What makes the difference between setting a goal and achieving it or not achieving it? Motivation. Without motivation, no matter your ambition, you’ll struggle to move toward achieving that goal.
In some instances, your motivation may start out strong but then fades mysteriously away. In other cases, it may remain high, allowing you to move quickly and consistently toward your goal.
So, how do you sustain your motivation over the long term—until you complete what you set out to do? You tie your ambition to your purpose.
Ambition fosters motivation when it is aligned with purpose.
What is Ambition?
In my work as a Certified High Performance Coach, I find ambition and motivation to be two of the most important topics. The more clarity my clients have around what helps them feel motivated, the more able they are to achieve their goals. But what exactly is ambition? Most dictionaries define it as “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work; desire and determination to achieve success.”
You might have the ambition to be an author, start a company, run a marathon, become a mother, or be interviewed by Oprah.
What is Motivation?
So what is motivation? It’s defined as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” Motivation is the “big why” that drives you to take action on your ambition. You feel motivated when you have ambition—a reason to take action. Without ambition—the desire to do or achieve something—you don’t feel motivated.
That’s why so many achievement coaches stress the need for goal setting. That goal is your ambition. And your ambition keeps you motivated—taking action to achieve the goal.
But sometimes, it doesn’t. Why is that?
The Role of Purpose in Sustainable Motivation
The reason you don’t always remain motivated comes down to your reasons—your motivation. If your reasons aren’t aligned with something even more significant—your purpose—you will struggle to continue taking action.
Purpose is most commonly defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Thus, your purpose rises out of your ambition and serves to motivate you to actions that help you achieve your goal.
For example, my purpose is to make a positive and meaningful difference with my words—to be of service through my written works. My ambition is related to my purpose—to continue producing bestselling books that make a difference in readers’ lives and the world. As long as the book I’m working on is aligned with both my purpose and my ambition, I’ll feel motivated to write consistently.
As soon as my purpose and ambition become misaligned, I lose motivation. Or if my reasons for writing become misaligned with my purpose and ambition, I also will lose the desire to act in a way that helps me achieve my goal. For instance, if I begin to focus only on the money I could earn or pleasing an agent or publisher, I will find my motivation waning.
Inspiration Isn’t Motivation
You might be wondering where inspiration comes in since sometimes you get inspired and that motivates you. You might find yourself waiting for inspiration before taking action because you believe that inspiration is what you need to take action toward a goal.
Inspiration, or “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea,” does help. But inspiration that isn’t aligned with purpose or ambition will create unsustainable motivation.
As you get clear on your purpose, you will feel inspired to achieve it. You will develop aspirations—the ambition to achieve something. And that will keep you moving forward consistently.
I write most consistently when my inspiration arises out of my purpose. The alignment with my mission creates within me an aspiration—a desire to accomplish a goal. It creates ambition within me. And from that arises motivation—a strong reason to take action toward achieving my ambition.
Again, if it is my purpose to make a positive and meaningful difference with my words, my ambition is to become an author. My ideas (inspiration) for books, is born out of the alignment between purpose and ambition. And my ambition gives me a reason to take action to achieve the goal. It motivates me.
Think about it: When you are clear about your purpose and set a goal—develop an ambition—that aligns with your purpose, don’t you feel motivated? Do you also feel inspired? I bet when you have a clear purpose and ambition, you have tons of ideas about how to achieve that goal.
That’s the interplay of ambition and motivation. Sustained motivation is reliant on your ambition and how congruent that ambition is with your purpose.
Do you feel motivated consistently? Tell me in a comment below how you sustain that state and if your level of motivation is related to your ambition or purpose. And, if you found this post helpful, please share it!
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