There is also another side to motivation. You might call it, lighting the fire under your butt. But there are two different ways that can happen.
My oldest son Corban graduated this week, and man am I proud. I was proud of my daughter as well, but I think there are things we are proud of that can be specific to each individual. Same diploma, but different strengths and obstacles overcome.
High school graduation is one of those things that we take for granted in this era of bloated educational extensions, but we should not. It is currently one of the few widely accepted cultural rites of passage that we put a lot of time and money into, and the grads themselves look forward to with great anticipation. That is a good rite of passage; respected and desired for both those who have achieved, and those aspiring to achieve. Call it as you will, we may desire greater degrees, and still question their long-term fortitude, but we do not place an iota of the pressure on them as we do on the high school diploma.
For many families, it is a great time to celebrate the arrival of adulthood. We go forward from here, or we should, as different people than when our mom’s made our lunches and made sure we got to the bus on time. My son exemplified being a great citizen, a solid student, and desired to do well by all those in his many circles. He looked forward to the goal, and he achieved it. It stands as a mark of his character and accomplishment, and no one can take it from him.
Success, the goal achieved, drives many. It sets us up for the next stage of growth and pursuit.
I went the summer school route for my graduation, receiving my diploma in the mail, while working a summer job and not really sure what I wanted to do after. That brings me to the other big motivator for many…
I recently had a tooth with a root canal become ‘reinfected’. I do not have a great history with my teeth. Partly genetics, partly bad habits, partly intense anxiety about the adversaries I call dentists. (We can talk childhood trauma another time)
I negotiated with myself for a couple of days before I realized this was a real problem. Suddenly, the thought of having someone just rip the antagonist tooth out of my skull without freezing seemed like a reasonable idea. After a sleepless night of pain I showed up at my dentist’s office to figure out what the next step would be. Antibiotics kicked in and I regained my famous smile, with the reality of further appointments dancing in my head.
When I shared this with a good friend, he grimaced. In his mind I should have been at the doctor’s office the minute I thought something was wrong. He may be closer to right than I was.
I negotiated the pain in my skull much like I would encounter a problem in a leadership team or trying to extend my tight finances. It was more a problem to solve than it was a danger to remove. I have personally put myself into situations like this in different arenas, sometimes with a very similar result. The reality that reality would not change, and I could not simply extend or reform the inevitable, came to fruition in the least comfortable ways.
Pain, the reality that things need to change, or major discomfort caused by a decision not made, drives the rest of us. Even dormancy or stagnation can cause this pain, and once felt, inspires people to move.
Are you a success or a pain person?
Just look back at your last major change if that helps you consider which one you lean towards. It could be perceived as the difference between foresight and procrastination, but I believe it is much more complex than that. It can come down to whether you look forward to completion, a new start, or helping to save something.
If you need help with discussing your motivation and terms of success, personally or as an organization, I would love to talk with you!