Motivation: What's Your Language?
I was filling out a questionnaire after my most recent colonic, gearing up to begin a lifestyle change that I can actually stick to, then boom—question 7. “Motivation occurs in (5) forms. Rank the motivator that influences you from greatest to least.” I’m not sure about you, but I had no inkling motivation had “forms.” I was taken aback. “I have to answer a question about myself that I'm not sure I can answer.” Sounds silly, but my mind was blown (for an entire 2 minutes). I had a short period of time to rank fear, challenge, reward, recognition and growth from 1-5 (1 being the highest), and I was clueless. After reading the 5 different forms aloud (quietly of course), I googled “Motivation Language Quiz” and successfully received a “No results found.” OK, I’m exaggerating. There were a few things that popped up, but nothing I was looking for. In that moment I realized that in all my precious time spent self-evaluating, I never actually considered how I’m motivated.
Motivation is why we do what we do, and literally one of the most important elements of life. It’s our willingness to exert high levels of effort towards our goals, both personally and professionally. Although there's no tool to help us determine how we’re motivated like the “Love Language Quiz” tells us how we primarily desire to be loved, it’s just as important to know and understand. Once you recognize how you’re motivated (if you haven't already) you’ll begin to allow yourself to gravitate to the things that are more fulfilling in life, and question yourself less. You'll probably appreciate why you chose a particular career path (regardless of what others think), or be convinced to take the new position you've been going back and forth with yourself about. Does being rewarded motivate you? Hell, maybe the fear of the unknown actually inspires you to reach great heights (if it does, kudos!). Me, I love a good challenge and I always have. I’ve been a competitor since who knows when. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing tennis, or taking a “MyLearning” course at work—I want to win and I want the highest score possible. I also desire to learn and to grow, which is often the result of any challenge I take on (ranked number 2). In school, If I got a 98 on a test, I'd mentally beat myself up because I was "just 2 points away from a perfect score and messed it up." The concept of "an A is an A" never really settled with me... until college of course.
Answering question 7 made me realize that although we all have motivation, we’re motivated differently. Consider your work setting. I’m sure some of your co-workers (or maybe even you) love recognition awards and have them pinned to their cubical, and/or strive to be employee of the month every month proudly displaying their great efforts. Others, they just tell your manager to show them the money (the reward). Clearly two different types of motivation, but if either of those forms were no longer available those individuals probably wouldn’t work as hard or over achieve.
Needless to say, this particular colonic visit was life changing. It all finally made sense. I realized that the reasons why I’ve sought career changes that (per the job description) I wasn’t qualified for, or even created this blog are simply because I’m motivated by challenge and by growth. Knowing that, I’ll continue to shoot for the stars. At least I’ll land on a cloud and learn a thing or two on my way up.
Well you’ve heard my February revelation, now I have a question for you:
What's your motivation language?