Let me rephrase that, I believe in motivation. I know it exists. I don't believe in 'motivational methods' for improvement. As a matter a fact, I'm not a fan of the term self-'improvement'. I'm not a fan of self-help literature for the most part either (although there seems to be a movement afoot that has improved the quality of information that is coming out in popular print).
"Motivation is like eating a good meal. It's enjoyable, satisfying and seems better somehow when shared in a large group. But injesting something once was never meant to satisfy you for more than a few hours."
Having been steeped in this arena for so long I've seen the misinformation, miscommunication and down-right snake-oil saleman-like foisting of program after program, product after product on those looking for true development and help. I find it funny, or actually not, the same people can come out with another program a couple years later to buy because this time it's the real fix! This time it is the real McCoy. What about all the other, so-called solutions you already paid for?
I have been to programs that are the same today as they were last year, last decade, last century. And the reason they are still around is not because they get you on an emotional high, but because they work.
I look at motivation as a feeling. Feelings change from day to day. Some days you are happier than others. It can pahappen for no consciously known cause, you can just 'wake-up on the wrong side of the bed' and have a less than stellar day. Motivation seems to wear off about 2 to 3 times the investment of time.
Go to a 3 day seminar and in 6 to 9 days the emotional hang-over sets in. It is not even that all the information is wrong. You just can't maintain a feeling for a real length of time. And trying to sets you up for even more heartache because you feel like it's your fault. If only I could have stayed motivated. It is not how we are wired.
And self-help, the industry puts out tons of books, CD's, programs, etc., and uses pop-psyschology, at best, touting tactics as the keys to happiness and success. Let's take affirmations. They are the end-all-be-all in self-help. There are studies that show they can be more harmful than helpful in some situations. I 've never read a self-help book that tells you when that is, even though there is peer-reviewed studies that are readily available to anyone with access to the internet.
And self-improvement. The goal shouldn't tacitly imply that you need improving and that someone else can tell you how to do that. And if you're not successful with the outcome they allude to it is because of you, not their advice. There is no one-size-fits-all in this department. This is about personal develoment, on-going personal development that fosters growth.
I liken this journey to developing pictures (I know I'm dating myself). We don't improve film, we develop it. Can we improve on pictures? Sure, it's called "Photoshop". You 'edit' pictures with a click to superficially improve whatever the photo is of. This is only a facade, no real or lasting change has taken place. Click the button again and the quick-fix disappears.
On-going personal development is the key. Develop skills, insights and achievements. What appears to be an 'improvement' will be seen as inconsequential in a decade. That tells us the idea that it was 'improvement' is subjective. Go for on-going, never-ending personal development, in 10 years you'll see the growth and know that it was an investment in yourself.
"Learn the trade, not the tricks-of-the-trade."
My view might strike some as odd that a Personal Development/Life/Peak Performance Coach. Well I believe this because I am about true personal development, achievement and successive successes. Not Band-Aids, miracle cures, or cosmetic changes.
Lastly, IMHO, if you have a 'coach' that has you retain them year after year after year I have to wonder, is it coaching or some form of therapy? Worse are you being bilked for someone else's benefit and not your own? One of my duties as a coach is to transition my clients from regularly scheduled coaching to self-coaching, not to keep them dependent. Do I have clients come back? Sure. I have a client that has been with me at different times over the last 20 years, and to great success.
When some clients are facing something very challenging or want to venture into uncharted territory they come back for some coaching. But the coaching happens so much quicker because they have the language, the skill-set and the internal awareness and accountability.
I also have some clients that check-in on a regularly scheduled basis to recalibrate and have someone look at their blind-spots. Think of learning personal development as a profession. You learn the trade. Then you have on-going continuing education. You do not stay in trade-school forever. You go out and practice your trade. You make the skills your own on your own.
This can also be compared to driving. You learn from a driver's-ed. manual. But that doesn't teach you how to drive. You practice driving with a licensed driver. That gives you the benefit of not making some horrendous mistake and learning the rules of the road. But when do you really learn to drive? When you go out on your own and know you are in the driver's seat with no backseat-driver.
While consulting and coaching are not the same things I will use them for comparison sake. Would you want a consultant tell you that you could not run your own business without renewing your contract with them year after year after year? Great results or not, they should be showing you how to build your business to where you can do it yourself.
This is where the comparison of consulting and coaching breaks down. Consultants stay on top of changes in the market/business world which are rapid and swift. Personal development changes slowly. Personal Development is not a changing market that you need an expert's assistance to navigate year after year after year.
"If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, and they can eat for a lifetime."