What is motivation, and how do motivational speakers help?

Adam explores what motivation actually means, and how motivational speakers can help you succeed…

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an existential piece examining what it is that gets us up in the morning, pondering over the meaning of life and what role we all have to play. It’s just that when you think about what ‘motivation’ actually means it’s a little strange.

The Oxford Dictionary defines motivation as “providing someone with a reason for doing something”, which is quite a depressing definition when you think about it. But I believe I have a better definition – take that Oxford! Being motivated doesn’t just give you a reason to do something, it gives you a reason to do something more.

Motivation can come from many places. Some are motivated by music, others by the actions of heroic individuals and others by pictures of cats with slogans on them. All of the following motivational speakers inspire their audiences with entirely different messages and all come from completely different backgrounds, but if they can stop and make you think about how you, or your colleagues can be that little bit better, their job is done.

The first conference I went to with JLA, I had the pleasure of seeing the great Sir Dave Brailsford deliver a talk on marginal gains and how to help people realise their maximum potential. At Sir Dave’s first Olympic Games with British Cycling, he helped them win a record (at the time) 2 Gold medals. Fast forward 12 years and British Cycling are now the dominant force in the sport. His philosophy of ‘marginal gains’ was what inspired the team to this success, and since Beijiing and London he has deservedly become one of the most sought after motivational speakers on the circuit, helping businesses and individuals realise how they can utilise marginal gains to great effect outside of the sport. It’s not hard to take the lessons Dave taught to the likes of Bradley Wiggins and the two Chris’, Froome and Hoy, to see how performing just that little bit better in multiple areas can have huge benefits.

I found myself watching Ellis Watson‘s latest Tedx Talk yesterday afternoon, and he’d love to hear this, but it really left me thinking “I’m going to go home and learn something tonight”. So I came back, looked up a recipe to cook haggis, and made an absolute pigs ear of it. But at least I tried! And I don’t think I would have without that push. In all seriousness though, Ellis makes the thought of being positive and making the most of our potential seem easy– and even if you fail (like me) that’s not a bad thing as long as you improve on it in the future.

Major Chris Hunter came into the office to visit us the other day, and one thing that really struck me when he told us his story was his unwavering positivity and focus in situations that would turn most of us into a quivering mess. But one of Chris’ beliefs is that fear can actually help give us an edge that we might not otherwise realise if we never leave our comfort zones. Being complacent can sometimes mean being left behind, so a little bit of fear in life is just what we need to keep moving forward. I’m constantly scared of something, so I’m going to do great!

The Olympics are over for another 4 years. 4 more years until the nation suddenly become experts on how to execute the a perfect double pike back-flip and talk in the pub about how the referee should have definitely given Sally Conway a Yuko in the semi-finals of the Judo, what fight was he watching!? Another generation of Olympic and Paralympic heroes will be back on our small island soon and they may well be bringing back the biggest haul of precious metals since Sir Francis Drake returned with the treasures of the Cacafuego (thank you Wikipedia), but their inspirational stories are what will cement them in the public eye for years to come. The perfect example being Katherine Grainger – after achieving everything in her rowing career apart from that elusive Olympic Gold, Katherine took to Dorney Lake in 2012 to achieve her dream and the rest is history! In Rio 2016, Katherine continued her story by overcoming the odds to return with yet another medal from her 5th games, and in her speeches Katherine explains how spotting the seemingly smallest of opportunities can really pay off, especially when competing or working at the highest level.

This is just an incredibly small number of the incredible motivational speakers we work with here at JLA. We’re lucky to see and talk to so many talented and inspirational individuals that it’s hard not to be motivated on a daily basis.

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