I receive increasing amounts of correspondence these days through the various social media channels – mainly email – and I try to reply to them all, save the proposals of marriage (to Tom, not me) and or declarations of love for him. Nor do I bother responding to abusive mails although thankfully, these are rare. My apologies then to anyone who has written to me outside these categories and has not received a reply. My in-box fills up, I get distracted, I am totally disorganised…
Recently I received a lovely email requesting permission to use some passages from my book, Eclipsed by a professional sports coach in order to motivate her charges. How flattering I thought. And polite as well to ask since how likely is it that I would ever hear her speak – especially so, given that she is a two-time Olympian ice skater. My skating days never really got going and are definitely behind me. I thanked her and gave her my blessing of course and if the US skate team cleans up at the next Olympics, then I might allow myself a little share in their glory.
But it got me thinking about motivation; something we all need in order to get anything done.
Most people’s motivations begin with the basics; namely, not to starve and to this end, we need an income and most usually, a job.
With most jobs, usually it plays out that the harder we work, the more bread we make. But this must be insufficient these days, since motivating people has itself become a job – even, dare-I-say- it, a profession.
There are now even speakers with their own category – motivational speakers.
Someone inspirational who can speak to a group of people – get them fired up to strive and achieve even more.
At business conferences, I am booked to speak in the evening, usually after dinner and always in the hope that I can round the evening off by making everyone laugh. No pressure, then.
But during the day at such conferences, it is the turn of the motivators. The tub thumpers. Usually these are people who have done something remarkable (and very often it seems to me, bloody stupid); like climbed a mountain in flip flops or rowed across an ocean in a metal bath. Very often, they are sports stars with a raft of medals. But whatever their particular achievement; their speeches are similar and sometimes, exactly the same… Believe in yourself. Think positively. Do your best and never give up.
Two themes recur in the mails I receive.
- Letters suggesting that I write a parenting manual which is of no interest because who is so smug to think they’ve got things so right and wish to share their secrets. Not me.
- And secondly, that I should consider becoming a motivational speaker – and again, offers no appeal.
I guess I could give such a speech – about trying hard and not giving up… but it would feel hollow since I am still trying and hoping for further achievements myself – which itself is what motivates me. That I am not done yet and that the good fight continues.
So at conferences, if you ever see that I am booked in the 3pm slot – it will mean one of two things – that I have finally done something that is worth shouting about – or that I have thrown in the towel.
And until then, it is back to the coal-face.