noah’s AFFORMATIONS® Method at https://Afformations.com

A highly in-demand business and motivational keynote speaker, Noah has delivered over 2,000 presentations for corporations, associations, business groups, colleges, universities and youth organizations worldwide and can speak for groups ranging from 20-20,000+!

One of the world’s most sought-after experts on peak performance and Power Habits®, Noah also appears frequently in the news worldwide, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, The Hallmark Channel, NPR, SUCCESS Magazine, Parade Magazine, Woman’s Day, Los Angeles Business Journal, The Washington Post, Costco Connection, Chicago Sun-Times, Entrepreneur.com, Selling Power and The Huffington Post.

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