There’s a myth that’s been around for centuries…
A myth that’s been shared in almost every motivational book or seminar around the world.
And it’s dangerous.
Let’s flashback to 1911 when two evenly-matched teams competed to be the first European explorers to make it to the South Pole.
One team, led by Robert Falcon Scott, decided to ADAPT their strategy to the weather. On good weather days, they would march up to 60 miles. On bad weather days, they would rest and recharge.
While the other team, led by Roald Amundsen, marched 20 miles a day rain or shine. In ANY weather and under ANY circumstances — every day they kept going for exactly 20 miles.
So, which team won?
Conventional wisdom would say the adaptable team.
But they didn’t…
The team who marched 20 miles a day — no matter what — reached the South Pole first.
While the adaptable team NEVER MADE IT… they died along the way.
So, while it may seem like adaptability is the key to success, it’s really the power to keep going, rain or shine, day in and day out — no matter what — that makes the difference between success and failure.
And what I’ve discovered over the last decade plus working with students from 91 countries on earth… on just about every type of business you can imagine (from coaching and consulting to books and software)… and every topic from personal development and spirituality to corporate and non-profit…
The one thing that separates my most successful students from those who come and go is CONSISTENT ACTION.
Just like the one thing that separates the amateurs from the pros in just about any pursuit known to man — whether that’s art or music or sports — is consistent, even daily practice.
Yet, time after time, I see people start building their business with a ton of energy and effort… only to stop. This quickly lands them in what I like to call the Start-Stop Cycle… where you make fast progress ONLY to come screeching to a halt… and this cycle repeats over and over again… until you give up on your dream.
So, what’s this myth that’s been shared in almost every motivational book or seminar around the world?
The myth that’s led to the demise of so many promising businesses?
It’s The Motivation Myth.
The same myth that led to the adaptable team’s death in 1911 IS the same myth that kills so many businesses before they even get off the ground.
So if you’re not feeling motivated — or you struggle with consistent motivation day after day, or even throughout the day — then this post is for you…
Or if you’ve EVER felt like there was something wrong with you or that you’ll never succeed as an entrepreneur — because success is for those hyper motivated people…
You know the ones you see on social media who seem to be posting ALL THE FREAKIN TIME and you wonder if they even sleep?
Then this is for you!
What Exactly IS Motivation?
So first, what exactly IS motivation?
It’s the inner drive to do something, right?
And ALL the motivational speakers make it sound like we all have this innerspring of motivation inside of us — like it bubbles up from within us… then turns into a stream — then ultimately a raging river that sweeps up everything in its path…
So we sit back and we wait for this stream of motivation to power us forward….
And sometimes it does — and we get SWEPT UP in the excitement of ideas and possibilities… and it feels INCREDIBLE! We feel like we can do anything… and be anything… and we get into action… and start seeing results…
BUT. The feeling. Doesn’t. Last. And neither does the Action.
So the results don’t last either — if we see them at all. And that business we imagine? It always seems JUST outside our reach.
Les Brown famously said, “The richest place in the world is not the oil fields, the skyscrapers, the mansions or the city centers… the richest place in the world is the GRAVEYARD. Because that’s where most people take their dreams to die.”
But you’re not like most people….
You’re here. You’re ready to learn. You’re looking for a change. You’re ready to get your dream business off the ground.
And when you understand that consistency BEATS motivation every day of the week… you’ll be on your way!
Because while motivation is great for getting started, it doesn’t last forever…
All the research shows that motivation is like will power in that it’s short-lived. You quickly use it up…
And THEN you have to replenish it…
So if you’re relying on motivation to get through the day, it’s going to feel like one LONG roller coaster ride — full of ups and downs, and highs and lows… one moment feeling like you can do it, you want to do it, then all of a sudden you can’t?
We’ve all been there before!
So, what’s the opposite of motivation?
What’s the one thing EVERY entrepreneur needs to succeed?
The Opposite of Motivation
The one thing every entrepreneur needs to succeed is taking consistent actions on the right things in the right way.
Because unlike motivation, consistency always shows up…
And consistency will help you stay on track EVEN when you don’t feel like it.
When you rely on motivation, you see HUGE surges of activity followed by equally big crashes that can often leave you right back where you started… so — even though you’re taking action — it feels like you’re not making forward progress… you’re in that Start-Stop Cycle.
But WHEN you take small, consistent action — even tiny steps forward — you’ll find yourself moving onwards and upwards… both faster AND slower than you ever imagined.
While this approach initially FEELS slower — since you don’t have those big, exciting surges of activity — it’s actually faster and more sustainable.
Because when you’re taking small, consistent action, you don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t burn out. And you’re NOT relying on motivation, which — as you’ve seen — doesn’t last.
I know it’s not sexy, but ALL THE STUDIES show that consistency — is THE ONE THING — that separates the amateurs from the pros. Not motivation. And not even talent.
Now don’t let that word PRO scare you off. Yes, it CAN sound intimidating and I get that you might think you’ll never get there.
But I’m pretty confident you DO want to make money and succeed as an entrepreneur, right?
That means it’s time to start acting like a professional.
And — mark my words — you don’t succeed because you were born to succeed, you succeed because you take consistent action with both the gifts and talents you were born with and the gifts and talents you’ve cultivated over the course of your life.
Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player OF ALL TIME…
But did you know that he was cut from his high school varsity team as a sophomore?
Now, do you think he gave up when he got cut?
Even though he felt devastated — even a little humiliated — this experience motivated him to commit to improving his skills.
He spent HOURS practicing EVERY DAY — he worked on his shooting, his ball handling, his footwork AND his overall conditioning.
