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All of life is a reflection of yin/yang – the ebb and flow of energy. No one (on a normal curve) is “up” or “down,”  or “motivated” 100% of the time. Life follows the natural rhythm of the seasons. So, there are periods of expansion and periods of contraction and this energy flow operates on every level – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, creative and the like, degree and intensity of “motivators” notwithstanding.

In coaching clients and supporting others, what I have found to be the greatest challenge is not motivation, per se, whether internal or external, but the “staying power” to continue on, to stay the course, when “motivation” ebbs.

Motivation is akin to desire, staying power, stick-to-it-iveness, will and “force.”

Motivation and force or will are not the same energy.

Motivation and force

Change or transformation is a function NOT of one’s internal decision to change, not a function of desire and motivation, but is a function of an underlying force and will to “keep on keeping on” when motivation wanes, decreases, or perhaps disappears altogether. The force to change and transform exists even when the so-called internal/external “motivators” are absent. The FORCE is there even when the DESIRE isn’t.

How does this work?

Motivation (desire) is not consistent (i.e., 24/7, 365). Motivation waxes and wanes in spite of the fact there are internal and external drivers to “be” motivated.


-The sales person who, in spite of the terrific (external) commission structure, does not stay motivated
-The employee who, in spite of the (internal) motivation/decision/desire to not engage in gossip, does so
-The athlete who, in spite of both the internal motivation and external drivers, loses his/her motivation to play hard and strong consistently
-The individual who makes resolutions (New Year’s and otherwise) and quickly loses staying power
-The EQ-savvy individual, who has the desire/motivation to remain calm and peaceful in the face of stress, yet succumbs and moves back to anger when stressed
– The person who has the desire and motivation to be more loving and appreciative of his/her partner but finds him/herself irritated, disrespectful and cold and uncaring most of the time
-The individual who is highly motivated to undertake a career transition but falls into inaction and depression after a couple of months into the search process
-The person who is motivated to change and transform and undertakes a spiritual practice of some kind yet continues to judge, be critical of, demean, and verbally abuse his/her colleagues, family members, friends and strangers, etc.
– The manager who is motivated to control her emotions, and loses it whenever her ego is challenged


In almost every personal development process there are “dips” where one’s energy, drive, and desire wane. For many, rather than wait for the energy to change, be still and just accept and surrender to what is, their progress stops, change stops. It’s back to the drawing board (new coach, new book, new video, new workout program, new diet, new relationship, new self-help (fill in the blank) new commission structure, new title, new computer, new resolution, new rules and procedures, etc.

This dynamic occurs with clients, folks at the gym, folks in spiritual groups, folks in self-help groups, folks at work on every level. All are initially “motivated,” have the “desire.” Few have the staying power to go through with it when the staying power ebbs. So, what’s the deal?

There’s a famous quote: “A saint is a sinner who never gave up.” There’s an underlying dynamic that fosters a successful “Self,” a person who is living and growing according to their “inner values” that drive their do-ing and be-ing.  One might be born with an immediate and lasting connection to this innate sense of Self, or one might discover their Self through doing “work” that eliminates and reduces their identification with limiting self-concepts and self-images initially driven by one’s identity with the “outer” world. In either case, one discovers there is an innate, passionate desire that roars up from one’s inner self. In conjunction with this relentless desire of one’s inner self, is the ever tenacious “will” (a “stay the course” capacity) of the inner self. With this combination, the strength of desire/motivation coupled with the strength of will/force is indefatigable.


When this synergy occurs, one’s desire/motivation, while not always at fever pitch, can sustain because it is not negated by ego-driven thoughts that are defeating and sabotaging, or by inner judge and critic judgments, self-criticisms, or false illusions. This inner force acts as a courageous and strong inner vision/dream/direction/intuition that becomes one’s strongest marker in one’s life. One’s inner force becomes one’s priority for do-ing and be-ing. There’s no need for more-bigger-better-different “internal/external” motivators in a traditional sense.

When one’s true self, one’s essence is leading and driving one’s journey, the body/mind/emotions of one’s personality grow in harmony and service of one’s real and true self, who is setting the course.

Holding steadfast to a greater vision that is connected to, and supported by, this inner “stay the course” energy, a limitless supply of passion, strength and will becomes available. The energy of “I can,” “I am,” “I will,”  “I have,” “I choose” and  “I create” flows forth, especially in the “down” or “dark” times. Here, where vision, desire and will meld into an amalgam, there is no longer any room for ambivalence, defeat or failure. Whether progress is painstakingly slow or made by leaps and bounds, the direction is clear and ultimately the outcome is assured. Progress continues, as opposed to “giving up” and falling into some type of “victim/blaming” consciousness. So, the force that supports our intentions to do and to be from within, from our inner source, is beyond discouragement, beyond despair.

Effective questions

The questions to pursue within one’s self are: What contributes to/strengthens my passion? What contributes to/strengthens my will? What diminishes/weakens my passion? What diminishes/weakens my will?

For those who are caught in the Peter Pan syndrome of “I won’t grow up,” “I’ll never grow up” or the veil of victimization – “I just can’t,” “I don’t have it in me,” “Woe is poor, little me,” the questions will hold no appeal. Undeniably, the only people who will bother to ask these questions honestly and pursue the answers are those who value self-responsibility, honesty, sincerity, true self-evolution and spiritual maturity – one who perceives their life as contributing to the greater good of all humankind.

For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, for every one who finds the questions engaging and intriguing, now is the time to be still and listen and follow from within. Follow your best vision, dream, direction or intuition. You know what course to follow; it’s inside of you.

Every step you take following from the inside enables you to grow your passion/desire and your will/force. You will grow your humanity and your maturity and by the way you live your life with truth, honesty and sincerity from the inside out while supporting the person walking next to you, who is doing their best, to allow them to live from the inside out.

In the wellspring of our inner self, we have the resources and the willingness to pay the higher price for living an extraordinary life. That is, to keep on keeping on, in spite of whatever motivators exist, or do not exist.

The Buddha says:

“The power of integrity is based on a firm inner sense of values that allows you to stand your ground regardless of what you are doing or where you are. When we believe that the world makes us, that it determines what we can and cannot do, then we see ourselves as small and weak. But when we understand that we make the world, individually and together, then we become formidable and strong.”
Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Considering one obstacle you’re currently facing, ask yourself, “Why is this happening FOR me?” When you sit quietly with the question, what can you see, hear, learn or understand? (Ask it often.)
  • Is victimization a part of your DNA? Do you often feel the victim? How so? Why?
  • Can you recall the last time you “stayed the course” in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds? What happened? How do/did you feel?
  • Have you even been involved in co-dependent, needy relationships? How so? How did/are they working out?
  • What were your earliest experiences of “staying the course” and “giving up?

(c) 2014, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

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