Igniting motivation in others

I am a meathead freak.

I talk about protein more than anyone I know. I have up to 4 protein bars a day, probably 2 shakes, and usually some amino acids. When I eat food, I think about it's protein to calorie ratio.

I have bench pressed over two times my body weight. I have had six pack abs. I prefer going through life shirtless.

I've been working out since I was 14. 13 years of serious dedication.

Initially what drove me was really to just not be fat (which is where I was headed).

The results I saw - the ability to control my physical appearance through my own actions (exercise) and decisions (what to eat) - was fascinating and has created years of a never ending obsession.

I know what motivates me now - I'm a control freak about myself. Only I can determine my level of success in any area of my life - physical, career, relationships - anything.

Something many people have talked to me about, is how they can get "into" the gym (or programming).

So, how do you create motivation in someone else? How do you give them the drive to accomplish their goals?

I don't know the full answer yet, but here is my current roadmap:

  1. Inspire
  2. Educate
  3. Encourage
  4. Challenge
  5. Repeat

Inspiring is something you do without doing anything - if you are leading by example, people will be inspired simply because it's how they would like to see themselves. People want to be better naturally.

An inspired person talks about it - how they want to be better. They may be idealistic and dreaming, but their hopes and goals may be the most valuable thing in their life. Educate them as much as you possibly can. When a friend asks me to workout with them for the first time - I try not to teach them this exercise or that exercise - but more about how muscles work, and what the goals of working out are (ripping fibers, increasing endurance). The idea is for them to understand how to build their own workout around their goals, rather than just proceeding blindly on my word and not understanding what or why they're doing something.

I'll encourage them - I'll set their expectations appropriately. Everything is easy when the mystery is removed. Everything. Its like the day after you learned how to ride a bike, it seems unbelievable that you would have ever needed training wheels to begin with.

Then its time to challenge them to be better - tell them to set their goals. To give themselves a deadline. A start date, anything to measure against themselves.

For the numerous people I've been able to help motivate - this is always the process I've used. The real trick is #5. When a person sees the fruits of their labor, thats when it happens. When they understand that they know how to fish. When they realize they don't need anyone else. When they realize the mystery is gone, and they are the master of themselves.