What’s your motivation?

I receive increasing amounts of correspondence these days through the various social media channels – mainly email – and I try to reply to them all, save the proposals of marriage (to Tom, not me) and or declarations of love for him. Nor do I bother responding to abusive mails although thankfully, these are rare. My apologies then to anyone who has written to me outside these categories and has not received a reply. My in-box fills up, I get distracted, I am totally disorganised…

Recently I received a lovely email requesting permission to use some passages from my book, Eclipsed by a professional sports coach in order to motivate her charges. How flattering I thought. And polite as well to ask since how likely is it that I would ever hear her speak – especially so, given that she is a two-time Olympian ice skater. My skating days never really got going and are definitely behind me. I thanked her and gave her my blessing of course and if the US skate team cleans up at the next Olympics, then I might allow myself a little share in their glory.

But it got me thinking about motivation;  something we all need in order to get anything done.

Most people’s motivations begin with the basics; namely, not to starve and to this end, we need an income and most usually, a job.

With most jobs, usually it plays out that the harder we work, the more bread we make. But this must be insufficient these days, since motivating people has itself become a job – even, dare-I-say- it, a profession.

There are now even speakers with their own category – motivational speakers.

Someone inspirational who can speak to a group of people – get them fired up to strive and achieve even more.

Who knew?

At business conferences, I am booked to speak in the evening, usually after dinner and always in the hope that I can round the evening off by making everyone laugh. No pressure, then.

But during the day at such conferences, it is the turn of the motivators. The tub thumpers. Usually these are people who have done something remarkable  (and very often it seems to me, bloody stupid); like climbed a mountain in flip flops or rowed across an ocean in a metal bath. Very often, they are sports stars with a raft of medals. But whatever their particular achievement; their speeches are similar and sometimes, exactly the same… Believe in yourself. Think positively. Do your best and never give up.

Two themes recur in the mails I receive.

  1. Letters suggesting that I write a parenting manual which is of no interest because who is so smug to think they’ve got things so right and wish to share their secrets. Not me.
  2. And secondly, that I should consider becoming a motivational speaker – and again, offers no appeal.

I guess I could give such a speech – about trying hard and not giving up… but it would feel hollow since I am still trying and hoping for further achievements myself – which itself is what motivates me. That I am not done yet and that the good fight continues.

So at conferences, if you ever see that I am booked in the 3pm slot – it will mean one of two things – that I have finally done something that is worth shouting about – or that I have thrown in the towel.

And until then, it is back to the coal-face.




38 thoughts on “What’s your motivation?

  1. Connie Barfoot says:

    Hello Dom,
    My name is Connie. I’m a 17 year old from London. Yes, by knowing my age you have probably guessed that I am a huge fan of Tom. But through Tom I have found your blog, and I really love it. I just wanted to say that I always read your blog and I feel that by reading it, it helps me, it calms me. I feel like this is a really pointless message, but anyways, I hope the family and you are well and I can’t wait to read the more blog posts that are to come.

  2. Mashaal says:

    I just recently started reading your blogs and love them all! I love your writing style and it helps me went to write even more in the future

  3. Team says:

    I enjoy the blog it always puts a smile on my face, we are currently saving to go over there for a holiday ( we are from Australia) and fingers crossed we can go to a show of yours as long as it’s stand up and not motivational l think we would be more entertained the person we are so used to reading
    By the way l am glad my 12 year-old daughter loves Tom if it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t of found your blog

  4. A.J. says:

    Personally, I think your work is pretty darn motivational. I’ve enjoyed your books, and I love the self-deprecating tone of your blog; your writing always seems so positive and uplifting.

    I have to say, I’d probably buy a parenting manual written by you as well. It looks like you have four kids who love their parents and treat others with respect…and I can’t think of a better definition of good parenting.

  5. Pamela says:

    I started reading your books after my daughter started following you son, Tom. Your family is pretty amazing! Your charity work is inspirational. I’m currently reading Esclipsed! I just finished I, Gabriel. I also read Open Links! AMAZING! Not to mention what a wonderful cause! You are a fantastic author. When I find an author I enjoy, I will read all of the books they have written. I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of your books. Keep writing, your brilliant at it!
    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs. The one about the quad bikes had me in stitches. I’m so glad no one was hurt. I look forward to reading more in the future!

