Thank you Larry, launching our blog with Karen’s story was a wonderful choice. As is usually the case, your curiosity has been working. Powerful curiosity is one attribute of a great coach, and you have it in abundance.
You suggested we follow the link and read Karen’s story. I did just that, and I hope our readers have as well because Karen’s story is inspiring and instructive on several levels.
Before we go into your wonderful questions, I would like to say that I am excited to take the kinds of simple yet powerful topics we discuss privately into this public forum. Sometimes, you will pose the questions; other times, our roles will reverse. I also encourage our readers to participate. Great questions are welcome from all sources.
You closed your blog entry with a series of questions about motivation and lasting change; why not resume our discussion at that very place? From your post:
“Karen had become sick and tired of being sick and tired. She knew if she did not take action, she would continue to live a life of painful compromise. She wanted less pain, and she wanted more fun and pleasure.”
A simple reading of Karen’s response would be that she was motivated to move away from her pain and to move toward what she wanted, “more fun and pleasure,” but your questions go much deeper.
“So what was it that made the difference for Karen? Why was she able to trudge through two years of sweat and tears in support of her goals when many people cannot stay true to a new resolution for even one weekend? Do we really need to become sick to muster the will and energy to transform our lives? What motivates lasting change?”
What motivates lasting change? That’s the central question.
For the benefit of our readers, let’s begin at the beginning, with a general discussion of motivation, and from there, we can work our way back to the central question – What motivates lasting change?
Webster’s defines motivation as a need or desire that causes a person to act. In other words, motivation is what moves us. More specifically, we can say that motivation is a feeling that moves us to act and has both a direction and a source of energy. When our goals are sufficiently attractive, they pull us forward, providing both the energy and the direction we need. Other experiences repel us, and we move away from those.
Karen moved toward happiness and away from suffering, true – but sustainable motivation is infinitely more nuanced than simply moving away from pain and toward pleasure. Our experience of identity, our beliefs about possibility, our relationship to time (more about that later), as well as our habits and temperamental predispositions are all factors influencing how we experience motivation.
This is a rich topic, and we will have much to share, including many practical techniques. This discussion will continue, but I will stop there for today.