All motivation is self motivation

Seth Godin wrote a blog post recently about coaching and he made an interesting point about motivation. He concluded with a statement, “Sooner or later, all motivation is self motivation”. I found truth in his statement from my own experience being a motivational speaker.

Often times organizers approach me with more or less the same request, “Could you please give motivation to our audience?”

I totally understand where they are coming from. Perhaps they have tried their best to motivate their own audience but the outcome isn’t what they expected. So, the opted to outsource it to someone like me. I am happy to help, but one thing that I usually remind them is that I can’t give anyone motivation.

Such an interesting statement coming from a motivational speaker, right?

Well, the idea is that people can’t be forced to do anything if all you want is authentic change. People might comply on the outside, but they most probably aren’t moved on the inside. I don’t want to tackle what goes on outside because that’s relatively easy. I want to tackle what goes on inside because that’s where real change happens.

So, I always remind them that I can only help those who want my help. Those who don’t want my help, I simply respect their decision and move on. It is their decision and there’s nothing I can do to force them. The only thing I can do is persuade and invite, but even then they can still reject it if they wish to do so.

In the end, motivation has to come from themselves. They have to initiate the desire to want to change and be better. I can only help them by pointing to some pathways for them to tread or showing them some doors for them to walk through. The rest is all on them.

This is not me trying to excuse myself of any responsibility. On the contrary, I am doing my actual responsibility and that is to make real attempts at motivating people and move them to the direction that will make them better people.

That’s it.

My responsibility is not to force them to change or to make the change for them. Not only that, it is even beyond my capability. The only person who can motivate them is themselves. So when all is said and done, “all motivation is self motivation”.