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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

This is nonsense (on increasing your motivation)

This week we witnessed profound ignorance, bigotry and racism in Charlottesville, US. Cycles of violence and hatred are part of our human condition, unfortunately.

However frustrating this is, we do have control over how we conduct ourselves and we can ensure that our own judgment is not clouded by ignorance and hatred so that we act appropriately.

Which brings me to today’s topic: motivation.

Someone booked an initial consultation with me last week, who is highly competent and successful in their field. They want to create something new in their career with more fulfilment and reward. The most common reason people approach me.

They found themselves procrastinating and wanted to know how to “increase their motivation” – a notion that I quickly had to disabuse them of. As some of you may know, I’m not your typical career and leadership coach. What I’d like you to understand is that, it isn’t possible to manufacture motivation or willpower. But you can take the brakes off your natural desires and help yourself with simple habits.

And the good news is:

  • You don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn and swim 50 laps in freezing water to strengthen your motivation

  • You don’t need to take a magic pill or gulp raw eggs for breakfast

  • You don’t need to find the right book or podcast with all the perfect motivation hacks

  • You don’t need to keep beating yourself up for failed expectations

Unless you want to…

The idea that you can “increase motivation” comes from old fashioned, industrial era management psychology that treats human beings like mammals who can be manipulated with carrots and sticks to increase productivity for the organisation.

Is that how you want to treat yourself? Do you enjoy self-flagellation or flogging a dead horse? How long does the satisfaction last once you’ve gotten the carrot?

If you want to run faster, how about putting down the enormous backpack filled with (self-)criticism and negativity that you’re carrying around?

In fact, the most effective way I know to recover natural enthusiasm (aka motivation) is to transform your self-image i.e. the way you see yourself.

Yes, my approach is counterintuitive to some.

But it works.

When I help doctors or professionals worried about procrastinating on their dreams, I don’t tell them to work harder or create time, I show them where their choices are sabotaging them.

That helps them see where they are slowing themselves down so they can take the brakes off.

The new level of clarity frees up the natural, deeper energy of desire and the actions they take become more effective.

They don’t waste time on negative thinking that drains them; they stop fighting factors outside their control; they start to see their underlying fears and how to stop them creating energy-wasting drama in their work and relationships.

One client reported that she felt she’d become “the bionic woman” jumping out of bed every morning when it had previously been a struggle! Her new found clarity and self-understanding focused her energy on the right things and creating positive relationships. I’ll share more about the story another time.

Where are your choices robbing you of time and energy? You'll know when you've answered this question honestly and accurately, because you’ll feel a sense of relief and even a surge of energy.

I hope this helps to open your eyes to a different approach for realising your career and life dreams; an approach that doesn’t make you feel worse about not having enough motivation; and that it will STOP you from unnecessary mental anguish and fruitless activity chasing the wrong things.

If you get this, you’re well on your way.

Have a great week,


Transformational Coach and Consultant

NEWS: This month, I’m opening two coaching spots for my six month Career and Life Transformation process “Create a Career and Life You Love”. There is one spot left for an inspired soul. If you’re not interested stop reading, now! Read on if you want more information. Thank you! I work with a limited number of people; and blend deep coaching with strategic planning. Results from past clients include:

  • their dream job in medicine

  • better relationships and team dynamics

  • consulting contracts with intergovernmental organisations

  • making a higher income than ever before through promotions or consulting

  • long term funding for passion projects

  • being more at ease and relaxed with their path.

See here for a range of testimonials.

The process may be suitable if:

  • you’re passionate and hard working but not sure how to move forward;

  • you’re going around in circles and your confidence is dropping;

  • you want to feel inspired and clear again, sharpening your strategy and strengthening your intuitive wisdom;

  • you want to use your talent to have a positive impact in world and use your medical or professional skills differently;

  • you have a niggling voice/inner-critic that holds you back and you’re fed up with it.

  • If you think that’s you, let’s find out! Applying: 1) Email with “I’m interested!” in the subject line 2) I’ll send you a questionnaire to fill in (this will be a useful exercise for you to get more clarity on your career and life) 3) If I think I can help you, I’ll invite you to a Career Turnaround Session (here we’ll go deeper into your career aspirations, what’s in the way and leave you with a plan and feeling inspired again!) 4) At the end, I’ll share my reflections and we’ll talk about whether there is scope to work together further.

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