Your Leadership Motivation Starts Within

I wear many hats, and one of them is being a motivational speaker. I love that part of my work, but when I get hired, without fail, the client always asks, “Can you really get them motivated? Can you really give them the drive they need?”

And I always reply with utter confidence, “Yes, I can.” Because I know the motivation they’re seeking really starts from within.

Motivation is an individual response to an unfolding of pattern of inner needs, ranging from respect to recognition to relevance.

Motivation answers the basic question of why people do what they do and why they behave in a certain way. So if I can address people from within, I know they will be motivated.

Motivational drivers are different for everyone. They are as unique as we are.

To understand motivation we must know what drives us.

Here are a few motivators:  

Recognition. The need to be recognized is a significant motivator. We all want to know that we are appreciated. We seek validation from external sources. Feeling undervalued or unappreciated usually ends up as a lack of motivation.

Freedom. The need to have freedom is an important motivator. Freedom activates our own self-empowerment. Freedom prompts us to make decisions, to take ownership, to be responsible, to make plans, to dream big

Impact. The urge to have an impact is powerful motivator. People who have influence chance things. They get things done and they attain respect.  The idea of having impact motivates us to think deeper about how we can use our talent and influence.

Service. The urge to be of service is one of our strongest motivators; it comes not from our ego, but from our heart. It is based not in personal gain but in making a difference in people’s lives.

Passion. The power of our passion is a profound motivator. The desire to get things done, to excel, to give of ourselves—those are all grounded in passion, the powerful feeling of enthusiasm that we all have inside of us.

Meaning. The desire for meaning is a revealing motivator, because one of the things we all share is a desire for a higher purpose, a yearning to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is meaning that makes our lives into a calling.

The specific  motivators are different for each person, but we can find ours by addressing our value system. That means the most reliable source of motivation will come from one person, and that person is you.

Motivators compel you into action. Values are principles that guide your actions.

Motivation stirs the heart; it is the driving force of our achievements.

There are many ways to motivate others, but first you must know what motivates you. Only a motivated leader motivates others.

Motivation is caught, not taught.

Lead From Within: To find your motivation, you must constantly make an  effort to understand yourself and provide yourself with the means of addressing your own convictions.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

33 Responses to “Your Leadership Motivation Starts Within”

  1. Jon Mertz

    28. Jan, 2014


    I agree. Motivation starts from within and we need to position ourselves to ignite our motivation and enhance our self-awareness. Motivation can be, though, like a car being revved up in neutral. When motivated, we need to take the next step, put our motivation in gear, and move forward. By doing this, our motivation within will ignite further. Thanks!


    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      28. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Jon, for your insightful wisdom. Motivation is when an individual is empowered to do something, it what makes you tick and go the extra mile.


      Reply to this comment
  2. Alli Polin

    28. Jan, 2014

    It’s interesting… I’m doing interviews with applicants for my University and always ask them “What or who motivates you?” One person was quick to answer “I don’t understand your question. I’m self-motivated. It’s all from inside of me.”

    We can do backflips and create incentives but external motivation is rarely sustainable long-term. Another great post, Lolly! Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      28. Jan, 2014

      Self motivation is difficult to do unless you know what your core values are…. to self motivate oneself to do something doesn’t always work on its own. It must be attached to a driving force; it can be biological, emotional, social, or personal in nature.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Martina

    28. Jan, 2014

    Excellent words, Lolly. Yes the true motivations for what we do, how we act, and how we interact lie within us; some of these things deeper than others. And many of them tied to old stories in our lives.

    The key to being successful in life and in business, by whatever personal definition you choose, is based on knowing yourself, learning from your stories, bringing the truth of those stories into the light of day, and then choosing the path forward.

    With all of that said, knowing ourselves is also one of the most difficult journeys we face. But until we make it, we will never understand our “why” of life. And once we have the “why” we are unstoppable. Knowing “why” will sustain us when nothing else will.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      28. Jan, 2014

      GREAT point Martina.

      The answer lies in our WHY’s!

      Thanks so much for sharing, as always I look forward to your insights.


      Reply to this comment
  4. Terri Klass

    28. Jan, 2014

    Insightful post Lolly!

    I often have clients ask how they can motivate their teams to perform at higher levels and to have a sense of commitment. I respond to them, similar to you, that motivation really has to come from within an individual. I believe that if we show and tell others how much we appreciate their contributions and their presence, they will feel more connected and that gratitude will motivate them to grow and lead.


    Reply to this comment
  5. Panteli Tritchew

    28. Jan, 2014

    Hi Lolly,
    We are all born with a small, pilot light continuously burning within us. External events and circumstances impact us daily. Sometimes they fan the flame, sometimes they diminish it.
    As you say, “The specific motivators are different for each person.” When we recognize the pilot light within is never truly extinguished, each one of us can seek and find meaning that best fuels us. Service, Passion and Meaning speak most profoundly to me.

    You had me at “The motivation they’re seeking really starts from within.”

    Sending warm thoughts and wishes, Panteli

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      28. Jan, 2014

      Dear Panteli,

      You are so right, we each have our own pilot light that burns with us. It is an unique flame, special just to us, our passion, our wants, our desire, our story. gives us our fuel for living and being.

      we need to explore within to find out what it is that will drive us.

      people can inspire you – but to be motivated it starts within.

      Miss you on #leadfromwithin


      Reply to this comment
  6. LaRae Quy

    28. Jan, 2014

    I believe that our drive and will to succeed MUST begin with the heart, or we will give up when we face obstacles and adversity.

