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The number of self-help and self-motivation guides available to people is simply staggering. Most of them do a wonderful job of getting you pumped up and energized for as long as you’re at the seminar, weekend retreat, or in the book. However, once your daily routine sets back in, that motivation can get sapped frighteningly quickly.

Light the Night Boston 2008 Walk

There’s an old “secret” for motivation that has been passed down to us through the ages. It’s called the triple secret, or the three jewels, and with it we can figure out the root cause of our motivational problems.

The triple secret is a three part test that you can use in your business and work:

I believe in myself.
I believe in my goals.
I believe in my community.

Let’s look at these three secrets.

I believe in myself.

If this is true, motivation flows naturally. If you believe in your own capabilities, in what you can accomplish, in your skills and knowledge, then you don’t feel intimidated or demotivated when faced with a challenge. Instead, you feel energized and excited for a fresh new chance to test out what you’re capable of.

Conversely, if this isn’t the case, then you need to change your focus to improving those skills, that knowledge, those capabilities, until you do have confidence in them. Practice. Seek out a mentor. Read, learn, study, and grow your abilities until they warrant confidence.

I believe in my goals.

Whether you’re working for yourself or for a Fortune 50 company, if you don’t believe in where you’re going, you have no reason to take the journey. Motivation is fleeting at best. Conversely, if the destination is incredibly compelling, woe is the person, place, or thing that stands in your way. You’re so driven that motivation is irrelevant.

We tend to focus on the making of goals, the setting of goals, and the measuring of goals without much questioning whether those goals are even worth attaining. For example, you may have a goal of selling 100 widgets this month, but if you don’t believe in the widgets or your business, the goal is meaningless and unmotivating. If the widgets are infant cardiac resuscitators and you know for sure that every device you sell saves babies, the goal doesn’t matter much – you want to get those into the hands of every person you possibly can.

I believe in my community.

Your community is everyone and everything that helps to move you forward. It’s coworkers, teachers, mentors, colleagues, subordinates, confidants, parents, siblings – everyone who could or should like for you to attain success. A strong community that stands behind you will help pick you up when you’re tired and cheer you on when you’re on fire. A weak community will demotivate you, drag you down, or possibly even undercut your efforts to make progress.

The critical difference between community and the other two tests is that community is largely under your control. You decide who to surround yourself with, especially in the global internetworked world we live in. You choose whose voices you hear daily, whose blogs you read, whose tweets you follow, who you have lunch with, etc. If your community is not helping you move forward, if your community is undermining your beliefs in yourself and in your valid goals, then it’s imperative that you change communities as much as possible.

Apply the tests!

Take a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few days if you’re finding that motivation is a persistent, recurring problem and apply these tests to your current situation. You may find that there are problems in each of the three areas – fix the most broken one first if you can, but fix something! You’ll find that when you do, getting and staying motivated gets much easier.


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