  6. Heather says:

    As a fan, I love your blogs. As an American you make me want to be British. As a parent, I love your anecdotes about parenthood. Thanks for making me realize we’re all just trudging our way through this thing called child rearing. Maybe we’re both not doing such a bad job after all. You always make me laugh, but I would definitely listen to a motivational speech delivered by you. Thanks for the laughs.

  7. Sarah says:

    This was so enlightening to read, and you did make me laugh at the end, so well done! In all honesty though, it is so very amusing to read these blog posts- please do not stop writing them.

  8. Mrudula says:

    Hello sir.
    I am a student from India. You will probably remember me if you remember a mail you received thanking you because Only in America gave me an idea for a paper. I am a student of Communicative English, and life gets hard around this time because of the amount of work we have. Anyway… getting to the point: I am very glad I found your blog because I have found when things at college get very difficult, reading your blog serves as a great way to relax, think of new ideas.
    This comment has gotten too big already.
    Thank you sir!

      • Millie says:

        My name is Millie and I’m from London. I am 13 and I just wanted to say that I don’t realise how many people your family actually help, not only with your amazing charity but with your words, your kindness and just the purity of it. I think I speak on behalf of billions when I say, you’ve not only helped me but you’ve changed me for the better. Thank you.

        • Dom says:

          Thank you for this young lady (a term of affection which I now worry might be offensive) – your name is the heroine of my first novel – and so will always be special. Best wishes for your future which I think will be just fine.

  9. Drea says:

    Hello, Mr. Dominic Holland! I just wanted to say that I know situations can be tough and motivation can get pretty low. I’ve spent an entire year just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Wether to just give into my mother’s own life goals for me or to ignore it and tell my self ‘Hey you’re only 19 you don’t need to have every single detail of your life figured out already’. But after months of soul searching and feeling the most lost and pathetic I have in my entire life yet (since I’m 100% sure this won’t be the last time). I know what I want to do and it was so obvious because it was something I had been doing for almost two years as just a hobby. Something that had been filing my brain with ideas. I want to be an author. Even if my grammar wants to make people rip their eyes off and I have no idea on how to go about things. But I’ll learn. The second I mentioned it to my family and made a step forward towards that goal, well it hasn’t been going well. But It’s made me realize new goals I need to set and I’m still going. And I wanted to tell you I hope that you get to where you want to be and continue the good fight. And write as many books or blogs or do shows as much as you want until you’ve reached where you want to reach. I’m sorry that this is really long I just needed to get this out there. And I hope nothing that I wrote came off as rude or odd. Thank you for your time and hope you have a nice day.

  10. Litzy says:

    Your blogs are amazing, it puts me in a thinking zone, thanks!
    Also your blogs helps me with the english because my native language is spanish
    Your family is lovely, have a nice day Dom 🙂

  11. Shaina D says:

    Dear Mr. Holland,
    I’ve recently been reading up on your blogs and I really enjoy your style of writing. I honestly find it quite hilarious that people would propose to your son through you, sounds almost like something out of biblical times.
    I wanted to thank you for taking the time to reply to those who contact you, it really means a lot. Coming from the side of the reader, it is rare that an author (especially one as successful as yourself) will take time out of their probably very busy lives to reply to fans. And for that we are all very grateful.
    Best regards,
    Shaina D

  12. Miriam says:

    h Hello, you are very right, I am 18 years old today, it happens to us that we do not trust ourselves, but I like a phrase that says “what would happen if you were not afraid of what might happen” and most of the time simply fear paralyzes, it is the first time I read your block and it is honestly very good.

  13. Kat Leroy says:

    The best advice I ever got was very simple: Work hard and don’t be an asshole. I don’t know about you but I think it beats out all long and constantly repeated motivational speeches. :)) But should you ever change your mind, I would make an exception and would love to hear a motivational speech from you. Because if your blog and your novels are anything to judge by, your speech would also probably be funny and clever at the same time.

  14. Regina says:

    As always, a wonderful post to help me decompress at the end of a long and busy week. And, without (hopefully) sounding like I am flattering, I find you much more digestible than any motivational speaker. They often seem out of touch with reality or else obviously toeing some company line (their own?) Yours is a realistic approach to life that I very much appreciate. Thanks.

