In The Huddle with Fran Tarkenton

Hard Work Wins. “Motivation” Doesn’t.

Have you ever been to a big motivational conference? One where all the big speakers are lined up, and the crowd goes wild for every line? I’ve seen a lot of these in my life in business, and participated in my fair share.

These gatherings seem so impactful—it’s all high-energy, get everyone excited about what the organization is doing, inspire people with great speakers and engaging stories. It’s really something to see. But here’s the other thing about them: they usually don’t have much impact on results.

When we participated in these kinds of events, it was often a great experience. The people were clearly excited, everybody was “on fire” to do this or that, and then we would look forward to big growth in sales and results. But the growth never came. Business after even the biggest, most successful events was the same. Flat. No change, no matter how people looked at the conference.

Put simply: motivation, feel-good events, inspirational speakers, don’t solve problems.

You don’t solve a problem by listening to a speaker and clapping. You don’t make a difference with just crowds and pomp and circumstance. What makes a real difference is action, and the fundamentals of a good business—and a good life.

The roaring crowd looks like a great sign for a business. A far better sign is honesty, transparency, and a focus on helping other people by providing value. When people tell the truth, talk honestly about what they are doing and want to do, and the ways they can help one another, that is when things get done. A business grows when the people that make up the business focus on the fundamentals, and dedicate themselves to finding solutions to their problems.

The big crowd isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to be successful, you need so much more.

“Motivation” doesn’t work. There are no silver bullets. There are no shortcuts to success. But with hard work and strong guiding principles, you can accomplish something. But too often, people fall for the get rich quick scheme, the fad diet, the miracle solution to all our problems. We could avoid a lot of problems if we remember that just because something sounds good, it won’t work if it doesn’t involve hard work, perseverance, honesty, integrity, and transparency.

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