Motivation is For Amateurs

In Basketball, Business & Entrepreneurship, Discipline, Mental Toughness
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People often ask (or thank) me for motivation.

I’m not as motivated to play as I used to be.

How do I start motivated to do it every day?

Your (podcast/articles/videos/books) really motivate me!

And with good reason. To go from basketball team bench warmer as a high school senior to a professional in just five years probably requires some type of fire to be lit under me.

Publishing new content (videos, podcasts, blogs, books, social media stuff) every damn day appears to be the mark of a very motivated person.

Saying and writing things that get other people motivated MUST mean I’m super-motivated myself. And I’ve even stated – you can’t give to anyone else what you don’t already have within you.

I mean, that just makes sense, right?

It does make sense. But a lot of fully functional adults know a lot of stuff that makes sense, yet for some reason can’t make it work for them. Motivation is a prominent culprit.

This is because, usually, we’re trying to make the wrong things work for us. Then, of course, they don’t work, and we start blaming.

We blame ourselves for not staying motivated.

We blame the Motivation for not getting us going well enough.

And so on.

In the midst of all this blaming and seeking, people miss the real issue: Motivation is not what you need.

Motivation is merely a temporary (an hour, 3 weeks, a year) driver to action. Like hot water without a heat source, Motivation eventually cools off and must be re-heated. Since we get used to stimuli after multiple exposures to it, motivations must be updated and varied to keep our attention. And when we’re not motivated, we turn in half-assed work, if we work at all.

Motivation is for amateurs. Click To Tweet

Amateurs cannot be depended on to always show up and do their job. Amateurs need to refer to libraries of motivational material just to get going every day, similar to how some people “can’t function” without a shot of caffeine in the mornings.

You can’t run a business with amateurs at the helm. Actually, you probably wouldn’t even have a business to begin with.

You can't run a business with amateurs. Click To Tweet


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We generally associate the term “professional” with money.

If someone gets paid to do a certain job on a regular basis, we consider them a professional. Lawyer. Maintenance man. Basketball player.

Here’s what I can tell you: I’ve met people in all three roles with impressive titles who are anything BUT professional.

Being a professional has nothing to do with money or contracts or who knows your name. A professional is someone who shows up, every time, and performs – no matter what he or she is feeling inside. 

A professional is someone who shows up, every time, and performs - no matter what he or she is feeling inside. Click To Tweet

And because of this, the professional gets paid. Not the other way around.

When an amateur is too sore to work out, too sleepy to get up for the 5am run, or too discouraged to make another cold call, he simply doesn’t do it. No one cares, because no one expected the amateur to come through anyway (or they foolishly believed they could rely on an amateur). Coincidentally, because there is no performance, there is no contract and no money.

So what IS the tool of the professional? What makes the parent with a bad back go to work in the snow and rain? What gets me up to write, turn on a camera and a microphone every single day – since I, like you, don’t always feel like doing it?

Discipline: train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.

Discipline is the tool of the professional. Discipline sends a parent to work every day, knowing they have to provide for the children. Discipline opens Dunkin Donuts at 4am every day, knowing the hours are posted on Google and the glass front door. Discipline gets me writing and recording, knowing that naming myself “DreAllDay” sets an unstated expectation.

Discipline is the go-to tool of the professional. Click To Tweet


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Often, when organizations look at my speaking topics of Mental Toughness, Confidence & Discipline, they categorize me as “Motivational / Inspirational.” And in a way, they’re right. This post may motivate you to work a lot harder at your job today and inspire you to share it with a friend.

But the day ends, and tomorrow is a new challenge. What then?

The amateur goes looking for another motivation, another reason to do her job. Maybe she finds it, maybe not. Her performance hangs in the balance.

The professional shows up and does her job regardless of motivation. Why? Because, by taking on the title of professional, that’s the unwritten contract she signed.

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