The Top 5 Motivation Poisons

I hear it all the time from clients and people that I meet: they’re not motivated. They say they’re lazy and wish they could do this or that but…

I’m not big on excuses or labels, especially “lazy”. So, when I hear “I’m just not disciplined,” I almost always ask:

Have you ever been disciplined to do anything?

What was it that helped you?

What got in the way?

Identifying obstacles helps you build a sustainable foundation for perseverance in the face of adversity.

Motivation is personal. Discipline is a muscle.

You can learn to be motivated.

You HAVE to want to put time into it, to create a new habit, to make it part of your lifestyle.

Before your rebellious inner child starts an ‘I DON’T WANNA!’ tantrum, keep reading. One of these 5 poisons may be getting in your way of your heart’s desire.

The Top 5 Poisons of Motivation:
1. Perfectionism

Become a recovering perfectionist. Oh, yes, I did say that.

When you get caught up in ideals, you create resistance that gets in the way of your motivation. You’re stuck focusing on the ideal and think “If its not perfect, why bother?” We’re so addicted to this in our society. We feel that getting the best grades, getting the awards, getting all these accolades defines us and holds the basis of our self-worth.

And if we don’t get the gold star, we beat ourselves up and miss the point. If you get caught with in achieving perfect results, you’re never going to start anything. You’re paralyzed.

Thomas Edison invented 3,000 duds before he invented the lightbulb. He himself did not call it failure. Instead, he said: “Any of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Taking imperfect action is the best starting point.

2. Comparing yourself to others

This is another potent motivation-zapper. Even worse, it can prevent you from finding your own path. Motivation is truly personal.

Study what motivates others as inspiration, but if it  gets you stuck or moving backwards with doubt, then why bother? It’s easy to get lost in someone else’s life, wishing that it was your own.

Trying to be ‘like’ ANYONE is a total waste of time.

Yes, we’re all guilty of it. Remember: there is only one of YOU.

The universe made you perfect. Ignoring that and trying to emulate someone else is a slap in the face.

3. Thinking that you’re not ‘good enough’

If, like me, you grew up hearing “You have to prove yourself to the world!”, that mantra probably still follows you. It can run you to the ground.

I understand that in your work you have to show your abilities or your skills to prove you can deliver. But you shouldn’t rely on that for self-validation.

If you’ve been told you’re not good enough, I understand the programming. It hurts and digs deep. But make no mistake: it’s a LIE.

You have to be motivated to fulfill your soul’s desire, to create your own happiness, healing and harmony.

If you were born, then you are good enough.

You must change the theme song in your mind from You SUCK to You ROCK.

4. Doing too much at once.

Bitten off more than you can chew? That might be sabotaging your progress. You’ve got to pull back a little bit and really look at what’s going on. Don’t be a slave to your ego.

I get snagged by this one and always have to step back to make sure my choices are in alignment with my soul. If you feel that it’s too overwhelming, take one step at a time.

Baby steps.

The solution here is to hone in on your goal, desire, or dream. Life will happen. It will always take more time, more money or more anything than you anticipated. Don’t let it stop you, and remember to check in with your WHY.

It’s about setting goals that stretch you outside of your comfort zone and you believe, on one level, that you can achieve.  Go for a C+, good enough and I promise you will do better. It’s a great way to trick the ego and make it right. This may keep you motivated to do more.

Being aware and taking passionate action keeps you on the level and open to enjoying the adventure.

5. Excusitis.

There is always an excuse – why you can’t do it, why today it didn’t happen, how you’re going to do it tomorrow. When we find excuses for not doing things, we’re rebelling. We just want to stay in a comfort zone.

See how this comes up again?  A part of it is that your ego feels threatened by moving forward and wants to protect you.
But really, you’re totally safe.

When you do something you haven’t done before, your ego goes into a state of alarm: “Watch out! Danger!” and then fear kicks in.

But my answer to that is “No. FEAR is  f*cking exciting and rewarding.” This reframe changes the game.

We say “I can’t,” but really we’re afraid to try something new. That’s the truth and we’re afraid to admit it, or to even prove ourselves wrong. You are capable of more. You can handle more, even in the midst of a challenge.  Try it, you may be surprised, and bust a limiting belief.

What excuses are you living with?

Ready to release the need to live in your perfectionism, low self esteem and excuses? Then ask yourself this question.

What’s holding you back ?

Take your time, and don’t think about it – feel into it. Be kind with yourself. Your power is in your choices.

Now, go get’em warrior soul!


After a harrowing diagnosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Hillary Rubin ditched her glam job at Prada and set off on a wellness quest that spanned the globe. Today, she is symptom/medication-free, and has dedicated her life to helping thousands of women achieve profound, unbridled freedom from trauma, abuse and disease.  A Spiritual Life Design Coach, wellness pioneer and yogi, she has been featured on Fit TV, in The Los Angeles Times, The Independent, Yoga Journal and contributes to the Huffington Post and Origin magazines. Hillary is also writing her first book to help women alchemize adversity into action, with the forward by Agape Founder Michael Bernard Beckwith. Visit her here or join the conversation @hillaryrubin.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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