One question that keeps cropping up just now centres around something we all have and something we are all capable of doing.
In a work sense, I was asked recently to name three things that motivated me.
In a personal (mad mad world) sense, I’ve been complimented on my motivation with regards to this blog and my book baby.
It’s got me thinking…..or should I say, it’s motivated me to think a bit more about this. (Seldom a good thing!)
My first port of call, as it is frequently for any topic up for discussion, my rather battered Collins English Dictionary. It says-
Motivate – to give incentive to
Motivation – the act or instance of motivating
Incentive of inducement
Desire to do; interest or drive
The process that arouses, sustains and regulated human and animal
I’ve been mulling this over for a while, trying to establish what actually motivates me.
When I was asked the question in a work context, I was like a rabbit in the headlights. With only a few seconds to come up with my answer, I mumbled a rather bog standard money, recognition for a job well done and the satisfaction of seeing the job completed to a high standard.
If I’m honest, on reflection, two out of the three definitely motivate me at work. One less so. I’ll leave you to work it out.
At the time, most of my colleagues answered along similar lines – money, success, achievement, the thought of retirement on a reasonable pension.
In my own mad, mad world out of work, what motivates me? This has required more thought. A lot more thought!
Seeking inspiration, I consulted the Big Green Gummi Bear to determine his motivators in life. As expected I got a rather succinct three word answer. (For fear of incurring his wrath I won’t share them here.)
I consulted Boy Child, who looked at me blankly at first before saying he’d been motivated to get a summer job to get save enough money to buy a PRS guitar (and pay your way through university for a while, I hope) So I guess from his answer, I can deduce that money motivates him because it allows him to buy nice things. Most folk would struggle to argue with that.
I consulted a friend, who I consider to be one of the most motivated people in my circle of friends, and got a pleasant surprise in the midst of their answer. Family. A highly commendable motivator.
Over time I’ve discovered different things can trigger motivation in me. There’s no one single thing that motivates me. It’s a complex combination of things.
Books can motivate people to change their behaviour. After reading two books by Dean Karnazes, author and ultramarathon man, I was motivated sufficiently to get up off my butt and partake of some regular exercise. (To those reading this who know me – please stop laughing!) If you’d told me a year or so ago that I’d be sufficiently motivated to get out of bed an hour early to go for a run before work, I’d have sworn you were insane.
News articles/social media campaigns can motivate people. Remember last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? – were you motivated enough to take part? Or is that inspired? Hmm…. The perfect example harks back to my blog of a few weeks ago. A BBC news item in 1984 motivated Sir Bob Geldof to get up off his couch and come up with Band Aid and subsequently Live Aid. The rest, as they say, is history.
With regards to my creative writing, what motivates me to keep going is the moral support of others, especially my Infamous Five. My motivation to keep going after the launch of Stronger Within went through a serious dip a few weeks ago. A chance comment from someone ,who had read my book baby, was enough to re-fill my motivation tanks for a good long while. They quite frankly told me that, while they’d enjoyed my book, it wasn’t really their thing (fair enough) but that it had inspired them to keep reading other books. Job done! Hearing that I’d inspired someone to read books was certainly motivational for me!
When I’m writing out my weekly To Do list, currently there is a weekly word target to be met. Seeing this number steadily increase week on week helps to motivate me to keep going. (Exceeding the week’s magic number and the resulting buzz I get from it has proved to me that I am more competitive than I thought I was.) Typing for hour after hour several nights a week, especially after a long day in the salt mine, can be quite draining so my simple numbers game is the ideal motivator here.
Another motivator is a sense of accomplishment. With the undying support of a close circle of wonderful people, I’ve made a lifelong dream come true and am on the way to repeating it. I don’t have the words to describe how that feels but, every time I reflect on it, I smile to myself and feel warm and fuzzy inside.
So on reflection, what are my personal motivators? Accomplishment, satisfaction and the determination to keep going.
What are yours?