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  • Johnetta Barnes, LPC, NCC, CPCS

Light A Fire In Yourself

According to the Cambridge Dictionary (2019), motivation is the need or reason for doing something. I often hear people talk about their goals, dreams and or ambitions which is great. Everyone should have goals that they wish to obtain in life. However, in working with client’s in counseling or dealing with people in my personal life I often find that lack of motivation has many causes.

People often equate the lack of motivation with laziness and or depression which is not always the case. There are many factors that hinder people when it comes to motivation such as their distorted thought patterns, low self-esteem, problems with confidence but most of all fear. You will find a lot of resources that discuss the fear of failure but what about the fear of success? When setting personal goals which ultimately equate to planning for success you might ask yourself the following questions…

What purpose would it serve?

Think about the reason you came up with the goal or idea in the first place. Will completion of your goal provide you with a sense of purpose? Prior to becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor, I spent many years in Corporate America. Though I had accomplished a lot, I didn’t get a sense of fulfillment. Counseling allows me to serve, help and meet the emotional needs of others. At the end of the day when I go home, I know that I have made an impact in someone’s life through providing talk therapy.

Does anyone even care?

Perhaps better questions are …Do you care? Can I meet the needs of the demographic or area that I choose to work in? Is there a need for what I have to offer? Will what I choose to do have an impact on myself and or others? My motivation for becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor was inspired by my desire to eliminate the stigma against mental health and to bring awareness of the benefits of talk therapy among people of color.

Do I have the time to take on another task?

1 in 4 Americans describe themselves as “Super Stressed” due to problems with work/life balance such as managing families, relationships, workloads and other personal interest (Mental Health America, 2019). I can relate! While pursuing my master’s degree I worked 40 plus hours per week, completed an internship after work and on the weekend, maintained my family life which included a husband, toddler, parents, siblings, other family members and friends. I forgot to mention that I lost about 50 lbs. as I was so busy, I would have to eat on the go or not eat at all sometimes (I digress, and I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do that). Please Eat! The point that I am trying to make is that anything worth having is worth working for. I would not change a thing because I wouldn’t be where I am today if my family and I hadn’t made such sacrifices.

What are you dealing with? What is holding you back?

Distractions are things that prevent someone from giving full attention to something else. Distractions come in many forms such as a person, job or circumstance. For example, environmental stressors such as workplace issues and situations involving family and friends were my areas of distraction. Your job will have requirements that have to be met and your loved ones have their needs and or requirements of you. However, it is important to say no to demands that you cannot meet or to unreasonable expectations (I will elaborate on this area soon). Identify distractions for what they are, just that, you do not benefit from them and they serve no purpose to you.

There are many resources that discuss goal setting. However, the purpose of completing a goal is to complete a desired task, have a sense of accomplishment and ultimately experience the gratification surrounding the completion of your goal. So, are you scared of failure or scared of success? Is there a chance that you may have setbacks and fail to complete your desired goal? Sure, there is. The famous quote by Confucius “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall” (n.d). Therefore, I encourage you to LIGHT A FIRE IN YOURSELF. If you need help in doing so try speaking with a Professional Counselor, Life Coach or whomever you deem fit to inspire and encourage you to achieve success by completing your personal goals.


Cambridge Dictionary (2019). Retrieved from

Insight Squared (2019). Retrieved from

Mental Health America (2019). Work Life Balance. Retrieved from

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