Some Ways To Think About Motivation
What motivates you? Is it a question you ever consider, or do you simply act? Lately I’ve been motivated to think about motivation more than I’m typically motivated to. I feel that my motivation regarding motivation exploration is deeply rooted in the hats that this phase of my life has me wearing. Being a husband and a dad has me ruminating about things like food, and roofs over heads, and colleges, and other odds and ends that my immediate family might need/want. It’s important stuff that requires some serious attention, and simply understanding that it does motivates me to give it some serious attention. Family is a powerful motivating force in my life.
Then there are those I serve who are not members of my immediate family. They need my attention in various ways, and I need theirs. It’s tricky though, in part, because my wife and I continue to be blessed with babies (number four is due to arrive this fall, and numbers one through three are impressively energized). Being motivated to spend some time with people that I care about but don’t live or work with has enhanced my organizational skills. That motivation has been really wonderful in terms of learning and growth. It’s let to action! The organizational skills I’ve been motivated to develop carry over into the other aspects of my personal and professional life. They’re helping me achieve goals and move forward in positive ways. Simply using a calendar to manage time has made it possible for me to coordinate family responsibilities, spend time with friends, go to doctors appointments, maintain my car appropriately, involve myself in personal and professional development, and do more of the odds and ends that tie me together. It’s important for me to stay tied together.
On top of the stuff I’ve alluded to above, I’m highly motivated to serve the stakeholders of my school community as effectively as I can. Every moment that I participate in the incredible work that’s taking place in my district, and in education around the world, my excitement grows. Having the good fortune to work in a field focused human potential is extremely motivating for me. I thrive on reflective learning and collaborative progress. The more pieces of my life’s puzzle that require attention, the more I seem to think about and understand my motivation. Sometimes I think that it might be the pace, sometimes I wonder if it’s the narrowed focus, and every so often, I suspect that my ever-deepening consideration of connected motivation is coming with age. I’m no spring chicken, and they say that experience helps us hone in on the realities of this adventure. Who knows?
Something You Might Consider Trying: A Motivation Inventory
What I am discovering with some degree of certainty is that reflection and integration have been key components of my growth with regard to understanding the forces that motivate me, and mustering the ability to access and account for those forces (and the consequent motivations) in my actions. It has been important for me to remember that I am a partner in motivation to many people. Not only in my responsibility to them, but in my responsibility to help them do for themselves. I’m not suggesting that I have the power to conjure motivation in/for others. However, if I’m doing my job well, I should be helping those I serve understand and find ways to access, and act on their own.
I think that a motivation inventory can help in accomplishing that. Like this reflective piece, my motivation inventory begins with my wife and kids. It includes friends, my own serenity and developmental aspirations, my spiritual and health needs, the wellbeing and achievement of those I serve, and more. As I work through my own inventory I can connect the motivational forces with actions. Diet, exercise, relaxation, organization, play, etc.; what things do I need to be doing in order to address my motivation once it’s basis is established? This kind of inventory can be as loose and simple as scratched out notes on a cocktail napkin (although that might produce some interesting results), or as contrived as a periodic journal (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).
Satisfying one’s motivation seems a natural response to having it. Knowing what motivates you is great…doing something about it keeps the wheels turning in the right direction. If you do try a motivation inventory, let me know what you think by commenting below or touching base with me on twitter (@bergseyeview). Then, if you’re motivated to do so, ask others to do their own inventories. Share it with your spouse, your children, your staff, your supervisors, etc. Get to know what motivates you, help others understand their motivations, work together to address them, individually and collaboratively integrate as many systematic motivational responses as possible, and let me know if things run any more smoothly!
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.