What motivates you?
Now that we’re well into January and you’re making good on your New Year’s resolutions, intentions or goals (you are making good, right?), what’s keeping you motivated?
Last week (actually, Meltdown Day!), I attended an event with guest Dan Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” He spoke about his research into what motivates everyone from corporate employees to artists to parents and educators. His theories apply to a broad spectrum of people and circumstances, including you and your goals. In particular, a few points about the importance of Mastery and Purpose might be of interest to you.
** Determine your “orienting north star purpose” sentence. What is the bottom-line reason you are on this earth? Knowing this will help you to stay focused on your goals. If you really go bottom-line, you’ll find it’s not about “auto-pilot,” expected desires of being thinner, wealthier or more influential. Looking into your heart, your purpose is more likely to be about values such as truth, beauty, love, service or justice. These are motivators that will sustain you further than transitory rewards.
** Be aware of how you are stating your goal and its reward. Sometimes, we use the “carrot and stick” approach to motivating ourselves. We make an informal agreement with ourselves that if we reach a certain goal, we’ll get a coveted reward (a bonus, massage, dinner out, new shoes). These statements motivate, but often result in short-term satisfaction. This is fine if your goal is routine or low risk. However, if your goal involves long-term change or taking a perceived risk, it’s more powerful to find motivation through a desire to align with and express what’s most important to you.
** Frame your goals as part of the pursuit of Mastery. This means that you are on the journey for the sake of the journey, not for rewards or status. Mastery is a mindset that says “I love what I’m doing, and I know that I will progress and regress; it’s all in the service of learning and growing and becoming better at something I care about.” As Pink writes, “The joy is in the pursuit more than the realization.”
What’s keeping you motivated as move forward into the challenges and opportunities before you? Which perspective do you have: outside-in (reward as motivation) or inside-out (purpose and progress as motivation)? And what and who will support you on your journey? (I learned about the absolutely necessity of having a network of friends at another wonderful presentation last week by Shasta Nelson; more on that another time!)
Here’s to discovering and embracing what drives us to succeed, and kicking that drive into high gear!
PS: You can read more from Dan Pink on his website, www.DanPink.com.He even has his own iPhone app!