Among Zig Ziglar’s famous quotes was this gem:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
He’s right, but here’s where people go wrong. Most folks think motivation is found in pretty posts on Instagram, YouTube videos from a fiery speaker, or fortune cookies.
But the harsh truth is this: Real motivation does not come from others.
Lasting motivation only comes from within.
When you truly want to change, you must look into your own heart and find your meaningful incentive (your “big why”) to act.
This is where true motivation lies, the motivation and inspiration that will keep you going through dark days when pithy quotes will not.
Knowing this, it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the most common questions that I get at seminars and in interviews is this:
“Craig, what motivates you?”
Here are 10 internal motivations that work for me, and can keep you going through struggle and self-doubt, too:
For me, these people include my business partners and coaches. These are individuals who inspire me daily, and take me to task when I fall short of the goals I set for myself. They keep me leveling up, and because of their support and encouragement, I never want to let them down. These personal icons include my business partners and “brothers,” Matt Smith and Bedros Keuilian. Whenever I feel like quitting, their voices in my head get me to “man up” and do the work.
It also helps to build relationships with people whose success you aspire to. For example, I recently hired Tim Grover to be a keynote speaker at our 2018 Perfect Life Retreat. I’ve read his amazing book, “Relentless,” several times over. He’s helped top athletes like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant level up, which means he can do the same for me.
Time with Tim means time pushing myself to ever higher success. (And you can spend time with Tim at our big event in November in San Diego. Find out how here.)
It’s pretty obvious that you don’t want your business competition overtaking you—that’s a lot of motivation right there. Every day they are out there working hard, but I’ve vowed to always work harder than everyone in my industry.
Years ago, when I was struggling to find work, I connected with an editor at Men’s Health magazine named Adam Campbell. He gave me work when I was down and out, and because of his faith in me, I never want to let him down.
Think of those people in your life who would support you know matter what, who have your back in any circumstance. These are the people you don’t want to disappoint. So… don’t.
Everybody has an ego, so don’t pretend you don’t. The key is tapping into your ego for growth and good—building up yourself as an achiever, an icon, a trendsetter, a paradigm-shifter. People will think more highly of you because of it.
I know that my parents worked hard to give me everything I had as a kid—including many of the opportunities that landed me where I am today. Growing up on a farm, I watched my mom and dad work day and night to support our family. They sacrificed so much for me, and I never want to let them down. (My mom still works hard today around the house and in her garden—because she enjoys it—and I can’t let her outwork me!)
Think about what your parents sacrificed for you, and you’ll find it to be a huge motivator.
You started strong, you work hard, you achieve a lot. And now, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. But don’t become complacent—your comfortable life might disappear if you take it for granted. Keep working, keep growing, and keep improving so you’ll never have to let go of the lifestyle you enjoy.
This one is a little different so let me explain.
One of my favorite movies is “Saving Private Ryan.” When, in the climax of the movie, Captain John H. Millerand says to Private Ryan, “Earn it,” I was moved.
“Earn it”—earn the good things you have, I thought to myself. Work for them.
I also have a fascination with World War II, and often think about what would have happened to me had I been a soldier at that time. These young men endured hardships unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
After sharing this motivation with a private coaching client, she revealed that she is motivated by her experiences with natural childbirth for both of her children. “Any hardship I experience now is nothing compared to what I went through then,” she says.
This thought exercise shifts your perspective and ignites your gratitude. Spend your energy, your resources, and your gifts persisting through difficulties that are, in the grand scheme of things, not that bad.
This ties in with #8, but is slightly different. Consider all of those innovators throughout history who made their mark without money or means. I think of Oprah as an example, who was raised poor and with the odds stacked against her, but now stands as one of the most influential people in the entire world. If she can do that, why can’t you finish that project you are working on and make a big impact in your community?
As I get older and new generations of entrepreneurs come along, a fear of becoming irrelevant has become a huge motivator for me. This forces me to continue growing so that I can continue to serve the world. After all, no high-performer wants to live a life without meaning or impact, so make sure you do things that change not only yourself but also improve the world for the better. Be valued and valuable.
Different people use different motivators to push them toward success, but over the years, the 10 I shared above have been the ones that consistently guided me—along with many of my friends and fellow entrepreneurs—to incredible achievement.
Take these and make them your own—adding them to whichever evergreen motivators you’re already using to move you ahead in life.
At the end of the day, as Tony Robbins says, we don’t make change without massive action. And we don’t continue to take massive action without the right motivation.
So dig deep, find your big why, and stay motivated through what matters to you.
Your future and the world are counting on it.
This November, I will be joined by industry giants and inspiring speakers during the second annual Perfect Life Retreat. We will work together to find out how to level up in our lives, careers, and communities. You belong there with us, so I urge you to reserve your seat right now. Learn more about the agenda, activities, and opportunities here.