Perhaps I always wanted to believe I was the type of person who was continuously striving to get to another level of achievement or performance. The truth is I wasn’t. I’m not motivated by achievement. This may sound odd, but this is something I realized about ten years ago.
My awareness of the fact that I wasn’t motivated by achievements or more specifically contests or competing with others didn’t appeal to me. Not in the way that people who are intrinsically motivated by contests, or against others performance metrics. My ah-ha moment about this occurred when I was in the process of working with a marketing colleague to put together a contest for our team to participate in.
The structure of the contest was intended to reward someone when they achieved specific metrics, and the prize rewards were very appealing. However, it was when we were discussing the roll-out and implementation of the program that I realized that if I was participating in this contest, it wouldn’t entice me to participate or put forth additional energy to achieve the metrics. Admittedly, the purpose and end result that the contest was designed to achieve, had zero appeal to me.
Upon realizing that contests or competing against others metrics didn’t impact me the way others are impacted by them, made me consider what the reason behind this was. When I thought back to when I was playing competitive sports, I never measured my performance metrics against anyone else’s. Not even my own. Yes, this might sound odd, and you might think that I wasn’t being competitive, but in fact, taking the approach of instead simply enjoying what I was doing, and helping my team to perform well based on my contributions was what truly motivated me to perform.
Fast forward to about ten years into my marketing career when my performance was being measured and discussed annually. I dreaded these conversations. Not because I wasn’t doing well in my career, but I saw zero point in this conversation having any impact on my ability or future performance. This got me thinking, and I began to wonder if others also thought this way? It turns out some do, but not as many as you might imagine.
The point about figuring out that I am not the type of person who is motivated in the more traditional methods that individuals, sports or work teams motivate people are, was when I began thinking about what would entice my performance? Or others if they had a similar mindset?
I can’t speak for others, but what I determined and which allows me to be both motivated and to think bigger, isn’t going to be what you might think it would be. In fact, it’s only something I realized would work for me more recently. What is it? Actually, it’s quite simple, and involves a concept that everyone is familiar with, and can also do too. It’s what I’ll refer to as daydreaming, or visualizing where or what I see myself doing next.
In the case of my professional circumstances, for the last year I have been working on a research project that has evolved and taken shape quite differently than I expected it to be. The more I work on this project, the more I want to pursue taking it to the next level. To increase the scope and size of it. To think more boldly and bigger in terms of what I want the outcome of this research project to achieve.
When I started thinking about the new directions I could take this project into, this is where I found what others would potentially describe as my competitive motivation. The appeal of going way out of my comfort zone, and challenging myself to keep pursuing a project that others didn’t fully understand, but that I could see perfectly clearly what the end results would look like has pushed me to keep this project going. To take it to the next level, and to boldly and verbally share with others where and what this project will do for me, as well as the people involved with it.
Helping others would be another motivating factor that allows me to pursue allowing my mindset to be open and unrestrained from a thinking perspective. This is an incredibly freeing way to think, and has allowed me to reach and be on my way to attaining achievements I never would have imagined happening a year ago.
Thinking bigger, and more boldly may not be for everyone, as many people like to stay in their comfort zone, and they are fine with remaining there. However, if that doesn’t appeal to you, and you are not more traditionally motivated by contests or chasing the performance metrics of others, or even competing against your own metrics, below are some ideas for you to consider.
- Traveling to new places is something that I both look forward to, and that motivates me. What is your version of this in your life?
- Visualize and think about “what if” as a concept related to something you are interested in doing, or looking to achieve.
- Consider what it will feel like when you are working towards something which is out of your comfort zone. For me, I personally derive increased energy when I am in my non-comfort zone.
- Think about a time when you were in general really happy. What contributed to this feeling, and can you replicate this feeling with any projects or things going on personally or professionally in your life?
- Fear can be a motivator, but it’s not one of my go to or favorite ones. However, consider what might be holding you back from a fear perspective in terms of stretching your thinking of accomplishing something bigger and bolder than you have ever done before.
- It’s important to have at least one person in your life who plays the role of your “champion”. I recommend having a champion in your corner when you embark upon your journey to do something that will take you to the next level, or allow you to expand your accomplishment thinking.
Having finally figured out what motivates me has opened up entirely new possibilities in my life. I’m extremely excited about what the future looks like, what experiences I will be having and how I will be able to benefit and share them with others. Hopefully to inspire and motivate them.
TAGS: #Motivation #Inspire #InspiringOthers #MotivatingOthers #ThinkingBoldly #ThinkingBigger #Imagination #Success #Leadership #Teams #Achievement #PersonalDevelopment #ProfessionalDevelopment
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