I promised to write this blog last October. And I have spent the last five months getting motivated. So, on the last possible day to turn in the blog, out of sheer terror of not delivering on a promise, I find myself motivated to write about – wait for it – motivation.
Motivation seems like something that would be felt the same way by everyone. But we all know that what makes people “tick” is different person to person. You can Google what motivates people and over 16,000,000 results come up in less than 4 seconds.
Money would seem to be an obvious motivator. But in his book , “Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates us , Dan Pink (www.danpink.com) writes about the considerable science refuting this and makes the case that using money as the sole motivator can actually be counterproductive. This is especially true in the case of employees or team members who consider themselves to be creatives (an excellent blog about a pragmatic, artistic approach to personal growth is www.justinlocke.com).
I am not sure that I want my boss to know this but I do not fall into the motivated by money crowd. I am solidly a creative. I am a visionary. I am the one who comes to the table with the crazy idea that just might work. Working on details – while necessary and I am good at it – are my least favorite thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be well-compensated and I know what I am worth, but it is not the factor that drives me the most.
In his book, Pink talks about three factors that motivate people – purpose, mastery, and autonomy.
As a creative, I need to know that there is purpose to my work and more importantly, I need to feel connected to that purpose. If I don’t feel connected, no matter how noble the cause, you will probably not get the best work from me. Mastery, to me, means to understand what you are working toward and then take a leadership role in getting there. I have always volunteered for or been asked to serve in leadership roles for as long as I can remember. The success of a project that I have a role in shepherding is very motivational to me.
Autonomy is important to me because in my day-to-day work, I want to be left alone to work at my own pace and make my own decisions, asking for help as I need it or as appropriate. But I don’t want to always work alone. I enjoy working with a team – especially one that is well-run and well-matched. In that sense I relate more to Justin Locke’s writing about belonging. For me to be my best – I need both.
And the final thing that is a motivator for me is fun. I have to have fun. If I am going to devote my time and energy and brain power to something then I want to know there will be laughs and celebrations of the milestones achieved along the way. Slogging through the details isn’t so bad when there is a victory toast at the end.
Here’s to finding what motivates you. Cheers!