So I was thinking.. When I wake up in the morning, what gets me motivated? What gets me ready and willing to jump into that cold shower, get dressed into my clothes while my body temperature slowly heats up again and works itself into a sweat (by this time another cold shower would be nice). You see, I don’t use an aircon nor do I use hot water, and it’s a great way to save BIG on the electricity bill, however doesn’t seem like the smartest choice during certain moments of the day, like getting dressed in the morning for example. So what really gets me motivated, dressed, and ready to travel to work without dragging my legs behind me, and enjoy the precious hours of the day?

Well I guess for me it starts with being thankful for all the blessings in my life. Focusing on the beautiful things God has given me. The special friendships with those few people that don’t give up on me even if i’m a drag at times. The many opportunities to meet new people. Eating yummy food whether I eat out or cook myself. The awesome scenery even if it means strategically overlooking some dirty grey buildings to see the sky filled with fluffy white clouds and different hues of blue, red and orange. A job that pays me a decent salary. A loving family, and a wonderful relationship with a guy that inspires me to be a better person each day. These things alone are great motivators, especially when I focus on them instead of all my concerns. It’s so easy to get dragged down by our thoughts and perspectives in life if we are focusing on the wrong things.

Then I got thinking about work and what gets people motivated to do a good job. To thrive and be willing to excel and even exceed any given task. Well with all the interviews I have given to prospective candidates at the executive search firm I work with, I asked them what would get them excited to take on a new job, what were some of the problems they had in the previous company they worked for, and what incentives they were looking for with any future job opportunity. Here are some of the motivators, which may be the reason they were still searching for something new…

Yes it’s valid considering everything in this world we live in costs something. Yet we can’t buy wisdom, we can’t buy loyalty, we can’t buy kindness, we can’t buy the passion that makes us work hard and fight for something, and we can’t by the eagerness to simply want to learn something new. So I question, how much does it cost us to live our lives motivated by money without these values in place? It can cost us a lot, but nothing that money can buy back for us. So although money is important, it shouldn’t be the thing that drives us to work hard at what ever we face in life.

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Role Model
Are we influenced and motivated by someone else success? Perhaps an entrepreneur who worked long hours to get to where he is, yet still has time for his loving family and some charity work on the side. Is this ‘superman’ the person who gets us excited about life, who we want to be just like? We can learn a lot from the successful and humble leaders around us, yet there is a danger of putting too much of a ‘celebrity status’ on someone, or making them an idol. We are in danger of trying to live their life and forgetting who we really are, or that we have our own personalized success story. We just need to focus on God’s plans for our lives. We can figure out what drives our own passion by digging deep to find the talents and values that get us focused. We can’t just copy someone else shell and assume we will be successful too, as we all have our own unique story that we must work hard for. If our efforts were solely driven by the success of another person then one day if they disappeared, so would our dreams. There is something to learn from every single person around us and those teachings help us execute our own talents, our own personal goals and our own dreams. As long as we are working hard at God’s will for our lives, we will achieve nothing less than success. Focus on the Lord not the world, and he will guide our ways.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

There are people that wait to be successful before they feel motivated to work for further success. Sound counterproductive? It’s like they need the first success story to fall into their laps before they will be encouraged enough to work for success. “I’m guilty of this in the past’. This type of attitude however is just delaying our success and what God has planned for us. We tell ourselves that if only ‘this’ happens then we will be motivated. Problem is, that if we wait for things to happen to motivate us, we will most likely be waiting forever. If we have the attitude to wait for things to happen before we try hard, then we will keep using that same excuse over and over. It’s a dangerous cycle to be in and a real time waster. So instead of waiting, lets focus on the positive, the small successes we experience each day. I mean we are successful every day, we just don’t acknowledge it. We are successful when we have a good conversation with a client or colleague, or when we get an email sent off with the correct grammar in place, or when we get to work on time. These are all small things, but these are the things that mold us and set us up for the bigger successes in life. So work on the small things, and the big things will follow.

Luke 16:10
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

You know that Cinderella story that we are all waiting for? Well again my advice is to stop waiting. If we keep waiting for things to make us happy before we feel happy, then we are again in a dangerous cycle. If we wait for this world to make us happy we will be continually let down. Happiness is a choice, so make the choice to be happy. And beyond happiness, let God fill you with a joy that cannot be broken no matter what the circumstance. When we focus on him, we have a better understanding of our purpose. We have a better understanding that we live in a world where people fail us every single day, and that the only person that won’t ever fail us is God. So lets stop waiting for the temporary things to make us happy and choose a permanent Joy.

James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

We all love our comfort zones. That cozy space we are so familiar with. That place excluding any challenge that would help edge us outside our ‘zone’. Often we want a job where we feel comfortable, when in fact we should be challenging ourselves so we can learn new things and grow. The pursuit for comfort really is a personal growth repellant, as is the belief we are already so experienced that we know it all and there is nothing left to learn. It prevents us from learning more, from exploring the vastness of life, from meeting new people. It’s really important to focus on learning. We can learn so much from speaking with different people, taking a job we are not familiar with or even looking for a new approach in an environment we know very well, exploring new places, reading new books. This is the only way we will grow, and it doesn’t happen until we stop focusing on our comforts, or what we feel we are already good at.

Matthew 19:21
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Job 42:2
“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

It seems some people just do not function well unless they are given constant attention, unless they have compliments thrown at them left and right or a daily pat on the back for any accomplished achievement no matter the size. And when they are not given this attention, they begin to loose motivation and wonder what they are even working for if no one is appreciating their efforts. The truth is, that we can’t always have compliments from people. Although it feels nice to get a compliment, it shouldn’t be the driving source of our lives. If we have a humble attitude, get stuck into our work because we enjoy it or because we simply need some hard work in our lives, with a more healthy perspective we can motivate ourselves. If we wait for others compliments to motivate our lives, we will be taking far more steps back rather than forward. It’s already a compliment that an employer would like to keep us on, that we are trusted with daily tasks that could either build a company or help bring it down. If we focus on these things and keep a humble attitude then any compliment is just a bonus.

Proverbs 26:28
A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Point of this all is that often we are so busy focusing on either superficial or temporary things to motivate us that we never end up getting motivated at all. We never get stuck into all the exciting challenges that would help us grow. We never venture out past our comfort zones, or welcome change in our lives. In fact we look at change as a dreaded complication which zaps us of all our motivation, when in fact the opposite is true. It’s being stuck in a ‘comfort zone’ which gives any motivation we once had a slow but sure death. If we only realized that too often we wait for the wrong things to motivate us, we would save ourselves a lot of stress and wasted time.

So that being said, one final reminder…

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Focus on your values and goals. The integrity that can’t be ‘spent’ like money, but will only make you richer.

Let God be your motivator to reveal any hidden talents and take the limits off what you believe you can achieve.

Remember we are successful many times a day, and keep a humble heart.

Remember happiness is a choice and let us be filled with the joy that comes with knowing God more.

Look to constantly challenge ourselves and not get stuck in our comfort zone that stops us from growing and learning more.

And remember that the only compliment we need to know is that we are “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), and don’t need to be driven by the recognition of others.