Jordan also played in pick-up games with his friends and teammates, which helped him develop his game and build confidence on the court.
He even watched footage from other great players and analyzed their techniques to find ways to improve his own game.
One year later, he got his spot back on the high school team…
And he STILL kept up this daily training schedule — which went beyond anything the other players were doing — because he believed it would pay off in the end…
And it did!
Jordan went on to become a dominant force in college basketball and later the NBA.
His career saw six championships, five MVPs and numerous records.
Not bad for someone who got cut from his high school basketball team?
How to Become a Professional Entrepreneur
Because while amateurs let life get in the way and are constantly being pulled off track, professionals stick to a schedule — NO MATTER WHAT. They know what’s important to them and they work towards it with purpose.
Being a pro is about having the discipline to actually commit to what’s important to you, rather than just saying something’s important to you.
It’s about continuing, even when you feel like stopping — not because you’re a workaholic or you want to keep working — but because your goal is SO important to you that you show up for it EVEN when it’s not convenient.
You make your priorities a reality, rather than letting life happen to you.
And THAT starts by making time for what really matters… not just here and there, but consistently. Every week, if not every day.
Now you might be asking, “But Marisa, how do you develop consistency EVEN when you’re not feeling motivated?”
How do you become a pro when you’re just getting started?
That’s the million dollar question.
So, let’s wind the clock back to 2001 in the UK.
Researchers are working with a group of 248 people to discover the best approach to building exercise habits over the course of two weeks — because, would you agree that consistent exercise is one of the things that most people are ALWAYS trying and failing to do, myself included?
So these researchers in the UK divided the research subjects into 3 groups and gave each group a different approach…
The first group was the control group. They were simply asked to exercise and track HOW OFTEN they did it.
The second group was the “motivation” group, and — in addition to tracking their workouts — they were asked to read about the benefits of exercise. AND to listen to the researchers explain HOW exercise improved heart health and reduced the risk of heart disease.
Finally, there was the third group. These subjects received the same motivational materials as the second group, but they were ALSO asked to formulate a plan for EXACTLY when and where they’d exercise — over the following week.
Specifically, each member of the third group were asked to complete ONE SIMPLE SENTENCE:
“During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”
This is what’s known as an “Implementation Intention” — a simple plan for when and where you’re going to take a specific action — or exactly how you intend to implement a habit or activity.
So which group had the best results?
In fact, the Implementation Intention Group was 2.6 TIMES more likely to exercise AT LEAST once a week than the Motivation Group.
That means that 91% of the Implementation Intention Group followed through and exercised at least once a week, while ONLY 35% of The Motivation Group followed through.
And, interestingly, The Motivation Group didn’t do ANY BETTER than The Control Group. In fact, they did slightly worse.
So the big conclusion the researchers drew?
Motivation had NO significant effects on exercise behavior.
So why is it that — when people talk about achieving goals or making a change in their lives — they often use words like motivation, willpower and desire?
The truth is that motivation, willpower and desire ARE important catalysts — they’re the sparks that start the engine — but they CAN’T sustain the engine…
The REAL FUEL that keeps the engine going is consistent action.
And consistent action starts with a plan for implementation… EXACTLY what you’re going to do — such as exercise — and when and where you’re going to do it.
Remember the sentence the Group 3 research subjects were asked to fill out?
“During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”
So your plan for implementation is what pulls the motivation and desire out of you and turns it into real world action…
You don’t have to ask yourself: Should I exercise today? Or should I exercise this morning or after lunch? Or maybe it can wait until tomorrow?
When the time comes, there’s no need to make a decision.
Simply follow your predetermined plan…
No motivation or willpower needed. Just a commitment to consistency.
How to Take Consistent Action in Your Business
Now, in case you’re wondering, “Marisa, maybe that works for something like exercise, but does it work for something like building your business?”
So, let’s look at a few things you could do in just 20 minutes that have the potential to grow your business!
In 20 minutes or less, could you practice a critical piece of messaging on one or two people and see how they respond — whether you’re in line at the coffee shop or picking up your kids from school?
And, who knows? You may even get a client in the process! 🙂
Now in 20 minutes, could you call or message someone you met in the last 3 months and see if there’s any synergy — perhaps they could be a potential client? Perhaps they know someone who could be a potential client? Perhaps they could give you some valuable intel? Perhaps they could connect you to a podcast or other opportunity? You name it?
Yes, again, right?
Now, could you record and post some kind of quick, informal video in 20 minutes or less?
I’m not talking about anything fancy or perfect, just something quick and easy.
Yes, yes and yes!
Now let me ask you, if you did things like this for just 20 minutes at a time on a consistent basis, would you build your business?
You would 100% build your business if you did something like this AT LEAST once a week…
And if you did this 3 times a week? Even better!
What about 5 times a week?
Can you see that you CAN build your business one tiny step at a time — WHEN you rely on consistency over motivation?
Because consistency beats motivation EVERY DAY of the week!
After all, how do you finish a puzzle?
One piece at a time…
How do you climb a mountain?
One step at a time…
How do you build a business?
One action at a time…
So make taking consistent action a habit so you can break free from The Motivation Trap and build the life and business YOU DESIRE.
Your Next Step
And if you’re ready to take consistent action on the right things in the right way to see real results and grow your business… check out my program — Live Your Message Lab.
It’s the low-pressure, minimal-time commitment way to achieve your monthly goals. Each month, you’ll get the exact steps you need to take real action in your business so you can see real results. And you’ll get the coaching, support, tools and community you need to make it happen!
I hope to see you inside Lab. 🙂
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