Purpose is Motivational

I work in the area of change.  Business coaching (most coaching really) is about getting something you do not already have.  So lately I’ve been hearing this question: “How do I get motivated?” This is not a new topic. But it’s a great question.

“What is motivation?” Most people describe it as some sort of feeling that spurs them into action. This feeling of excitement can certainly get you moving, but it is not reliable.  People who define it as a feeling can spend a lot of time waiting for the feeling to come again.  You may have the “feeling” sometimes and not at others.  But what if motivation is not a feeling.  What is it then?  (http://www.mclarencoaching.com/what-if-motivation-never-comes/)

I believe, after years of working with people – who are doing things that scare them, that feel too big for them, that they have wanted all their lives and never done – that motivation is an experience of purpose.

What is purpose then?  Purpose is your “why?”  A purpose will drive you if it is one that speaks to you, one that means something to you, and one that you feel connected to.  Purpose may not make you feel like doing anything though.

How then do you use purpose to create action?  There are several possibilities.  I suggest you start experimenting with them:

  1.  If there is something you really want, ask yourself “why do I want it?”  Sometimes the things you say you will do are not backed up by a purpose that is meaningful to you.  Some people declare weight loss and then do not take the action, only to discover the “why” was “because I should.”  Other people declare weight loss and do stay committed, having discovered their “why” is “because my doctor said I would die or have a serious health condition if I did not lose weight.
  2. Examine those things that you are committed to and ask yourself “why am I committed to them?”  (Hint: you will know you are committed if you are doing it.)  For example, parents who have gotten up in the middle of the night with a child can tell you they did not feel like doing it.  But they did it.  Why?  Because the child’s well-being was important to them.  Or maybe because they wanted the child to feel loved.  Everyone has their own reason, but it is a compelling reason.  You can tell because they are taking the action.
  3. In everything you do, ask “why”.  Start to get familiar with the concept of purpose.  Purpose drives all actions, but it is usually unexamined.  Sometimes when you find out what your actual purpose is you will decide not to do the task.  I have had clients want to talk about conversations they desired with certain people and when I ask the first question I always ask – why do you want to have this conversation? – they don’t know the answer.  And when they look closely they realize they want to seek retribution or make themselves feel “right” about something.  These are not “bad” purposes, but many people when they see this is the purpose will then decide not to take the action.  Illuminate your purpose!


And if you are interested in learning more about how to be purposeful, and how to use purpose for motivation, or if you are interested in discovering your life purpose and/or your business purpose, we have a book study series coming in September.

This is a book study on purpose creation, how to use a purpose to create motivation and direction, and also creating a vision (for whatever time frame) that is in alignment with purpose.  It is also about being purposeful in everything so you are intentional and effective.

What does it mean to know YOUR purpose?

Knowing the reason for doing what you are doing (purpose) generates

  •  Effective time management– you will be purposeful and directed and get more done in a shorter time
  • Clear and intentional communication– in being purposeful and directed, you will have effective communication and create better results
  • Ability to get what you want – quickly


From prior participants.  Knowing my purpose…

Allows me to make very strategic decisionsin my personal life and business

Helps me decide what to do when I am making difficult decisions

Helps me decide what NOT to do, saving me time and making me more directed and fulfilled

It is easier to say “no”to things that I don’t want to do, because I have identified that it does not serve my purpose

For the activities that I say “yes” to, I look to my purpose to find the “why” and that helps me stay committedto my decisions

Writing my purpose helped me to understand myself better and make changes in my practice that align with who I am and what I truly want

“Purpose is a guiding principle that will help you understand what is most important in your life and help you make choices in keeping with that importance.  Knowing your purpose will enable you to live all areas of your life with greater meaning, which in turn makes decision-making easier, and results in greater fulfillment overall.  Knowing and living your purpose will assist you in ‘taking a stand’ against other people’s (and your own) drifts.…Your purpose provides you with a central guidance system, which makes you less likely to be swayed by other people’s agendas or to get off track.”  (Coaching for Attorneys, Chapter 9, Purpose and Vision)   We use the Coaching for Attorneys book, but the tools are applicable in all professions and areas of life.

Click here for more info:  www.mclarencoaching.com/upcoming-trainings




About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching attorneys and management since early 2008. She wrote a book, published by the American Bar Association, "Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance." She coaches attorneys and managers one-on-one, and provides in-house training designed to improve productivity and bring accountability to the organization.

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