Discover True Motivation: Why Motivation is NOT the Key to Success
By: Kimberly Spreen-Glick

We would all agree that feeling successful in life creates a sense of satisfaction and happiness. For many, success is defined by achieving various external goals, such as a certain career, lifestyle or status. It makes sense that this would be the case because, in many cultures, this is exactly what is taught.

In the United States, for example, children are taught from a very young age that we have inalienable rights which include life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness.” They’re taught they have to go look for happiness because it exists somewhere outside of themselves.

From that baseline, goal-setting begins, followed by the desire for motivation to reach those goals. But what is motivation? It’s an external influence that impels, or convinces, us to do something. Motivation can be both very powerful and very positive; however, relying too much on external motivation can cause us to disconnect with our own sense of self. If this occurs, true fulfillment isn’t there in the way that it could be, even if success is achieved.

What if we took a different spin on success? What if we have it backwards? The fact of the matter is that every time you’ve set a goal you've done so because you believed you would be happier once you achieve it. So, what’s the real goal? It’s happiness! Instead of thinking, “I need to achieve my goal to be happy,” you can flip it: “I need to be happy to achieve my goal.”

What many people who feel both successful and fulfilled have found is that when they choose happiness first, the achievements come much more easily. How does this work? When one does this, they tap into something much more powerful and longer lasting than motivation: inspiration. These two words are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different. While motivation is an external influence, inspiration is an internal drive or passion—and there’s a big difference that comes into play when we act based on motivation versus inspiration.

Often, when you’re motivated to act, you do so because you feel you’re supposed to, need to or should do it. It’s a pulling force, so it can be very draining on your energy. And, if you don’t get the outcome or response you expected based on what motivated you to act, it can feel like a crushing blow of disappointment.

But when you act from a place of inspiration, you do it because it feels right from the inside out. You’re coming from a different place—your heart— and, because of that, you feel driven and guided. You’re not doing it because someone else wants you to do it, but because you want to do it. And, for this reason, your effort lifts you up rather than drains you. Even if the outcome isn’t what you had hoped, you can find a sense of peace in knowing you did what felt right for you. There’s tremendous satisfaction and contentment in that.

Now, let’s walk through three ways to tap into inspiration, so that your actions, your choices and your life can be inspired.

Stay Connected to Your Why
At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective, and you get to choose yours all day, every day. Ask yourself often (even daily), “Why did I get into the spa industry?” “Why did I choose (and continue to choose) to do what I do?” Then, simply remind yourself, “I don’t have to do this. I get to do this!” There’s a world of difference in how you feel, the mindset you create and the energy you bring into a room when you feel like you get to be there, rather than have to be there. Both your team and your guests can feel it. So, cultivate this mindset of appreciation by staying connected to your “why,” and you will feel inspired.

Prioritize You
You’re in a service industry; it makes sense that you would be giving energy out into the world with most of your time. But it’s important to remember that if you want to be a positive advocate and a blessing in other people’s lives, you must first be a positive advocate and a blessing in your own life. The last thing you want is to get burned out, and we all know you can’t give from an empty cup. We’ve all been there, but it can be avoided! Selfcare, healthy nutrition and good sleep are important, but there are two other options to consider: flow and stillness.

Flow, or “the zone”, as it’s known, is characterized by a “complete absorption in what one does” and a lost sense of time. Find your flow by simply seeking out things you love to do, then doing them often! For some, it’s running or hiking; for others, it’s gardening or knitting. If you’re not sure what it is for you, start experimenting. Find what you love—something that brings you into “flow”—then make it a regular part of your routine.

Then there’s stillness. This could be a meditation practice, a breathing practice, etc. I call it a presence practice. It means taking time every day—five minutes will make a difference—to quiet your mind and practice being fully present. There are many studies that show having a practice like this improves sleep, energy and productivity while lowering stress and anxiety. It’s also free, so why not give it a try? Prioritize yourself and let the inspiration flow!

Be Authentic
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be courageous enough to just be yourself. There’s nothing inspired about feeling like we have to be someone other than who we are in this life. Not only is authenticity your greatest differentiator, but, if part of your “why” is about helping people, remember that only when you are being real can you truly connect with people. And it’s only when we truly connect with people that we can make a true positive impact on their days and perhaps their lives. I love how Brené Brown explains it:

“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice…a conscious choice. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

As scary as it is to be vulnerable, you have to remember that working in the spa industry provides you with a tremendous opportunity to be an uplifter for others. Will you show up fully? Will you let your true self be seen?

Now this is tapping into true inspiration, because this is tapping into the power of you.

As you continue your journey, remember to stay connected to your “why,” prioritize yourself and be authentic. It won’t be long before true happiness, success and fulfillment will become your way of life.