There is a reason all of us keep grinding and chugging along through our daily routine. For some it may be spiritual, wanting to please some omniscient being, it could be money, or it could be working to better yourself, others, and the world around you. For some, it defines who they are, and for others, ehh, they probably shrug it off and are just glad to be alive.
Recently, I was in a job interview with a Fortune 200 company and they asked me an intriguing question that I have not been able to stop thinking about. It was simple; it caught me off guard, threw my confidence for a loop, and left me in a daze when trying to respond. It was not complex; it was simply, “What motivates you?”
Now, I think of myself as a motivated person; I set goals and work to achieve them, I go into things well prepared, work to make myself stronger with each workout in the gym, and try to make myself better at everything I do each day. But for whatever reason, I stumbled when I was asked this question.
At first, I thought I could respond with the typical answer, “My family, and making sure that they are taken care of.” But that seemed like a generic response, and one that would not leave a memorable answer with the search committee. I wanted to show them that I was a naturally motivated person. Which, truth be told is not me, as I work hard each day to stay motivated. So I responded with, “Waking up each morning.” This answer, at the time, sounded awesome in my head. I thought this would really show them that I am a go-getter, ready to take on each task they put in front of me, and not willing to back down from any challenge. I thought I would walk out of that interview in a blaze of glory and be the next MVP of the company.
Holy shit was I wrong; that answer gave those people absolutely nothing. It was a shitty response and it showed them absolutely nothing about my character and what really drives me each day. It made me look weak and timid, like a pathetic race walker that probably cannot even pick up a bag of sand. It showed them that there was no advantage in hiring me over the next person. But what I later came to realize was there was a deeper issue at play, a simple answer to this oh so simple question. Quite frankly, I have never defined what my motivation is.
Later in the day, after much reflection at the airport bar, I was finally able to define it. What really motivates me and makes my life exciting is being able to set goals and work my tail off to achieve them. For me, there is no better feeling than to set out on a new mission and accomplish just that. That euphoric feeling of accomplishment is just awe-inspiring, even if I had to take multiple paths to get there, so I try to work each day to achieve that feeling. And if I fail, at least I know what does not work and what ways I can improve myself to be better next time.
So please, do me a favor and learn from my mistake. Define your motivation and let it be the reason you get excited to wake up in the morning and take on the world. Find your passion and let it move you. Do not be afraid to take risks and work your ass off. But most importantly, be motivated to make positive choices that leave this earth, our family and our friends in a better place because of your passion.