Motivation propels us forward into the future, but when motivation is lacking or lost how do you get it back? Last week we talked about when it is time to quit. In this episode we discuss what to do about a waning motivation. Motivation is ignited by passion and when we lack motivation it is most generally a passion problem caused by either misalignment with our mission or circumstances keeping us from operating in our passion zone. We are motivated by our emotions, by our needs, but most effectively by our passions. We can live a joyful life when we are motivated by our anticipation of the fulfillment of our vision. Re-fire your passion and your motivation will ignite.

Continue reading for the article and for the episode notes. 

032 – Lost Your Motivation: How Do You Get It Back?

I’ve always been moved by passion. I have to feel something before I can do something, and do it with great intention and purpose. I am one of those guys that has to really feel what I’m doing. There are times I just have to push through, I have to just do things that I don’t really want to do because they have to be done. There are a lot of things in life we’d rather not do and we will never escape them, but I have to have my eyes fixed on something. I have to be going somewhere. There has to be a purpose behind what I’m doing.

What motivates me?

In episode 031 we talked about being in a situation where your passions are not engaged. How do you know when you just keep going in that situation and how do you know when it is time to quit and do something else?

In this episode we turn to motivation:

  • What motivates me?
  • What causes me to get out of bed every morning?
  • What fires me up?
  • What ignites me and propels me into each day with a sense of mission and purpose?
  • What makes you weep?
  • What makes you angry?
  • What evokes emotion?
  • What is it that you cannot wait to do?
  • What do you look forward to doing?

Our Story…

Many of us are on a journey of discovery. I am a transparent guy and I try to exercise wisdom and not divulge too much, but I know that the greatest contribution I can make to the lives of others is my story and what I’ve learned on my journey. I am in a situation where I feel too much of my day is spent on dysfunction that is irreparable. Patching a boat that needs renovated.

Our journey has been a slow with an emerging vision of what is and is not important. The day I realized my wife was absolutely the most important thing in my life was about three days after she was gone forever. That has changed my outlook on what is and is not important.

We’ve continued this journey with the help and empowerment of the Spirit of God, we continue to adjust and readjust. I do not want to spend an inordinate amount of my life on things that don’t make a difference in the way I am called to make a difference. I must understand my life zone and I must walk in it. My motivation has to be different from that of someone wired differently than I am.

I know what fires me up. I know the change that I want see in this world. We keep adjusting our path, our schedule, and our focus to contribute to the change in this world we MUST see. We all have a “to do” list to check off, but I have to guard my life that I put enough time into participating in the transformation we want to see in the world.

What motivates us to pursue God and His agenda? Is it a sense of duty and obligation or is it the joyful delight of relationship? Which motivation is better? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? Is it joyful anticipation of the day and the sense of adventure, or is it a sense of obligation and just something you have to do to survive?

For me, I don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of my time dealing with dysfunction that never ends. I want to put my energies into something that can be fixed. I don’t want to pour money and resources down a rat hole, I want to make a difference.

You know what, there might be people in the world whose mission is to pour resources and emotion down a hole, to waste it, to pour it out. There might be people who are called to help people feel better for 5 minutes without transformation or change. That’s not me. I’m not passionate about that. I am passionate about transformation. When I spend my days propping up things that should be torn down it wears me out because that isn’t my mission.

I am determined to spend my life fulfilling my mission and making a difference. When we connect our activity to our mission and to our vision, a passion starts to grow within us. Some days we lose and some days we win. Some days we move forward, some days we move backward. Some days we experience victory and on other days we experience defeat. [12:48]

  • We need a long-haul motivation.
  • We need a motivation that comes from seeing the end and believing it is attainable.
  • We need a motivation that arises from a can-do passion.
  • We need a motivation that comes from positioning ourselves to not do simply what we can but what we MUST do.

I operate from a prophetic vision. If I can’t see it, I can’t do it. I have to see it first in my spirit. If I can see it, I can pursue it. This “seeing”, for me, comes from the heartbeat of God. When God’s heart is broken about something and that is part of my revelation, then I am broken about it. A passion arises within me to pursue it.

Motivation is layered in three distinct categories. We are motivated through basic emotion, by need, and by possibilities.

