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Is Motivation JUST An Inside Job? 3 Ways That Your Environment Affects Your Success

What really motivates you? Do things that nudge you into action come from something outside of you, or are you motivated strictly by your inner wisdom?

We all have varying degrees of inner and outer motivation. But which one is more significant?

Sometimes answering that question feels like that age-old debate about “nature vs. environment.” Sure, inner and outer influences both matter. But which one is ultimately more important?

I personally lean harder towards intrinsic motivation. If you want to make real and lasting changes, I fully believe that the most effective motivation comes from within.

But if you’re primarily motivated by what’s in your heart, does it mean that you can “bloom wherever you’re planted,” never fazed by the slings and arrows of life?

That would be the ideal situation, wouldn’t it? Of course, life rarely serves us up exactly what we want, does it?

So what’s in your heart matters. What surrounds you matters. But which kind of motivation matters more?

Let’s start by looking at the difference between motivation from the inside vs. motivation from the outside, and define a couple of terms.  

Extrinsic Motivation comes from outside of yourself.  It might come from places, situations, or other people. For example, if you look at someone and think to yourself, “I want what she has,” that’s a motivator from an outside source.

Intrinsic Motivation comes from within. It’s based on a deep and internal desire for change. It’s centered on a personal “why”, and it usually comes from a place of self-love.

Both types of motivation show up for everyone. We all make decisions and take actions based on both outer and inner influences.

I know in my life, I tend to more easily crush goals that are intrinsically motivated. After all, motivation that comes from your heart is more likely to be based on love.

But if you’re mainly motivated by what you see on the outside, there’s a good chance that it’s rooted in criticism, lack, and feelings of inadequacy. And for real, yo. No good change can from a place of self-loathing. 

So if intrinsic motivation carries the day, why worry about your outer environment at all? Because like it or not, your outer world it does make a difference. What you allow into your space can help get you on the road to success, or it can turn into major roadblocks.

The good news is that while we can’t control everything that happens outside of you, we can take the steps to ensure that our outer world is as “environmentally friendly” as possible.

I’ve got 3 ways that your environment affects your motivation, and 3 ways to shift the power of your outer world to your favor.

Number One: Distinguishing Comparison From Inspiration.

I’ve been asked this many times by clients and friends alike: what is the difference between comparison and inspiration?

In other words, where do you cross the line between being inspired by the success of others and into to the trap of comparisonitis?

It’s perfectly OK to see others and be inspired by their achievements. But the difference between inspiration and self-deprecation comes down to this question…

How does looking at that other person make you feel?

Let’s say you look at somebody and say to yourself, “I wish I could be like her! She’s so dedicated, so fit, so sexy,” and then you end up saying, “I wish I was her.”


Suppose you look at that same person, only this time, you ask yourself how she did what she did. You’re inspired by what she’s accomplished, and you can’t wait to learn how you can do the same for yourself.

Which situation do you think will provide more lasting motivation?

If looking at someone else’s success makes you feel “less than,” it’s comparison. But if looking at that person brings on a buzz of excitement, hope, and optimism, it’s inspiration.

There are people in your life who (usually through no fault of their own) set you up for feelings of comparison OR feelings of inspiration. Pay attention to what you’re feeling when you’re looking at people outside of yourself, and understand the difference.

Go for inspiration as much as possible, and be aware when the other thing kicks in. Watch out for those comparison-based triggers, and be ready to address them when they show up.

Which leads me to the next step…

Number Two: Curbing the Negative Influences.

When you’re setting a goal or going for a big change, you need to give yourself every advantage possible. That means looking out for negative influences that might be sneaking in through the back door and sabotaging your goals.

Negative influences might be places, situations, or people. Sometimes those influences are glaringly obvious. Other times they’re so far under the radar that they’re almost undetectable.

Here’s an example: have you found that you rock your healthy eating plan throughout the week, but when you go on vacation or hang out with your friends on the weekends, all bets are off? (If this doesn’t happen to you, guide me, dear Yoda.)

It’s an outside trigger that might make you veer off track. And those negative influences can show up in your outer world without warning.

So how do you prevent those triggers from turning into permanent roadblocks?

First, be aware that they exist in the first place. And second, have a game plan in place to defuse them if they pop up.

If you are aware of the negative influences in your outer world that mess with your success, you can create strategies to stop them before they stop you.

Number Three: Creating a Support System That Has Your Back.

Even though the ultimate motivation comes from within, nobody achieves their big dreams in a vacuum. We all need support, feedback, and love from our fellow humans.

That’s where having a network of like-minded people comes in! Whether they’re friends, family members, or an online tribe, the company you keep matters. And when you let soulmate friends into your world, it can help create not only for you, but for everyone involved!

Because when you let the right people into your world, you have a chance not only to receive support but also to provide it. What could be better than the give-and-take of a real support system?

What happens in your outer world isn’t always within your control. But if you can stick with what inspires you, defuse your personal triggers, and create a supportive network, you can navigate the real world with a lot more ease and dare I say it, groove.

Is your environment set up to support your success? Based on the 3 tips we talked about, what is working well for you? And what could use a little bit of work?

Celebrate what is working in your favor. And if changes need to be made, take the steps to make those upgrades. And set yourself up to be as successful as you possibly can.

Speaking of support, are you looking for a community of women who are living BIG lives in their small towns? The Groove Seekers Community just might be the place for you! Stop by and check out this lively community of like-minded women right here!

And if you’re really looking for next-level support, check out the upcoming workshop Get Your Ass in Gear and Get It Done. (Yes. That’s actually what it’s called.)

So many times, we let excuses, our personal circumstances or other factors get in the way of us achieving what we most want. In this 90-minute virtual workshop, we’ll break through to the truth of what’s holding you back and give you a game-plan to attack your goal with brand-spanking-new enthusiasm.

Check it out. It’s going to be epic.


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