Motivation vs. Inspiration and How it affects Fulfillment

Motivation vs. Inspiration and How it affects Fulfillment

Motivation is not a bad thing. You can’t hit a target after all, if you don’t know what or where it is. While having an endgame, exit strategy and goal can lead to very healthy and successful outcomes, it will rarely lead purpose-driven minds to fulfillment. Most humans have a natural tendency to grow and evolve.

What separates the chasers from the influencers?


The ancient, well-known yogic text The Bhagavad Gita, teaches us to look within for happiness, not the external.

“Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.” Dr Wayne Dyer

People and organizations are facing more challenges than ever in our information-overloaded world. It’s incredibly important to live from a place of inspiration versus motivation personally, professionally and organizationally.

If you are not doing what you love, you will eventually burnout.

Motivation, as we say a lot in the yoga world, is temporary.   It works well for less driven people who need rewards or praise for their accomplishments.

Inspiration is on-going, like infinity, there is no finish line.   True influencers do not see a ceiling or limits and there is no force involved in their actions. People who are guided by inspiration, or divine guidance, see no end to their mission.   It’s lifelong and open-ended.

I’m reminded of of the young apprentice who asked Mozart how to write a symphony.   Mozart replied, “You are too young to write a symphony.”   The man said, “You were writing symphonies when you were 10 years old, and I am 21.”   Mozart said, ” Yes, but I didn’t run around asking people how to do it.”

You see, Mozart was inspired to create music by something within him that was unstoppable.   He was not directed or mandated to write symphonies, it simply came from his soul.

Let’s Dive a little deeper….

5 Characteristics of Motivation:

1) Driven from external factors: money, rewards, prizes, recognition, praise.

2) Feeling pulled from the outside. This just means someone else has potential gain as well. You need a cheerleader, coach or boss who also has potential gains based on your success.

3) Ego driven action.   If you do “this”, then people will believe “this” about you.   Titles, certifications, labels, and everything that defines how the people around you understand and describe you.

4) Comparison to others. Keeping up, competing with and measuring against.

5) Course changes frequently.While being adaptable (and even motivated for argument’s sake) is a good thing, motivation is narrow and has a tunnel vision approach.

4 Characteristics of Inspiration:

1) Steady ease and effortless flow.    Whatever you’re doing doesn’t feel like a job, task, homework or obligation.   You continue to do it because it lights up your soul.

2) Natural achievements occur. Regardless of acknowledgment, praise or reward, you continue to keep pressing.

3) Long term, life work.   This is not project work or consulting.   It builds and builds…and builds.   Everything is intentional. Though the execution may change, the vision stays the same. People who are inspired never give up on their contribution to society or their gift.

4) Mental and emotional process, it’s internal.   You don’t need to be told or reminded to do it.

It’s very easy to confuse our inspiration with motivation when others discover what inspires us.   However, motivation will never win because it always times out.

7 Tips for staying inspired.

1) Check-in often with what makes you feel most alive.

2) Share your passion and gifts frequently and never be afraid to ask for your worth.

3) Stay excited, if you’re bored, it’s time to make a change.

4) Watch the transitions, transformations, and evolutions and be ready to adapt.

5) Get used to not being acknowledged and remain compassionate.

6) Appreciate spontaneity and never get stuck.

7) Get quiet often and listen.

Being motivated definitely has it’s time and place.   Being inspired is what keeps us going, long after motivation has expired.

Ask yourself often:   am I motivated? or am I inspired?