Part 1: What Motivates You?


Whether it’s for business or pleasure, why do you do what you do? What is your ‘why’? Personal motivation means different things to different people. Understanding your true motivations behind the things that you do will allow you to lead a much happier and more fulfilled life. We explored this topic at our last Concannon Connection event, which was held at the Stewart, Fletcher & Barrett (SFB Group) offices in Nuneaton. As the subject of personal motivation is such a vast area to cover in just one article, this is the first of two blogs based on this theme.


What is your why?

There are likely to be many reasons behind the things that you do. Why did you start your business or seek a certain career? Why do you enjoy particular hobbies or activities? Often, your childhood and parental influences have a large part to play, helping to shape the person that you become. Sometimes we have both short-term and long-term motivations, which can change over time depending on our life stage and other factors.

We asked people around the room to discuss their own personal motivations - common themes included:

  • Being the best that you can be – e.g. using and developing knowledge, skills, abilities

  • Being appreciated – e.g. pleasing parents, children, bosses and clients

  • Being fair – e.g. injustice can often motivate people to take action

Interestingly, money wasn’t mentioned. And yet, so many people claim they are motivated by money. I would argue that its not the money itself that is the motivation, but the lifestyle and things that can be bought with having a lot of wealth.

Money is NOT a good motivation

This is where my own view of personal motivation reflects more of a Buddhist philosophy. The actual state of ‘wanting’ something is horrible. The next time you want something, think about how it makes you feel. Wanting something creates a state of anxiety. If you’re motivated by material gain, this will make you feel anxious when you don’t have the things you want, i.e. the need to earn enough to buy a sportscar, yacht and so on. And, even when you can afford to buy those things, what happens after they have been bought? You want more things.

This is one of the reasons I am not keen on ‘mood boards’ – yes, it is good to aspire to have a better lifestyle and do better things, but if your personal motivation is only focused on obtaining material things, you may find yourself equally as unhappy as you are now. Remember - money does not buy happiness...

I think a lot of times it’s not money that’s the primary motivation factor; it’s the passion for your job and the professional and personal satisfaction that you get out of doing what you do that motivates you.
— Martin Yan, award-winning US Chef

Negative motivators

Often, negative experiences can become the driving forces behind our personal motivation. Your personal “motivators”, or reasons for doing what you do, may be due to an event or experience that kickstarts your thinking. Your motivation may also change as you age, as different life experiences have an impact on you. However, be wary of negative situations or people that can have a negative effect on your personal motivation. If you want to maintain a healthy notion of personal motivation, surround yourself with positive people – and this rule includes your friends and family!

One of our speakers, Paul Carvell, Managing Director of SFB, described how negative factors in his early years became the triggers that spurred him on to great achievement. Having been told he was “not clever enough at school”, Paul decided to prove everyone wrong, and he worked hard to become an accountant. Paul wanted to please his parents, and he was highly motivated to not take the same career path as his father. In his later years, Paul described how this personal motivation then switched to pleasing his children and becoming a role model for their success.

The ‘mirror test’ is the way I judge myself in terms of whether I have done my best that day. I look in the mirror and ask myself ‘can I face the people I have worked with that day’ - could I take them out for a drink? This is a great way of motivating myself to always be the best that I can possibly be.
— Paul Carvell, SFB Group

Our other speaker on the day was Linda Stewart from Decisive Thinking. After a long career working in mental health services for the NHS, Linda shared that her personal motivation is having compassion. After working at an asylum back in the 1980s within an environment that caused her great concern, Linda wanted to create change and improve the lives of people suffering with mental health conditions.

Compassion is the glue that holds us altogether. Having compassion for those around you, having the ability to receive compassion, and then showing compassion for yourself.
— Linda Stewart, Decisive Thinking

What REALLY motivates you?

To discover your purpose - your “why” - you need to find the thing that makes you feel amazing. And you need to do more of this. You need to re-examine what’s inside your head and find the very thing where you can lose yourself and become immersed completely. My “why” is sorting other people’s problems out. I LOVE problem solving and this is why I created a business around this. But, I am not just talking about the personal motivation behind your business or day-to-day job - you need to do other things in life that make you feel great.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What really makes you happy? It might be making others happy...

  • Do you enjoy certain challenges? This could relate to personal achievements.

  • Are you motivated by injustice? Perhaps you like to help those who are in need.

In our next blog, we will be looking at how you can use your personal motivation to achieve success for your business or career.

Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.
— Kevin Kruse, Actor

Next Concannon Connection Workshop

Our next event will be on 14th September 2018 at Cosby Golf Club, Leicester, and the theme will be “Communication”. If you have been to one of my events before, you will know that it’s free to attend, but I always ask that you bring someone along with you. This could be your best client or your mother - it really doesn’t matter. To keep our events fresh, we always like to see new faces at every event. To find out more about our Concannon Connection events, Business Club, or our Director’s Development Forum, please...