An Overview On Motivation

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By Grant Teaff • Executive Director • American Football Coaches Association

Incentive- or reward-based motivation is difficult to maintain because incentives and rewards will run out. Self-motivation has the greatest staying power and once mastered, becomes your constant companion.

The power of self-motivation lies in the fact that as individuals, we know ourselves better than anyone; therefore, the goals must be our goals.

Step one to self-motivation is a thorough self-evaluation of one’s personal assets and liabilities. Then begins the process of accentuating the positives and eliminating the negatives.

Step two deals with visualization – or creating mental pictures – of one’s own desires, thereby creating a reward motivation inside self-motivation.

Step three deals with learning how to set goals in all areas of one’s life. Physical, mental and spiritual goals lay a foundation upon which you can set other important goals.


Reaching goals should come incrementally. First, set short-term goals, then intermediate goals that are all designed to help you attain your ultimate goals. If you know where you are going, you have a greater chance to get there.

Self-motivation is powerful when you realize that the goals you set can be attained by your own personal effort. Writing your goals down and proclaiming them to someone else becomes a commitment that challenges you to achieve your goals.

Dr. Abraham Manslow created a motivation theory he referred to as self-actualization. It is about the quest for reaching one’s full potential as a person.

Unlike lower-level needs, self-actualization is never fully satisfied. As one grows psychologically, there are always new opportunities to continue to grow.

“Self-actualized people can have internal motivators such as truth, justice, wisdom and meaning,” says Dr. Manslow.

Self-actualization, according to the dictionary, is the realization of fulfillment of one’s talents, potentials, personal growth and development. A self-motivated coach will be able to teach this amazing method of motivation to those he leads.

This article was excerpted from Beyond The Game: A Coach’s Influence by Grant Teaff, AFCA Executive Director.

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