Your Motivation: From Self or Others?

The answer is obvious: Both. 

You: No matter what you do — at work, at play, with family or a team or your community — it’s your job to be the best you that you can be. To motivate yourself to learn, to grow, to set the highest possible standards, to do great work. Ultimately, only you are responsible for you and for psyching yourself up!

Annnnd… Others: We all need someone — a boss or leader at work, a parent, a teacher, a mentor, a peer, a friend, a teammate or an entire team, a spiritual leader…most anyone besides ourselves — who asks more of us than we do, who calls us to a higher purpose, who brings our passions together with others for a common goal that is beyond what we could accomplish by ourselves.

What is crucial though is how those two come together and become one.

In a LinkedIn discussion group on Who Is Responsible for Motivation, Employee or Employer?, there seems to be an ever-evolving dance happening where responsibility continually passes back and forth between the employee and employer. The employee is responsible for being the best person she can be — learning, growing, challenging herself — as well as demanding greatness of herself, as well as aligning herself with her team’s and company’s goals… And the employer is responsible for the vision of where everyone needs to go and ensuring everyone is passionately working together.

The Big So What: Mastering the dance is what matters… The ebb and flow between you being accountable for your own motivation and being jazzed by a shared purpose, bigger than yourself.

Five, ten, twenty times a day — depending on the work being done — you will need to decide: Am I doing this task this way because it’s up to my highest-possible standards? Or am I doing it this way because it helps all of us achieve a common goal? 

Ideally, this ebb and flow should be seamless, where you motivating you and others motivating you are almost indistinguishable. 

And that’s the point! Blend them together intentionally, knowingly, by design. Do not let it just happen. Otherwise you’ll wake up someday having found you served a higher purpose or someone else’s agenda, but not yourself.

Leave a Reply