Determination Demystified: Find Your Key Link to Success

On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you today? Towards what goal? How determined are you? Do you have the internal fire to overcome resistance? To work on the important, not just easy, tasks? The discipline to spend quality time with your team or to prospect new leads?


We all have days when we are unstoppable. On days when obstacles melt away, our focus is sharp and clear, and a force drives us to succeed against all odds. Conversely, we all have days we procrastinate, put in half the effort, and simply do not have what it takes, at that time, to win.


The key difference between success and mediocrity is the difference between determination and motivation.


Jamie Douraghy, founder of Life Work Integration, explains: “Motivation is external, it’s something we are fed on a constant basis. How to behave, what to wear,  what to eat, drink and carry around with us to “feel” better Determination is internal, it’s less of a feeling and more of a state of mind.” We have to create our own inner determination.


As a fencer, Jamie has learned skill in action -- a phrase commonly used to describe yoga. Skill in action is any flow activity where we lose ourselves (and our worries and neuroses) and find that time stands still. Our engagement is at its peak. We harness mind, body and energy with ultimate determination. We know with each practice, and each match, we are conquering ourselves.


“When you lose because the opponent was more skilled or talented, that’s acceptable. When you lose because you didn’t have the fire, the drive, the determination – and they did; well, it’s a long ride home.” Jamie says. He fences around the world, even while he was running a large staffing company for creatives and designers.


“If I’m not bringing it -- my inner will -- you can bet that other person is...I’m either going to use my inner will to push myself or I’ll end up giving  them my energy. I’m letting them win!


Are you giving away your energy? Or are you harnessing, and amplifying it for yourself? Did you know simple yoga and breathing practices can help you build your own power? Check out our EMPOWER series on the Executive Sutra YouTube channel.


I believe power is now, being given to the individual more and more. Anyone can start a youtube channel, build a company, sell products on Etsy or services on Fivvr and elance, or create a business simply through expressing oneself over social media. We live in a time when structures are dissolving. Do you have the fortitude, self-awareness and drive to see and capitalize on these new ways of being, networking, and building?


According to Jamie, the bridge to determination -- your inner executive -- is discipline. This concept, called tapas in Sanscrit, the language of yoga, is found in the Yoga Sutras as well:


Yoga Sutra 2.43 Through discipline, and accepting pain as part of our purification, we gain great powers mentally and physically. The obstacles in our body, senses and mind are destroyed. -- Sri Swami Satchidinanda


Tapas is the discipline to do what you say you will do. To establish consistent practices. For Jamie, this meant writing a blog post each week in 2015. He’s at 26 and counting -- hasn’t missed a week. For a Kobe Bryant, it’s relentlessly finessing his free throws.


Beyond a consistent routine (or perhaps as the driving force of a consistent routine) does your practice have purpose? According to James Clear, being intentional with your practice separates professionals from amateurs. What is the goal behind the practice? Are you checking the box, or deliberately getting feedback and adjusting, building your skills intentionally? For me, this is where discipline gets interesting. This is where discipline turns into devotion, a commitment beyond yourself, to serve a higher aim and to reach your highest potential.


"The paradox is it's difficult to achieve the level of excellence that your calling should merit, but that struggle for mastery is also invigorating and fulfilling. It's tough and not everybody realizes that until they're in it," shares Jeff Goins, author of The Art of Work, in a blog by Tor Constantino of Entrepreneur Magazine.


Echoing the Yoga Sutra above, Jeff goes on to say "Grinding it out is not fun. Painful practice is not fun, but it's necessary to both clarify your purpose and achieve it."


Clarity facilitates movement. And movement (practice) facilitates clarity in a virtuous cycle. Clarity is not the same as information. Clarity is a form of wisdom that combines knowledge with application/experimentation and with inner awareness. Clarity is a result of asking: how did I perform? What felt flow-like, what felt weak, and what can I do differently next time?


When the practice gets difficult, an even bigger question to ask yourself is: what in particular about this practice gives my life, and my efforts as a whole, meaning? The answer may be your “why,” as popularized by Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk Start With Why. There are actually 9 universal “why” statements, according to Ridgely Goldsborough, author of The Why Engine.


Curious about your why? Contact Jamie below.


To summarize:


  1. Leverage discipline to turn motivation (external) into determination (internal)

  2. Establish a consistent, and purposeful, practice

  3. Seek to improve

  4. Accept that pain is part of the process of purification

  5. Find your deeper purpose to catapult discipline into devotion by finding your “why”


For quick, easy, embodied tools on lighting your inner fire, and keeping the flame burning, check out our EMPOWER series on the Executive Sutra YouTube channel, or our new ebook, The Energized Executive, available on Amazon Kindle (download the free Kindle app for any device).


Special thank you to Jamie Douraghy for his wisdom and insight. You can connect with Jamie at or on LinkedIn.