Most leaders interested in Breakthrough Performance ask, “what is motivation and how do I do that?”  Employers, parents, teachers, and spouses have all pondered how to motivate others. From a literal sense, “motivation” is derived from the Latin word, movere, which means, “to move”.  According to Webster’s, motivation is “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way, or the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”

You’ll often find that people who engage in Breakthrough Performance stretch themselves to go beyond what is normally expected, such as getting up at 5am to workout or taking on extra work projects. What motivates them to do those things?

Motivation, as outlined in Dan Pink’s book Drive, highlights three critical components. They are a startling departure from the past types of motivating factors–incentives, threats, bribes, or promotions. This new perspective on motivation taps into something deeper than immediate gratification or threat. This often leads to extraordinary or breakthrough performance and results.


The workforce of today values being one’s own boss. Zappos is even experimenting with a “no managers” structure. More and more, companies are moving away from micro-management toward empowering people to take control and make decisions.


Most people, when asked, want to experience growth and a sense of accomplishment. Mastery is having superiority or control over something, and can be a springboard to that experience.


The action that results from motivation should be in favor of something or someone, not action for the sake of staying active. In a world of ever-increasing change, it becomes critical to have a “why”.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.”

Albert Einstein

To achieve Breakthrough Performance, motivation is a key component. Before attempting to motivate others, it is wise to start with YOU.

Here are some ways you can motivate yourself:

  • Be empowered
  • Be innovative and resourceful
  • Be generous and of service
  • Be a “yes” to life
  • Be appreciative and grateful
  • Be inquisitive
  • Be your passion

Motivation is a mindset, a way of being, and not a gene or physical trait. A common opinion of great athletes, successful executives, and coaches is that they find their own source of motivation. Their mantra could be “motivate thyself”.

Are you interested in Breakthrough Performance? What is your mantra to motivate YOU?


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