    Finding our heart, our passion, is the first step of mental toughness. Many people believe that determination or grit is the place to start…not so. It starts from within, and that will give us the determination and grit (and motivation) to persevere.

    Great words of wisdom, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      29. Jan, 2014

      what we need we have inside. what we desire we can create. what we know we have always known.

      thanks LaRae for your constant support and added wisdom. Appreciate you.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Simon Harvey

    28. Jan, 2014

    Love it Lolly. Motivation is a funny thing and sometimes easy to forget that we must actually be motivated ourselves, to have any chance to inspire motivation in others. And how do we ourselves get motivated? As you so rightly say, we must understand ourselves, we must be at home with ourselves, we must love the person we are, for this is who you are.

    It sounds so simple and so obvious, yet it is not. For as fast as you understand one and one makes two, you see also that perhaps you should understand the ‘and’. between the two.

    This is our journey, a discovery of growth and change that leads to further discovery of who we are.

    When you listen to people that inspire you, they touch your heart, they shine a light within. If you have faith and the courage to let go, you will see what is inside, what is being lit by this person’s words. Here are our answers, here we find and feel those things in your post: Recognition, Freedom, Impact, Service, passion and meaning. Here is motivation growing as always from within.

    If you feel unmotivated, or see people you are leading lacking motivation, the light you must shine is within you. Light this, feel the warmth of life, the power of compassion and love within you and the inspiration and motivation will grow.

    You inspire me as always Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      29. Jan, 2014


      When we speak of motivation – everyone always speaks about it like it must be external.

      but even if we get all the inspiration we need and all the motivation others can muster- we will not do it anything- if we dont feel it inside. MOTIVATION will not happen unless it comes from within.

      Thanks as always YOU INSPIRE ME.

      Love to you

      Reply to this comment
  8. Chery Gegelman

    29. Jan, 2014

    Lolly I love how you opened this post, and especially loved this, “Because I know the motivation they’re seeking really starts from within.”

    That line made my cells dance. Isn’t that the purest moment of joy, when you’ve helped someone unlock something that has been inside waiting to be released?

    Reply to this comment
  9. Indira Hau'ofa-Kiaga

    30. Jan, 2014

    Thank you Lolly, I am often motivated by people who have the ability to inspire and motivate. What you have shared here is vitally important and what I am missing and that is what motivates me on the inside. You have simplified the drivers so that we can identify what drives us. I like that you constantly remind us to feel from within or to lead from within, as what is generated from within has a marked and lasting impact on ourselves and those we impact.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Z

    30. Jan, 2014

    I’m new here, found you thru JL Stoner’s work, & I’m really enjoying your insights. You express heart wisdom in a practical, ‘gettable’ and therefore doable way.
    Thank you.
    Cheers from UK

    Reply to this comment
  11. Bill Benoist

    31. Jan, 2014

    One thing I learned many years ago was to ask my staff what keeps them working for me, and what would entice them away. You know what? Not once was the answer about money or promotions. It always came down to the work they did and whether or not they felt appreciated doing it.

    The key is not to guess what motivates someone, but to ask them. The question shows compassion and heart as a leader.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Bo Carrington

    01. Feb, 2014

    Good post Lolly! I would however add, there are two more elements necessary for motivation to exist. If you pull back on Vroom’s Expectancy Theory we see that the “motivator” (satisfier) is but one of three beliefs required. The other two, confidence and trust, are just as important and also happen to be the most overlooked because we tend to focus on the satisfier.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Dan Black

    14. Feb, 2014

    Great thoughts Lolly! When we have motivation and passion for what we do it can greatly influence those around us. Self-motivation is so essential.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Frederic Theismann

    25. Aug, 2014

    Thanks Lolly. Searching for motivation inside, is a way to be 100% responsible of our life, whatever happens.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Marie

    20. May, 2016

    I agree that intrinsic motivation is key to success. I have been a teacher for 16 years and students are motivated in all different ways. I think the greater the relationship and respect your students have the more intrinsic motivation they have to do well.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Sam

    08. Sep, 2016

    I love what you shared. The idea of inner motivation is, in essence, a call for individual responsibility to think and grow from within; for much of our success depends on our ability to mature in self-awareness, which moves us beyond where we are. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
  17. Junior

    27. Sep, 2017

    As a fairly senior figure in the military sector studying Leadership in other industrial and commercial sectors, John Maxwell (inspirational Leadership Lecturer) preaches the 5 leadership levels, Lolly I ask what’s you perceived view on where motivation sits? Some would say positional some would say others. I’d say it’s way before positional during the Structure of GROW, Goal, Reality, Opportunities & Way Forward through coaching and mentoring.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Rajnish Kansal

    18. Jan, 2018

    Very articulate and precise. Agree on all points. In my opinion the one thing that’s right at the top of everything else is Passion – the fire in the belly. Great read and a beautiful reminder. Thank you

    Reply to this comment
  19. Mark

    21. Apr, 2020

    I would like to add that motivation does not work without belief. If you have a belief in something, you will be committed enough to get motivation.

    Belief comes when you truly identify yourself. If you follow others blindly without identifying your true potential, you will never have to believe in your strengths.

    In one word, It is LOVE that makes us able to get our belief and give us motivation to the hardest things. Love the thing you do or you will be failed.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Leonard Imbila

    06. Oct, 2020

    I’d love to quote you in my book on motivational leadership skills

    Reply to this comment

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