I wish clarity and motivation were good friends, but they’re usually more like casual acquaintances. When we lived in Texas, we always looked forward to seeing another couple at our mutual friend’s house. It was only a few times a year for the annual holiday party and summer cookout and sometimes Thanksgiving. We always said that we would get together, but we never followed through and made plans. It was that extra hurdle of commitment to a plan that just didn’t happen and it became a friendly joke.
Many women believe that they’ll be motivated to take action when they understand why they do what they do.
It makes sense and works in many situations, like in school or work or even baking. You watch a video to learn how to fold in the dry ingredients and why it’s important for the recipe instead of wondering what to do or why it’s important. Now that you have the information you can mix the cake more confidently and it’s much easier to start and get the cake in the oven.
Unfortunately, with human behavior clarity rarely leads to motivation for meaningful change. The irony is that when you mix in emotion, associations to past events, habits and the busyness of life, what could be clear becomes opaque very quickly.
Clarity requires deeper awareness of your experiences, interpretations of them and your ability to take thoughtful action. And blending understanding and knowledge are the main ingredients of clarity.
Understanding ourselves takes a bit of time. Reflection, education and experience are the necessary ingredients for understanding. I think of understanding as located in the gut, it’s more on the emotional, felt level of experience.
Knowledge comes from our experiences, training or information gained from others or our own experimentation. Knowledge is what we think of as being in our heads. It the logical or even observable part of our experiences.
Action doesn’t come from understanding or knowledge. There is a way of understanding the world around you and making sense of it in relation to your own experience. The role both play in life is extremely important. Understanding and knowledge are the foundation of how you perceive yourself and make sense of your life.
They help you to contrast where you are and where you want to be, which is generates clarity. But that’s not what gets you moving.
Motivation is energy to take action on what you desire. You’re either moving toward something or avoiding an outcome you don’t want to experience.
Emotion, personal history and habits are all parts of what motivates people. And the good news is that you can change your habits and establish new ways of being with yourself.
For a lot of people, the desire to stop negative thoughts and feelings is what gets them moving. It’s that old saying, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
The best way to start generating motivation in your life is to do something that feels better than the negativity you experience when you don’t take action. When you do this at least three times a week you’re more likely to make it a habit. Motivation is easier when you do things that feel better often enough for it to become a habit that supports your well-being.
Momentum starts to build and becomes associated with a positive experience of feeling better the more you take action. It feels better to move toward something you do want instead of avoiding an experience you don’t want.
Waiting for clarity before you tak action can lead to stagnation and feeling stuck.
Everybody gets stuck at some point in life. Things happen, circumstances change and work and life are busy. Often, it’s a matter of just keeping up with the everyday tasks of living. Getting the groceries, getting to work, getting the kids to do their homework, etc. During times like this clarity helps.
Take time to thoughtfully, mindfully what your experience tells you and what you need. This helps you decide on your direction. It’s the most important part of the recipe. The cake needs flour of some kind to be cake like or it’s something else, maybe delicious, but not a cake.
Knowing what you want and moving in the direction you need to be is thoughtful action. If you don’t, motivation will be a difficult fight. It will often take the form of being busy, but directionless and eventually it will be a burden. When this happens people often say, “my motivation is zapped!” It’s misplaced energy and needs to be replenished with clear intentional direction.
The irony is that movement – acting – is what helps you to become clear.
It’s a risk.
There’s a likelihood that you’ll make mistakes.
You’ll probably fail – at first – until you learn more about what you need to do.
It’s all okay and part of the process of understanding what you need, for.
Many of my clients think that being motivated requires inspiration as the catalyst. That they will experience a positive energy boost that propels them to take action. I wish that was the case a lot more often, but it’s not.
What I’ve found is that moving toward what you want, truly want, with understanding and knowledge you’ll make decisions that lead you to what you need and want in your life.
It’s difficult to get started and take the risk of stepping into the life you desire, but don’t know yet.
As you gather more experience of moving toward and receiving what you desire, your experience of motivation changes from negative associations to positive.
Taking action is the fuel for clarity and motivation. It helps you to understand what is really important and needed in your life.