How To Unleash Unstoppable Motivation

Hidden face in the shadow.Female silhouette.

About eight months ago, I had a routine physical … and found out that my thyroid levels were too low. My doctor wanted to put me on thyroid medication. Instead, I decided to change my diet instead. Pretty much overnight, I gave up gluten.

Mind you, I love bread. I love cookies. I love pasta. But going gluten-free wasn’t actually difficult. Sure, it was inconvenient but there was ZERO QUESTION that I was going to do it. And so I did. And I haven’t “cheated” once.

In short … I was motivated! (And my thyroid levels were back to normal after two months, no medication required …)

We’ve all had times where taking new action and changing our lives was weirdly easy.

Maybe we wrote a book (or webinar, or sales copy, or class content) and it poured out of us so easily that it practically wrote itself.

Maybe we fell so in love with a new endeavor (like a new healing modality, or a new business model) that we dedicated every spare minute of our busy day to studying and implementing without feeling like we were “working” at all.

Occasionally, we are inspired in just the right way where it seems an idea takes a hold of us and makes itself a reality through us.

It’s really awesome when that happens!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen all that often.

Let’s be honest, all of us have a LOT of inspired, wonderful plans and ideas, sitting on our mental shelf, waiting to become a reality.

We love these ideas, and we definitely want to implement them!

But … we don’t.

Sure, we tell ourselves that we’re too busy, that now is not the right time. But the Truth is that if we were not just inspired but actually MOTIVATED, we would roll up our sleeves and take action.

When we’re truly motivated, we are unstoppable. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in our lives or our businesses. When we’re motivated, we find the time, we find the energy, and we just do what needs to be done.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could summon that level of motivation?

You can!

First of all, we have to understand the difference between inspiration and motivation.

Being inspired is very, very easy for those of us who are highly conscious. Inspiration comes to us from our Soul, our Higher Self. Inspiration are the whispers that show us our path into greater Divine self-expression.

Sometimes we receive inspiration in the shower or while driving. At other times, we are inspired by something we see or hear in our environment, an idea or concept that just elicits a profound “YES” deep within us.

As highly conscious spiritual seekers, most of us have inspired ideas, all day long!

But inspiration comes to us from the spiritual plane, and manifests itself as a thought. In other words, it manifests at the mental level.

And that’s where it stays.

You see, the power to CHOOSE does not reside with the Soul. Your Higher Self can’t DO anything here, in this third-dimensional, physical experience.

Your Higher Self can only inspire the mind. Your Soul can only give your mind hints as to its desire for self-expression.

So here is our inspiration, stuck at the mental level. How does it become actionable?

Well, to understand we have to look at the ego a little more closely.

You have your conscious, rational mind. Then you have your subconscious, which is the place of your memories, your beliefs, your self-image. Your subconscious is not a very rational place! And then you have your unconscious, which is all about survival. Your unconscious is not only irrational, it is instinctive.

You put all these aspects of your ego together, and they create emotion. Emotion is literally the energy that MOVES you … into action.

Inspiration connects with the conscious, rational mind. And you consciously may think to yourself: “Ooooh, yes, what a great idea, I’m going to definitely do that!!” But if that piece of inspiration doesn’t really connect with our subconscious, if the deep recesses of our ego aren’t all that interested, if there’s just no emotional connection … action won’t happen.

The idea will remain just that – an idea.

Sure, we can employ discipline and just push our way into action.

But that’s not the same as the flow of unstoppable motivation. Acting purely from discipline is WORK, or even struggle. Acting from motivation, by comparison, is easy and joyful.

Inspiration is the realm of the Soul, connecting with the conscious mind.

But actual motivation comes from a place that we’re no so comfortable with as spiritually conscious folks. Actual motivation comes from the needs and wants of the subconscious and unconscious aspects of our ego!

Motivation comes from places within us that are irrational at best. And often, those places are not so pretty. In fact, motivation can come from aspects of ourselves that we would consider pretty darn “un-spiritual.”

Which is also why highly conscious folks are often the most implementation-challenged!!