  15. Audrey says:

    I think the label of success is all in a person’s perception of themselves. Some people view me as a success because I have a great family, a nice house and have been to 2 Olympic Games as a coach (I feel you outed me so I might as well go with it) and I run a profitable business mentoring other coaches. Other people view me as less than successful because I didn’t coach the Olympic champion, I drive a 2010 Ford Escape and I am not on the Forbes list of billionaires like they are (my family is non negotiable in the success category), but they hang out with me because I am funny. I think I am who I am supposed to be , successful or unsuccessful is a label and I have tons more stuff I hope to get done and who knows if it will happen.
    I had a podcast on Voice America where I interviewed successful people and asked them to share their secrets…they were sports people and authors and artists and chefs and politicians and producers and comedians… and the common thread was that they loved what they did and as soon as they hit a target or completed a project, they couldn’t wait to do something else they loved. And they had tons of failures and frustrations and unaccomplished missions, but they accepted that as part of who they are.
    I am guessing most people think you are a big success, but it’s not up to them to assign your label.
    For the record, I would hire you to speak with the parents of my athletes to help them with perspective, but you are in the UK and we work primarily in the US. I did do a camp in the UK and it was very very challenging because I could not understand the Scottish skaters.
    And also for the record- the book says I needed your permission to quote you! I am a rule follower.
    Let me know if you want skating lessons, I can hook you up with some successful coaches in London.

    This is the first blog post I have ever read about me by a non skater… thanks I guess

  16. Drea says:

    Hello, Mr. Holland! I have no idea if this will post, mostly because for some reason I can’t even sign up for updates. But here it goes. I just recently started reading your blogs and have become a fan of them. I love your humor and your style. This post came at a great time, to the point I’m even in awe by the timing. For a good solid year now I’ve been completely lost and have felt the most pathetic yet (since I’m only 19 I’m sure there is more to come. Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at this age?). I just pleased my mom with following something she wanted me to do since I had no idea what I wanted out of my life. It should have been obvious. But it wasn’t because it went against everything my mom wanted for me. A stable, easy, money-making career. With this blog, you’ve reminded me that it’s ok to not want something that others might want from you. That you need to fight the good fight for the achievements you want. For the goals you want. And I really, really thank you for that. Thank you.

    Also, I’m sorry for my grammar (I’m crap at it) and the length of this. But thank you for your time and your timing.

  17. Kenisha says:

    Hello Dom
    I recently found your work through Tom and absolutely love it. Your Trust is amazing and it really warms my heart that you helped so many people. I am from India and currently live in London and I want to thank you for helping children in Hyderabad. In India we have big families so you probably affected the life of a distant relative and made it better. It’s a great idea to help so many different charities across the globe and I hope you keep doing so. I find that your blog gives me joy as you speak the truest words and wish allow of your family luck, wellbeing and happiness in the future.
    Thank you so much

  18. Claudia says:

    Hello mr. Holland!
    I’m a new reader of your blog and I am enjoying it a lot! To be honest, this article made me think a lot about my personal motivation and motivation in general indeed and, once I have forged my own opinion about it, I came back here to read it all over again, and the more I have scrolled through your text the more I have found few points of accordance with my view. I think one of our main source of propelling force is family, however you put it: whether you have to cater for them materially or you would like to repay them for the sacrifices they’ve made for you and the support they have constantly given you. This has led me to a further stream of consciousness about sacrifices and family: it takes a strong motivation to keep on sacrificing, for what? And I came up with this: for a “greater good”! The hope that in the end something Good, which is meant to happen, will actually happen and the awareness that what happens is bigger that our own ambitions. I think that is my motivation – or my way to explain failures, I guess. Whenever I fail in doing something I think of this and of all the things I’ve already achieved, being grateful for what I have without complaining, because I’ve had opportunities which other people can only dream of. As I was saying above, I think this is what transpires from your thought and from Eclipsed too! So thank you so much for providing me with a theme of reflexion and please excuse my verbose style.

  19. Serena says:

    Motivation! This is a big one! Wish I had some. Lots of desire to change things in my life, but hardly find the courage to do it. There are always “buts”, “what ifs”, “can’ts” keeping me here. Maybe one day…

  20. Fathia Flores says:

    Hey, My name is Fathia I’m from Mexico. I heard of your blog, because I’m fan of Tom but that’s not the point. The thing is that the things you say are totally true. Motivational speakers are always saying the same, their speeches are like copy and paste. They’re always telling you to believe that good things will come and more dumb stuff but not much of them tell you the real truth as you.

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