Lesson of the Week

Motivated: I am inspired to finish

The guy who climbed this mountain had one thing in mind  — the peak.  Where is your peak?

Can you imagine the mountain climber setting out without a peak in mind?  A vague mission peak means a vague mission outcome.  It means wandering around for years looking for the finish and never finding it.  Knowing your ultimate goal – the peak — and keeping it in mind will motivate and inspire you finish your mission.

Guy Kawasaki explains how to keep the “peak” or outcome clearly in mind.  In his book, The Art of the Start, Mr. Kawasaki gives examples of changing long mission statements to clear concise mantras.  Having a clear mantra will motivate you.  Here are two of his examples:

1. “Southwest Airlines: “The mission of Southwest airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”  The concise mantra:  “Better than driving”.

2. March of Dimes: “Researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health:  prematurity, birth defects, low birth weight.”  The concise mantra:  “Save babies”.

History shows how having a peak or mantra in mind can bring about heroic results.  George Leigh Mallory, an English mountaineer, tried to climb Mount Everest in the early 1920s.  Mallory was interviewed in the March 18, 1923 issue of the New York Times, “Climbing Mount Everest is work for supermen”.  Mallory stated he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, “Because it’s there.”  Whether Mallory reached the top will never be known.  His remains were found forty-six years later in 1999, two thousand feet below the summit.  The speculation is that he fell after making the climb to the top.  What was clear, however was that he had a peak, a goal, an outcome in mind and he made a heroic effort to finish his mission.  He was motivated and inspired.  His mantra:  Climb Mt. Everest.

Sir Edmund Hillary a New Zealander, explorer and philanthropist, and a Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, finally accomplished the ascent of Mount Everest.  They were the first climbers confirmed as having reached the top May 29, 1953.  Hillary was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.   Hillary’s mantra — Climb Mt. Everest.

Following a clear, concise mission mantra, you too can stay motivated and inspired.  However, stumbling blocks can occur — such as being depressed, discouraged, and/or dissuaded – the three D’s.  You can turn these stumbling blocks into stepping-stones as these true examples explain.

1. Depressed: Lowered in value, weakened, made sad.  Sandra always had a mission to be a mother.  Being a mother was not valued by society.  After all, she would not be making one hundred thousand dollars a year and would not be the head of some large corporation.  In her culture, she would be considered weak and worthless.  She not only became a mother, but also helped to raise many foster children who have since grown up to be pillars of the community.  She was not depressed by the societal view of not being valued, but was motivated by the simple mantra – being a good mother.

2. Discouraged:  Deprive of courage and hope, frown upon.  People frowned upon Mary’s desire to become an artist.  “Don’t do that.  That’s play not work.  You’re too smart to do such a mindless mission.” She became an artist and has advanced the lives of people all over the world.  Mary was not discouraged, but motivated by her mantra – free the creative soul.

3. Dissuaded:  Deter by advice or persuade not to do something.  There is nothing Jim wanted to do but be a scientist.  People advised him by saying, “Oh you’ll never amount to anything at that small college”, or “If you go to that prestigious university, you’ll just be a little fish in a big ocean and your ideas will not be valued.”  He was not dissuaded.  Jim not only became a scientist, but his business sold an invention that changed the world. He was not dissuaded but motivated by the mantra – make life easier through technology.

Choose a manageable mantra.  Keep that mantra in mind.  Let it motivate and inspire you to use depressed, discouraged, and dissuaded thoughts as stepping-stones rather than stumbling blocks to the peak of your success.


Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.

- Les Brown, Big band leader and composer


Activity:  Climbing the Mountain

Materials:  Paper and pen or pencil.

Time:  Ten minutes to write and ten minutes for each person to discuss their answers.


1. Draw a curved line that represents a mountain (from the bottom left corner to the top middle and down to the bottom right corner of the paper.  Leave room to write on the top and sides.).

2. Create a mantra or description of the purpose of you mission.  The mantra should be seven words or less.  Write your mantra at the top of your mountain peak.  This is the peak you are headed towards.  This is the ultimate goal of your mission.

3.  Review the three D’s:  depress, discourage, dissuade.  Are there ways you are being depressed, discouraged, or dissuaded to climb to this peak?  These are the types of experiences that will try to distract you from being motivated to finish your mission.  On the left side of the mountain, the ascent, write some of the things that would depress, discourage, or dissuade you from climbing to the peak and finishing your mission.

4.  There are things that will keep you motivated to finish your mission.  In the middle of the page, write down some of the things that will inspire you to finish the climb to the peak.

5.  There is still one part of the mountain that hasn’t been discussed – the right side of the mountain drawing.  This is the descent.  Consider how Hillary felt when he came back down off Mt. Everest.  On the right side of the paper, write down how completing your mission will make you feel.

6.  Discuss your results with the group or if you are not in a group find a person you can talk to about this activity.  Finally, tell the group what you learned from doing this activity.


I am motivated so I can …… We’d like to hear your story about being inspired to finish. Write your story below.