I’ll give you a personal example:

There is almost nothing I find more motivating than proving a male authority figure wrong. Whether it’s a medical doctor telling me I need to be on medication, to a male business coach telling me I can’t possibly have a successful online business … there is something deep within me that rises up, like a big energetic middle finger, and hisses “Watch me.” And then I just do it.

Sometimes I joke that I should hire men to tell me how things should be done, just so that I get to prove them wrong.

Like I said, motivation comes from places that are not all that pretty …

Let’s have a look at the different kinds motivation:

The most powerful motivation arises when the survival instincts of our unconscious mind are triggered. If our instincts are triggered into “fight for your life” mode, we are completely unstoppable.

What kicks these instincts into action? Usually it’s our deepest, darkest childhood pain and suffering.

For example, any kind of health issue – even minor ones – trigger me profoundly. Why? My mother died of breast cancer when she was only forty-five years old. I was thirteen. The idea of putting my own daughter through the experience of watching her mother die, or having her grow up with only a father who has the emotional intelligence of a zucchini, like I did … ooooh, that just make my inner mother lion sit up and ROAR. And fight.

Which means I will give up gluten, sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. Heck, I would run a marathon … you name it, if it’s necessary I’ll do whatever it takes. Without question. (Note … IF it’s necessary. I really don’t want to give up wine. Or caffeine. Or run a marathon. I’m just saying I WOULD.)

Everyone’s fighting survival instinct triggers are different, depending on what perceived or real childhood dangers and threats we encountered, and how we dealt with them.

Because that’s the problem with our survival instincts. There’s “fight,” which makes us unstoppable. But there’s also “flight,” which renders us immobilized, like a deer in the headlights, incapable of taking ANY action on our own behalf, no matter how dire the situation.

I’ve watched people so incapacitated that they lost their income, their savings, their homes, because financial hardship triggered their “flight” survival instincts rather than their “fight.”

The difference here is whether we OVERCAME the childhood dangers and threats we experienced … or were victimized by them. If we processed childhood hardships through victimization, those same survival instincts will paralyze us and elicit a “flight” response. We’ll freeze.

Of course, digging around in our childhood hurts and wounds and hardships isn’t pleasant. Many of us – especially those of us who are spiritually conscious – want to consider ourselves “healed” and complete with those events. But all too often, in our efforts to heal we’re actually just disconnecting ourselves from the parts of our ego that move us into fierce and unstoppable action.

So ask yourself … what childhood adversity did you overcome? In spite of WHAT are you here, healthy and functioning and awesome? This is what will trigger your “fighting” survival instincts.

And what childhood adversities happened TO you? This is a different question entirely. But the answer will reveal what triggers your “flight” survival instincts. If you’ve ever found yourself inexplicably unable to take action … asking yourself this question will explain why.

The next level of motivation actually arises from your subconscious mind. This is where your personal history, your belief system, your perception of the world that you started forming from an early age all collide and combine into your ego’s self-image.

Our ego loves its self-image! No matter how spiritually conscious we are, no matter how much we know about our Soul’s Divine nature … our ego will never stop loving and defending its self-image.

And that’s okay.

Because the ego is the ONLY part of ourselves that can choose action.

When our ego’s self-image is triggered, either to defend it or to expand on it … we get mightily motivated.

But again … these motivations don’t always come from pretty places within ourselves.

For example, something about being a published author may trigger our egoic self-image. Maybe it’s the credibility, or being an expert, or even becoming famous … but something deep within ourselves loves the idea of having a book out. And just maybe, as an added bonus, we also get to prove to our third-grade English teacher / older brother / middle school bully / whoever that we ARE successful.

And so we experience unstoppable motivation, and writing is easy. Our ego is so attached to adding “published author” to its self-image that finding the time and energy to get our book done becomes an unquestionable certainty.

But keep in mind that the ego is motivated in ways we’re not always comfortable with.

For example, as spiritually conscious folks, we like to think that we’re all about helping others and making the world a better place.

Truth is that your ego really doesn’t care about other people, other than how other people perceive you. If your ego is all about helping others, it’s because your ego loves being needed, or seen as altruistic, or being perceived as a “good” person.

