What motivates you?

"You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you." -Andy Warhol

Source: goffgough, via tobeinthelight

Earlier this week, I met with a recruiter in hopes of landing my next full-time job. Since the wedding’s over, I’m working double-time to find employment.

Anyway, at this screening, I was asked a series of questions to better match me with potential employers. The one question that caught my attention, and has stuck with me ever since, was: What motivates you?

Now, this doesn’t seem too difficult a question, right? Most people will go with the quick and easy answer of “my family.” And in all honesty, that’s what I said. But motivation is a little more complex than that. In fact, in the very broad and very grand scheme of things, answers like “my family,” though respectable, are kind of a cop out.

If I can be frank here, my family, motivation as they may be, doesn’t get me out of bed every morning. Yes, I want to accomplish everything I can for them, but they just don’t give me that daily kick in the ass I really need. So I’ve been determined to break this down.

We all have certain goals we want to accomplish, and we all have our reasons for why we want to accomplish those goals. Those reasons are our ultimate motivation. Now, from those goals comes a desire and plan to meet them. I’ve on many occasions said (perhaps lazily, in retrospect) “Just do it!” in previous blog posts. You want to lose weight, go work out. You want to get your degree, enroll in school. But it’s become very clear to me that it’s really not that easy.

Having a plan is one thing, but executing is a whole other issue.

As a perfectionist, doing things well has been my thing for a very long time. But perfectionism, I’ve determined, was only part of it. In times that I’ve been especially successful, I remember having real motivation. I cared – a lot.

So at the risk of sounding obnoxious, I’ve discovered that what motivates me, and what usually makes me care, is fairly simple: I either need tangible incentive (money, trophies, gifts, kudos, etc.) or I just need to be plain ol’ fed up.

Now as far as getting out of bed goes, that I still need a lot of help with. I’ve done all kinds of things to get going with the execution part. I’ve slept in my gym clothes so that it’d be easier to run in the morning. I’ve placed sticky notes on my work computer to remember to study my vocab cards when preparing for the GRE. I’ve even made vision boards to keep my goals on full display.

But sometimes, there is no real incentive, and we’re not all that fed up. Our beds are so comfy, TV is so entertaining, and junk food is so delicious. Yet still, things have to get done. And to that I say (whine), Why? And moms around the world respond, “Because I said so!” Hmph.

So after losing that battle, I’ve concluded this: you have to find a reason to care. And you have to commit. Care about your health, care about your happiness, care about your life. Family may want the best for you, and you really don’t want to let them down. But no one (not a single one) will care more about your success than you do – you have to get out of bed and make it happen! You’ll see. Maybe motivation isn’t so tricky after all.

I want to know what motivates you. What gets you going every morning? Let me know in the comments below!

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