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Lou Holtz: We Have to Self-Motivate to Success

“It’s not my job to motivate players. They bring extraordinary motivation to our program. It’s my job not to demotivate them.

Lou Holtz, Football Coach for Notre Dame

Today, I decided to drift away from a quote from a book I have read and simply work off of a quote by the famous Notre Dame Football Coach, Lou Holtz

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present our Motivational Speaker today, Mr. Mike Marchev. For the next 60 minutes I want you to sit back as Mike motivates us to achieve our corporate objectives.”

This sample introduction is both true and false. It is true that my name is Mike Marchev and for lack of a better term, I am a motivational speaker. It is false for the simple fact that I, or anybody else, can’t motivate you.

And so it is with you. You can’t motivate your employees, your spouse, your children, or the players on your little league baseball team. You can’t motivate anybody. Neither can I.

But, you can try to identify an individual’s “hot button” so you can “stimulate” their thinking and support their activities so they, in fact, begin to motivate themselves.

I have labeled this “The Spinnaker Effect” as what once motivated me to achievement was my desire to buy a third sail for my sailboat. (More on this story at another time perhaps.)

What you can do, and hopefully not very often, is to demotivate people. You can easily bust people’s bubbles with negative input, and idea crashing critique. This is especially true if you are in a position of authority.

From this day forward, evaluate your words before they exit your mouth to determine if what you are about to say will put a monkey wrench in the wheels of progress or support the receivers current motivational tendencies. This is the sign of a true leader. Don’t try to motivate. Avoid putting a damper on people’s self-motivation.


Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.

For information on Mike’s Fourth Annual Training Cruise, email Mike at mike@mikemarchev.com with the word “cruise” in the subject box.

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