And that’s okay!

Unfortunately, in an effort to be love, light, and unicorns 24-7, a lot of us who are spiritually conscious have cut ourselves off from the parts of our ego that give us GRIT, perseverance, and determination.

Your ego is fiercely attached to how it wants to be perceived, to it’s self-image … and guess what? You can USE THAT attachment to unleash motivation.

Maybe your ego secretly wants to be wealthy and rub your family’s nose in your success.
Maybe your ego secretly wants to be the “rock star” in your industry and wants to leave your competitors in the dust.
Maybe your ego wants to out-earn your ex-spouse, just to show him how badly he screwed up.
Maybe your ego wants to be a cool world-traveling jet-setter and show off your lifestyle on social media.

None of these motivations seem very “spiritual.” In fact, some people in the spiritual development world would probably tell you that you need some serious healing around your family of origin, authority figures, relationships, and self-esteem.

And they would be wrong!

Your ego will always have a shadow side, a part of you that is out for itself, that is reactive, competitive, full of pride, rebelliousness, and well … egoic.

But if you can get honest enough with yourself to stare your shadowy, questionable motivations in the face and embrace them as a part of yourself, then you can leverage them into highly productive and incredibly positive action!

When your Soul-inspired desire meets your egoic attachment to its self-image … and possible your survival “fight” instincts are triggered as an added bonus … you are unstoppable.

Which means you can do a ton of good in the world.

Motivation is not a function of our connection to the spiritual realm.

Motivation is a function of our connection to our “lower” Self (which, FYI, is as sacred as any other part of you!!).

Motivation that has teeth comes from the parts of you that … well … also have teeth! We don’t let ourselves feel into these aspects of ourselves very much, especially if we’re women. And most especially if we’re spiritually conscious women.

But that is also why there’s a lot of talking, navel-gazing, shifting energy, spiritual practice, and studying happening … but not a whole lot of ACTION.

So take a moment and look at your not-so-spiritual motivations that, perhaps, you wouldn’t admit out loud to anyone. How does your ego want to be perceived by others? What secret persona would your ego love to embrace? What do you want to prove, and to whom? What accomplishments would you love to show off to others? Go ahead … take a little walk on your dark side.

Now … can you use your inspired ideas to give your ego what it secretly wants?

Embrace ALL of yourself. Be unstoppable.

To your abundance,


  • Vinnie says:

    Awesome post! Will be sharing this one.

  • Cheryl says:

    Andrea, this is amazing! I love your candor and your style! Just what I needed to see today!
    Thanks vey much,

  • Wow Andrrea, great article!!I was writing an blog about the sacred power of our transformed shadowparts… and thid is exactly what I mean! Yes, embrace it all for empowerment. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Very insightful! Thank you Andrrea.

  • Wow!! That was fabulous! Thanks so much for that Andrrea. I am going to have SOOOO much fun looking at those “secret” motivations HA HA!!

  • Andrrea,

    I enjoy reading your perspectives as I search for greater spiritual truth. You have a unique point of view based on your own experiences and are eager to share this with others. I thank you for this.

    I define the ego as “Service To Self” and while this is the common place for the part of ourselves in touch with the physical world (the Lower Self) it doesn’t have to be. When we put others first through “Service To Others” and become altruistic we become more in alignment with the higher aspects of ourselves and feel more fulfilled. Pursuing motivation through the ego can accomplish much. As we grow spiritually over time, or approach death, we can look back at our accomplishments motivated by the ego with a feeling of emptiness and wonder why we acted selfishly.

    I should point out that I believe that your sharing of your inner truth is a sign of altruism where you are trying to advance the greater good and I don’t perceive that you are an egoic person. However if you perceive myself as a male authority figure then you won’t hesitate to tear me down rather than consider my point of view.

    For anyone struggling with the emptiness of their ego and want to bring their higher self to themselves I offer my bonus healing (my principal business is protecting people from Evil Eye which is Dark Attack of all forms). My healing is the product of six and a half years of spiritual development and it just became more complete on July 31, 2016. You can find out more at PainRelief.FUND (you don’t need the www.).

