Motivation is for Amateurs

How often have you stopped short of taking the first step towards achieving something you are truly over the moon about accomplishing because you didn’t feel motivated enough? That if you just felt a little more psyched up, a little more jazzed, that you would be down at the pool in a flash ready to smash out some meters?

It’s easy to fall into the motivation conundrum…

If you wake up and don’t feel motivated, certainly that must mean that you were never destined to go to the pool.

The narration in your head ends up going a little something like this…

“Obviously I don’t truly want this thing (whatever your respective thing or goal is) otherwise I would feel like a supercharged freight train of energy and determination. But I don’t, so I won’t do anything today. But maybe tomorrow I will wake up with the motivation that I need to achieve the things I want to achieve. Yeah, that would be nice.”

motivation is for amateurs 2

Motivation is not a prerequisite to doing what you need to do.

It’s easy to talk ourselves of doing the right thing as a result of motivation. Somewhere along the way we figured that we had to be motivated to do something. Habit, will and dedication weren’t enough—we had to be jacked up as well. And if we weren’t, then obviously we don’t truly want it.

Motivation is for amateurs.

Amateurs sit around and wish for motivation to show up. To guide their effort. To support and push them when they are tired and sore. They complain that they aren’t motivated, do little to actively find it, and hinge their effort on whether they are feeling inspired that day or not.

Pros go to work, regardless of whether they are hit by an extra spark of inspiration or motivation that day. They know that there is work to be done, and motivated or not, it is going to get done. Period. End of story.

(Or rather… End of story. And then… Period. Okay, that works a little better.)

The work required for generating killer results in the pool isn’t inherently fun.

It’s rewarding in many ways, but at many points it is anything but pleasurable or fun.

It means braving all of those early mornings, maintaining technique and mental focus when your muscles and lungs and brain want to fold, of doing the right stuff when no one is around to pat you on the shoulder and say, “Good job!”

When you are starting out on the path towards something hot and awesome everything is a whole lot easier. You have energy to spare, getting to the pool on time is a cinch, and maxing out your time in the water is a breeze. And not only is the in-the-pool stuff easy—easy might not be the word—but it easier because you have the wind behind your back from all that initial excitement and buzz.

something funny happens

There is a lot of gratification and motivation that comes with showing up every day and doing the work. But that motivation isn’t something you should rely on. On days where you are tired and sore it will nowhere to be seen. But that shouldn’t be the thing to dissuade you from putting on a whooping down at the local aquatic center that day.

After all…

When you show up consistently.

Streamline your life outside the pool for success in it…

Then something kinda funny starts to happen…

Motivation starts to build upon the results of your hard work.

You stop having to seek outwards for it.

The more consistent you are in the pool, the better you are going to feel about your swimming.

The harder you work, the more you are going to value your investment of time and sweat equity and continue to hammer on.

Action drives motivation.

Not the other way around.

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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