The Motivation Layers [17:08]

Layer 1 – Motivated Through Basic Emotion [18:18]

When motivated by survival, pain, or fear we press through with the hope of a better day. We fix our eyes on our values, our mission, and our vision and we chart a course from present reality to desired future. This motivates us because we are going somewhere. You MUST see that you are going somewhere.

The worse thing we can do when we fear is to freeze. Sinking into despair will freeze us into the situation. We must avoid despair because despair strips our motivation. We have to stay anchored in the hope of a better day. If rather, we see the possibilities of how this COULD turn out, or we move forward with a vision of the future, we can still face the difficulties of emotion and experience JOY in the possibilities.

Our season of grief and loss was one of being motivated by different things. I was motivated by a desire to be whole again. I was motivated by the journey of picking up the pieces, or forgetting about the pieces because they could not be put back together. I was motivated by a desire for wholeness. I was motivated by a desire to beat the pain, to find joy again. I was motivated by a belief that a better day and a better life was coming, I just had to do the hard work of pressing beyond the tough stuff, the hardest things.

When I walked through my most difficult time, three things kept me going, three motivators, if you will: [23:44]

  1. I will be whole again – so it became a quest to pursue wholeness. Why? pain.
  2. Good things will happen again – I pursued hope and joy.
  3. This will not be wasted, I will use this to make a difference in the world – I was motivated by a purpose.

Layer 2 – Motivated By Need [27:36]

When motivated by hunger or desperation, we are fired up, ignited because something in us cries out to be resolved. It has been my experience that most every new level I’ve experienced in my life is because I was “hungry” enough (sometimes literally) or desperate enough to take extraordinary measures. (i.e. the four lepers in 2 Kings 7) This equates with the “holy discontent” we spoke of in episode 031.

Money or reward is a great motivator. We exchange something we can do for something we want to have. Our motivation is not anchored in a heart for the thing we are doing, but it is motivated by our desire for what we can obtain in exchange. This is transactional and is a common part of our lives. As spiritual leaders, we should find our motivation in transformation.The economy of this world is transactional, and it is a fact of our lives. God’s economy is based upon transformation and the realignment of motivation. Transactions are a very real part of our lives, but when we can realign so that our passions are ignited and motivating us toward transformation, while the transactional part still exists, our passion is fueled through the transformational aspect.

Layer 3 – Motivated by Possibilities [35:20]

When motivated by the inspiration that comes from the revelation of God, by a passion that arises within us out of our calling and mission, and a contagious love that we pick up from the heart of God, then our motivation begins to move us JOYFULLY forward.

I’ve been in other places in my life where the mission was not compelling enough, or the vision was not compelling enough to motivate me to pursue it. In those seasons we become very task oriented.

My heart goes out to some who are listening who just lack motivation and passion for what they are doing. How do we re-fire passion?

Here’s the thing: Unless you can get a hold of the vision God desires to birth within you, you are going to lack the level of passion, and hence commitment necessary to motivate you to get up and get going on an excellent level.

How do we re-fire passion?

You have to re-fire your mission. What are you called to do? Why?

  • Passion flows from engagement with the presence of God
  • Passion flows from a sense of mission and purpose
  • Passion flows from our values. If we operate within our values structure our passion will rise.

Calibration Points… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead [39:05]

  1. Currently, what are your greatest motivators? List them. How can you connect the things that motivate you to your passions?
  2. What makes you emotional? What emotions do you often express when you talk about your passion? What does this tell you about your life path?
  3. If you are feeling unmotivated and sluggish, describe what you think would re-fire your passions. What needs added, what needs to change, and what needs to be taken off your plate? What one thing can you do today to move toward re-engaging your motivation?


Before we can fulfill our mission we have to be motivated. Motivation comes from the ignition of passion, passion arises from our intent listening to the heartbeat of God. Re-fire your passion and your motivation will rise.

NEXT WEEK: Practically speaking, how can we align our passions and motivations with reality. We are going to very practically explore the HOW of re-firing our passions and refueling our motivation.

We are going to take a short journey over the next few episodes. We find joy when we anchor in the things most important to us (values), we find joy when we understand our unique journey (mission), we find joy when we see that we are going to a good place (vision). We are going to explore each of these things in the next three episodes.

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