    I wish everyone the best on their spiritual journey.

    James Wandler

  • Suzanne Miley says:

    Thank you so much, Andrrea!

    An hour or so before I read this, I was letting my mind wander around and saw so clearly, for the first time I can remember, that I associate working hard with being dumb. Huge insight!

    A couple weeks ago while on a retreat I saw that I was raised to believe that anyone who was religious and/or believed in God was an idiot.

    My ego wants me to be seen as smart! I can now see why I’m called to “work” in the world of spirituality but stall out again and again.

    • Andrrea Hess says:

      That’s awesome, Suzanne … so now … how can you satisfy your ego’s desire to be smart while doing your spiritual work? 🙂

      • Suzanne Miley says:

        All I have come up with so far is to ask myself “what is the smartest thing to do right now?”. I’m going to test drive that today and remain open to further inspiration. Thank you for being such a great catalyst, Andrrea!

  • Morgan says:

    WOW! You hit the nail on the head with something I’ve been grappling with.

    For the past few years in my business, I’d only really get into action/focus when things became “dire” – i.e. it was “survival” mode. This made for a rocky ride.

    As part of my own journey, I’d tried to give up all those “base” ego drives of the past – but I hadn’t replaced them with anything very effective.

    I do believe that we can replace those deep/dark ego drives with something new. I have had enough of that old energy, and don’t want to go back there. I’ve done enough “proving myself” in this life – getting to be a tenured professor in a highly difficult field as a transgendered woman (before being transgendered was “in”). My ego was already satisfied… so what to replace it with?

    For a while I replaced it with external motivators from mentors I was working with … such as a mutual acquaintance of ours who would always ask us at the beginning of retreats what our income goals were. I would put a goal down just to fit in, then THAT would become my motivator… for a while. But it never lasted.

    Well, finally about five months ago, I sat down and did an exercise (one that I later gave to my students). The exercise is to truly define and connect to my current ROOT DESIRES.

    So, why do I want money? Mainly for a few reasons:
    1. Peace of mind – not worrying about if or when I can pay bills
    2. Adventure – I love doing adventures both solo and with my family
    3. Travel – Love to travel and stay in nice places (though I also like to camp)
    4. Nice stuff/aesthetics – having nice surroundings and great art and high quality stuff is important to me – I feel better

    So, I’ve been focusing on those root desires rather than the money itself. These are my new “motivators” to keep me moving. Yes, they are still ego-driven, but they are ego 2.0, rather than the old, broken and buggy ego version 1.0 (or the beta versions before that).

    It has worked. Money has come in higher quantities and with far less effort. And whenever I slip back into that old “survival” mode (ego 1.0), my income temporarily slips as well.

    Thank you for helping me clarify what has happened!


    ps – it’s been a long road clearing out the detritus from ego v1.0 – I am still doing cleanup work on the vestiges of that (such as old websites that no longer represent me) – but it has been increasingly liberating to do so!

  • Sasha says:

    Holy shit!
    Those dark side motivations that I would never say out loud really do need to be acknowledged!
    I lost 16 kgs in the last 6 months and I told myself it was because I wanted to feel better, which by the way is true but the dark side of that is a wanted to look hot again! LOL! That was really the secret driver.
    Your article made me laugh out loud at myself, so now with Love AND Truth behind me I might get some more stuff done and stop dilly dallying. The excuses just keep getting thinner and thinner. Thank you for your continuous enlightening and entertaining writing. It always stops me in my tracks!

  • Lishui says:

    Brilliant post (as usual)
    I’m reading it at a time in my “drama cycle” when I’m feeling stuck and beating myself up about it.
    Reading your post, I realize that I am extremely motivated and very connected to that motivation (it’s the revenge-is-the-best-success kind)
    …challenge is, any steps toward that trigger my fears (flight response) due to a strong sense of victimization throughout much of my childhood.
    So I’m literally more panicked and scared the more motivated I am.
    What’s a good strategy to begin to shift this conflict?

