Food for thoughtGeneral

Ego vs. Purpose: What Drives You?

By July 26, 2019 No Comments
What motivates you?

Simple question that may or may not have a simple answer (I love those types of questions). 

Motivation is a funny thing. And happens to be a pain point for many day-to-day gym goers. Whether you’re trying to take home make the podium in a competition or just focusing on losing a few pounds after baby, motivation that stands the test of time and temptation seems harder and harder for many people to find. 

Now before we go too much further, let’s clarify: motivation and willpower are two different things. Any hopeful athlete can hang tough through a single, grueling, prayer-inducing workout and anyone who wants washboard abs can stay away from cookies for a day. But when the going gets tough, when you’re tired and exhausted and temptation presents itself, are you still motivated? Are you able to stay the course in order to continue to take the steps needed to achieve your goals? 

I guarantee this has happened to you at least once (let’s get honest, probably a few times). And it’s possible that it’s because your motivation has been coming from the wrong place.

Through coaching classes and my own experience, I find that motivation usually comes from one of two places: a person’s ego or their sense of purpose. 

The Cambridge Dictionary simply defines ego as, “the idea or opinion that you have of yourself, especially the level of your ability and intelligence, and your importance as a person”. Basically, ego is the illusion of the self. I also read it defined as, “the approval-seeking social mask worn by many people”. It’s the part of you that defines itself separate from all others, the part that cares about superficial things like how many “likes” your latest #booty post has gotten. Turns out, a lot of people compete and train from this place. They chase goals for the external validation it will bring their ego. But guess what? This won’t lead to long-term success. These people find the least amount of joy in what they do, they are the ones that have trouble getting “back into the swing of things” after a rough patch, and lose focus after a loss or failure. They spend most of their energy comparing themselves to others and blaming things and people for their shortcomings. 

People driven by their ego tend to…

  • Compete to beat other people.
  • Feel the need to prove something to those around them.
  • Enjoy competition only if they win.
  • View failures as setbacks.
  • Feel jealous or angry when others are successful.

Do you know someone like this? It might have even been you a time or two. Hell, I know I’ve been this person before. I have defined myself by what I have and what I can do. And when I have been like this, I lost something that is crucial to long-term success: joy. Most people who go after their goals from this place hit burnout, they hit it hard and they hit it fast. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t achieve some level of success this way, but these people struggle stay motivated in order to see continued success. 

Now let’s take a look at some characteristics of their friends, the ones driven by purpose.

People driven by their purpose tend to…

  • Compete against themselves in the pursuit of self-improvement.
  • Feel confident and don’t need external validation for their efforts.
  • Enjoy competition without regard to the outcome.
  • View failures and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Feel true joy and happiness when others succeed.
  • Understand that their athletic abilities are not a measure of self-worth or their identity.
I want to hang out with, work out with, grab drinks with, and do life with that person. I want to BE that person.

And guess what? People that are motivated by purpose tend to stay motivated effortlessly and enjoy the process far more than those driven just by ego (and it probably drives those ego-maniacs up a wall). Your purpose is your “why”, it’s what drives you to chase any goal. Someone driven by purpose tends to be less concerned with things like their placement on the whiteboard and the number of followers they have on Instagram. AND these people are often just as successful, sometimes more so. They are motivated to act by a greater purpose which, as it turns out, is more powerful than working to feed your sense of self.

Sometimes these people and their results may look similar on the surface, but you’ll probably find that the person motivated by purpose is WAY happier. And sure,while we are in the business of fitness,  doesn’t that sound cool? To know you can be a little fitter and a little happier than the day before. 

So take a minute. Find your “why” and I promise that the “how” suddenly seems a lot easier, and dare I say it, a little more fun.



Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned pro looking for something new, we’d love to meet you!  And guess what? Your first class is on us. Click HERE to schedule your FREE Jumpstart Class and let us show you what makes Roux Fitness different!

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