Why Great Leaders Use Self-Motivators


By Jas Singh

When I gave up my career as a 20-something Pharmacist for The City, initially there were times that were pretty hard.

Especially financially. My first ever job was heavily reliant on sales commissions – unless you made regular sales even paying your bills was impossible.

And most people didn’t. This was the early 2000’s – just after the dot com crash. Over 80% of new intakes left within six months.

My commute into London at the time was nearly two hours. Three different trains. Just to save a few hundred pounds rent a month. To keep my spirits up, I used to constantly play on the calculator app on my phone. Pretending to calculate what my imaginary commission would look like. I still remember my favorite calculation: “£1000 commission per deal x 4 deals a month x 12 months in a year = £48,000 a year”.

£48,000 a year. Wow. At the time it seemed so far away.

I’ve never mentioned this to anyone, but slowly over a few months something strange started to happen. All of a sudden all I could think about was earning that commission. Morning, noon and night. Doing those 4 deals a month. It pre-occupied my mind and I started to perform much better. I became incredibly more efficient. Every new prospect I spoke to, I simply asked – “is this going to keep me on track towards my goal?”. If yes, I’d do anything I could to win the business. If no, I moved on immediately without wasting a second of time.

I managed to reach the £48,000 in 9 months and two days.

It sounds a bit fuzzy I know, but I’m sure that those early morning and late night commutes on the tube, playing with my calculator over and over again, was a big part in my success.

In providing the fuel and motivation to keep me going. Keep me believing.

And in ten years as a hiring specialist I’ve noticed that great leaders and achievers tend to do something similar. Whether its consistently reminding themselves of their goals, using affirmations or even pretending to own that dream car for the day, some of the best leaders I’ve ever worked with have openly admitted to the use of self-motivators.

Here are some reasons why great leaders use self-motivators.

It reminds you of what is important

What is a self-motivator?

For me, a self-motivator is anything we do that makes us feel more motivated to pursue our most important goals.

It could be repeating something to yourself like a powerful phrase or quote. Or reading an inspiring book. Or even fantasizing by getting into character and pretending to already own the dream home, car or boat.

The point is it needs to be something that feels good.

Why? Because if it feels good you’re more likely to do it again and again. Reminding you of what is important to you in life. To keep you focused.

To be less distracted by what’s on the telly or what Kim Kardashian just tweeted.

Great leaders use self-motivators to stay focused on what’s important.

It keeps you positive

Life is never stationary.

Despite how it might sometimes feel like or look like, generally we are all either moving forward or backwards.

Our emotions and states are either on the way up or down.

Using self-motivators is a powerful way to make sure we are moving in the right direction. To reduce the impact of negative emotions. Just like it is impossible to feel happy and sad at the same time, by using positive and empowering self-motivators we can reduce the impact of negative thoughts entering our mind.

Great leaders use self-motivators to remain positive.

It inspires action

Self-motivators control emotion.

Emotion controls action.

Action controls results.

Every great leader throughout history has understood and applied this simple success formula.

The best example of this is probably in the form of religion. The greatest religious leaders throughout history used self-motivators in the form of prayer. Prayer then led to more empowering emotions which inspired them to then take massive action. Actions which created results and followers that are still present today.

Powerful self-motivators build emotional power. Power that eventually becomes so strong that it bursts out and takes physical form in the form of action.

Great leaders take great action.


Self-motivation isn’t some weird looking guy on the tube speaking to himself. (Especially not the well dressed guy who gets off at St Paul’s :)

No, we all use self-motivators every day in various forms – however often without knowing consciously that we are doing so.

Hiring managers can gain much from those people who consciously and effectively apply self-motivators in the right way.

It’s a huge advantage on the road to success.

How do you use self-motivators?

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