    Thanks again for a great post!

    • Andrrea Hess says:

      Flight instincts are super tough to override, Lishui! So … is there any way you can get your sweet “revenge” in a different way? Is there a path that does NOT trigger the victimization energy? Sometimes we just have to use our imagination and go AROUND the road blocks that we put in our own way. (And again … not really what we’re taught to do, right? We’re taught we should conquer / overcome / wrestle with our blocks. And that’s totally cool, but we can do that while we also go AROUND them, lol.)

      • Lishui says:

        Love it.
        Instead of “the best defense is a good offense” …just don’t show up for that “war” in the first place 🙂
        I’m also really glad I read your post because, as I kept thinking about it, I realized that it’s the consciousness of this connection that’s important. If I’m feeling stuck, I can now know that it’s just this internal “war” that I’ve been having ..and step around it 🙂

      • Andrea,

        Always loved your uplifting words. Myself always fine the balance of uplifting my spiritual body and my physical body. Your past readings (for me) were Spot On. For me personally had to shift more on alternative medicine to heal my body before I continued in my spiritual growth. Admittedly, it is an ongoing battle balancing act) for myself. Hope all is well with you.

        Amo et Lox (love and Light),
        Best regards,
        ps: On ~ 2011 during a business trip, met you (albeit, at a distance) on an connecting airplane flight from Chicago to points south (Texas for me).

  • Robyn Tucker says:

    Thanks Andrrea. Great insights!

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Andrrea,

    I think my ego has a need to be seen as really good or great at what I do! But then my rational mind doubts my abilities (which it does as they are psychic abilities!) so my ego stops me putting my work out there! But what if my ego got on board and saw that I could be “great” and help loads more people if I promoted myself more? I have found your article very thought provoking as usual thankyou 🙂

    • Andrrea Hess says:

      Well … you can’t just talk your ego into it! 🙂 That’s what we so often try to do, and it never works. So if you dive a little deeper … does your ego want to show off your psychic abilities? Impress people? (That’s less pretty than “be seen as good / great” … and sometimes we just have to go there, lol!)

      Getting your ego on board really is about catering to its existing motivations, not trying to change it. And like I said, sometimes our existing motivations are a bit socially unacceptable, lol.

      In any case, when your ego is fully on board, it will override your fears and self-doubts. We all have those! 🙂 But the key is to want the result MORE than the avoidance of failure.

      Dig a little more … 🙂

  • Cheryle says:

    Have to say that was well worth reading. Thank you!

  • Sue says:

    I’ve never heard of this concept of flight versus fight being tied to motivation, but I see the energy of it. Very perceptive and I really enjoyed reading this and hearing your take. It’s easy for me to be inspired, less easy to be motivated over a long period of time. Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts about this.

  • Judith Manriquez says:

    I love this. And needed this new perspective. Thanks!

  • Nela Dunato says:

    This is a perspective on motivation that I have never heard before, and it’s really good fertilizer for some deep thought and journaling.

    I think that one of my deep, dark motivations is being seen and admired – not just witnessed by one person, but on the stage in front of a group. If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be an actress. (Rocking the stage and being featured in the press proved to be much easier than getting compliments from my overly critical mother.) I thought that it’s a pattern I need to overcome. It’s interesting to think that may not be needed, but that it can be harnessed.

  • Elaina says:

    Hey Andrrea – this hit a note with me and the timing is perfect ! I was writing yesterday about being told the career ‘option’s at school. Either I could be a Secretary or a Teacher and only if I was clever enough, (which the inference was that I wasn’t.) My little 12 year old self hated the lack of options so I decided then and there in 1982 that I would have lots of different careers. Even though I had no role models and flunked some of the most important exams I did it. It’s definitely been a mix of following my soul and engaging my ego.

  • I also add my gratitude. As I have been trying to discern a call for Pastoral Counselling – vs- independent coaching with the potential for the finances I and my family require. However; what I loved as a farm girl who is used to things never being quite so pretty, is embracing our own shadow sided, because they are just as much a part of this God- given creation as the light. Also I think James was referring to the very real evil that is not shy about taking all our being both the good and the dark and twisting it even further. Thank you both, and when I can I will pursue the seminary options and the little miss canadian idol that never got to sing. lol I hope you have a great day, because hope is always healthy.

