Along the lines of posting what I believe is essential to launch a business and grow it successfully, I wanted to reflect on something I heard a couple days ago while in London. I was at an event where a doctor was up on stage talking about how he helped the UK track cycling team go from being crap to basically winning a ton of medals at the last Olympics. The presentation really wasn't that memorable but one point stuck with me which is basically that motivation is overrated. After mulling this over a bit, I agree with this. He basically said motivation is irrelevant if you don't have commitment. Think of the track cyclist who may be highly motivated to win a metal. He or she truly has to be committed to put in the mind-numbing hours and hours as well as lap after lap of training to get to his goal.
Now I know a bunch of people will say you have to be motivated as well as committed but I don't think motivation really plays that much of a role. I already stated that the most important characteristic to have as an entrepreneur is perseverance. A major part of perseverance is commitment and much less so motivation as commitment inevitably leads to motivation. Commitment is what gives you direction. Motivation is simply the "energy" which occurs while pursuing a goal.
Unfortunately I know a ton of people who are highly motivated yet they still don't really seem to succeed much. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I fear someone who is motivated but doesn't show strong commitment in their past. Be this the job hopper who never sticks to one job for long or the developer who can't complete one project before moving on to another. They are not necessarily working "less hard" than other people but they keep getting sidetracked or distracted. There is a lot of "unfinished business" in their tracks.
Give me the option of a committed entrepreneur or employee versus a highly motivated one and I will always pick the one who's shown commitment. You can motivate people but you can't make them commit. Somehow commitment is something you can't "teach" anyone. They either have it or they don't.