Re-ignite your motivation

A few months back I visited the village of Iten in the Kenyan Rift Valley, the training ground of more than 800 full-time professional long-distance runners. There is no doubt that dollars are what drive their brutally taxing training sessions at 2,800 metres above sea level, day in and day out. Nobody runs for fun here. Just take 43-year-old Esther Kiplagat, one of Kenya’s best female marathon runners. Since childhood she trained really hard, running more than 100 km a week to prepare herself for winning the big races. But after she retired in her late 30s she has as good as stopped running. She doesn’t do anything anymore; she doesn’t go jogging on the paths around Iten or spend time in the gym to stay in shape. Nothing. Today she is an overweight woman in her mid-40s, and her story is far from unique. There are countless examples of Kenyan runners who never wear running shoes again after they have brought enough money home. A similar phenomenon flourishes among the Brazilians top football players. Take, for example, the superstar Ronaldinho. As a result of his fantastic performances for FC Barcelona he was named Best Footballer in the World two years on the trot, and still had his best years ahead of him. Or so everybody thought. Since then, Ronaldinho’s career has been in free fall. His appetite vanished and today, he can look back on a career where in reality he only played two or three good seasons at the highest standard. You will find a whole host of examples of elite performers like Ronaldinho who have lost their appetite when they got the money, the Mercedes and the glamour.
In others words: If football players, business leaders, entrepreneurs or any other performer wish to stay the top they just understand that the motivation that took them to one level is not necessarily the kind of motivation that will take them to the next level. Extrinsic motivation triggers like cool cash and social promotion are important factors, but not enough if you are to maintain your appetite. What really triggers your fire? And how are you re-igniting it?

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