  • Karen says:

    This post beautifully gets to the root of a tricky conundrum – rejection of or detachment with the ego in favor of “essence” (aka higher self, source, soul), when in fact WE ARE ALL OF IT. Being whole means embracing our higher and lower selves, our dark AND our light, not a rejection of one in favor of the other. Much of your post reminds me of Debbie Ford’s “The Shadow Effect” and expertise in understanding the shadow. The Yin/Yang symbol comes to mind.

    Using the ego’s fierce attachments and desire to survive in order to unleash motivation IS empowering the ego to be in service to Essence. What more clever and inspiring way can there be? Because I don’t know about you all, but if my ego doesn’t have enough to do, it likes to rebel. Or indulge in shadowy desires. Or get distracted by comparisons and insecurities. I’d much rather it be focused on “doing a ton of good in the world”.

    Great post!

  • Jenny says:

    Thankyou once again for such simply written guidance I have constantly questioned myself with regards to releasing my need to smoke, and am doing so again, then you have sent this I shall change the questions I ask myself and look at it from this perspective to find ongoing mitivation.

  • Nancy Roberts says:

    This was so…so…I don’t even know. I need to read it again. There is something really deep here that I am supposed to get. I think it’s the key to my inconsistent motivation. Thanks for always bringing a new twist to an “old” topic!

  • Oh my gosh, I love this, Andrrea! What a beautiful explanation of how and why we stop ourselves as we become more and more “spiritual.” This article blew me away and I’m going to read it again and again to integrate it fully and un-bury some of the things that truly motivate me. What a great reminder that all of the darkness in my past can be used as rocket fuel for my future!

  • Kristen King says:

    How f-ing refreshing!!! Hallelujah, for speaking your truth & mine coming to this site through one of your students.
    Oh.. energy is moving so rapidly in providing the connections for me to expand in. YES, missing piece, BIG missing piece.. use the Ego
    for my motivation. Stop squelching it!!!! I GOT IT!!! I am sooo excited. you have zero idea what an AHA this info was!!!

  • Daniel says:

    Wow this is amazing. I read your blog a few months ago and forgot what the address was to come here. A few moments ago your blog came to mind, I googled you and this topic was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been dealing with this issue for months but it came to a head this week when i said no more. I need to find a way forward.

    • Daniel says:

      This makes so much sense I’ve been quashing my ego in attempt to be humble and spiritual and it’s quashing my motivation! My ego wants to be a rockstar. Being a rockstar is fun! I threw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Ozlem Senyuz says:

    Dear Andrrea, This has been the most motivating and eye opening article for me I read just on time with tears in my eyes and love for my ego and all of my parts those I was trying to ignore or suppress to become more spiritual. How did I get so lucky? What would it take for me to give you a real big hug ? 🙂 Sending you a huge love and my appreciations <3

  • Catrina says:

    I absolutely love the language you use to ground spiritual information. Everything you say makes perfect sense and is like a retraining for my brain.

    I just reread this because today is a take action day. I put this one on the “I’ll come back to it later piles” and of course it still fits in perfectly with life right now. I take action but it is rare unless I am doing something for my immediate needs and comforts. It seems that I am so short sighted that even as I sit here and physically wrote out the answers to every question you listed here I feel no sense of motivation or inspiration.

    I feel so detached and like “been there, done that” about everything. I am such a know it all and so infinitely lazy and afraid. I’m also an amazing human with lots of love and many gifts to share ( I think…)

    My question is what If I can not really get in touch with desires to the point that I actually want them enough to act on them? I am really struggling with this one. I want to want but apparently not enough to make any real changes in my life. And boy are there a lot of changes I need and kinda want to make. Ive been asking this question for too long now. Any insights on a tangible action I can take to remove this detachment or something to practice to actually feel burning desires rather than a fleeting desire?

    p.s. thank you in advance for guidance and shining your light

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