Motivation means focus

One of my favorite books is called A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and in it he says, “If you want your life to have impact, focus it!  Stop dabbling.  Stop trying to do it all.  Do less.  Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most.  Never confuse activity with productivity.”  Do you see how much more there is other than these words?  Short, impactful sentences, and then pointing out exactly what we all need to consider – are we just going through the motions, or are we truly being productive with our time

Think about your favorite game.  If you’re competitive do you think about taking your time before owning the most property, getting to the finish line first, or putting someone back to home while you cruise around the board?  At the same time, do you also consider how impactful the game will be if you make it so the other’s don’t have fun playing the game with you?  Of course, because we want to have fun, and for others to have fun with us.

If you think about it, although we’re all driven to win, we don’t want to cause others to be impacted negatively by our actions – at least you shouldn’t.

Think about it this way.  You have a professional or personal goal, and are motivated to make it happen.  You work so hard, that other’s feel motivated as they see you achieving more and want to ride on that same wave.  One day they ask if you want to hang out, but you can’t because you don’t have time.  Then your BFF asks if he can get some ideas on how he can be successful, and you reply you’d be happy to when you have time.  Some may think this is perfectly appropriate behavior, and they should understand.  This is your time – go for it!  Go for what?  To the extent it will cost you relationships?

We need to learn that being active, does not make us “productive”.  We will lose what matters most by acting in this fashion.  Motivation is driven by attitude – a positive attitude.  Motivation when used appropriately becomes a form of energy that feeds on itself.  It does not require going somewhere for more fuel, the fuel will come to it.  Motivation causes small groups to become organizations.

The next step as you work towards your goal is to consider not only how you achieve the goal, but how you influence others.  I would rather be a part of something upbeat, energetic, and positive.  I don’t know too many who want to get to the finish line, and find out they ran the race alone.


Motivated by the heart

When I was a young man, I remember driving by my dad’s store late one night. I saw a car in the parking lot, which was odd for the small town, especially that late at night. Being young and thinking I was invincible, I decided I would just pull in and make sure everything was alright.

When I checked out the car, it was empty. So of course I decided to check the store. I noticed that a panel had been popped out so that someone could climb into the area and allow them into the store through the ceiling. Again, thinking all I would have to do is use my power ring to fight off any bad guy, best if I investigate.

No fear. No care in the world except to make sure that my family’s property was safe. Motivated to protect. I could have driven to the sheriff’s office about a mile down the road – this was pre cell phone, so calling was not an option. I could have just waited to see if anyone came out. I didn’t though, because in all of us is a strong desire to assure that all will be right in the world.

Imagine that as you work towards a goal, and something delays your progress, the motivation to succeed would be equal to that of protecting a a family member or staying with a neighbor in distress until help could come. Why is it that the motivation to help another is stronger than to help oneself? Because of heart. Because the hormones go into high gear when we feel the need to help, protect, care for others.

What if you could package that same drive, and use it on yourself when you become discouraged and less motivated? Here are some ideas to help manifest that same energy when you do need encouragement:

1. Keep books that motivate you in your home and office.

2. Have family and friends that you know are there to support you, ready to take that call when needed.

3. Take time for yourself to re-think about the situation, doing everything you can to find the positives in it, and getting rid of the negatives.

Just as you are driven to be there for others when in need, surround yourself with like minded friends. I have a great group of friends I can do that with, and a BFF that is available 24/7.

As for the store, I also believe that my next move was the smartest. I rattled the door which set of an alarm, and then waited for the Calvary to arrive. I may have been afraid – a little – but if it means doing the right thing, I will do it everytime. Motivation is a drive, and sometimes you may be afraid of what is necessary to achieve the goal, but how bad do you want it?

Motivation is a kindred spirit

Emerson Quote

I had the privilege to work with a gentleman many years ago.  I also had the unfortunate job of explaining to him that his physician was suggesting hospice care.  I know you may be thinking to yourself, “How is this going to motivate me?”  Take a moment though and think to yourself about how you reacted when the unforeseen happened.  Maybe you were laid off, or  you were involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.   At the moment this happens, just like the gentleman that finds out he has an incurable disease, we all have choices to make.  I believe what he taught me about the spirit within each of us and how it can be a driving force, will do more than motivate you.

After explaining what hospice was, that his doctor believed he had about six months to live, and how it could benefit him, he thanked me and told me he’d have to pass.  You see he was a pastor who had already committed to teaching a college course and marrying a young couple.  You might think, well why should that be an issue, after all he has six months.  The problem is that this was May and the course was for the upcoming Fall and Winter courses, and the couple wanted to be married the following March.

As he told me these things, you could see that he had no intention to consider his own life or months that he may have.  He was focused on the goals he had committed to.  You could hear it in his voice.  You could see it in his eyes. You could feel it when you met with him.  His goals were going to be met!

I offered to support him while on hospice, to do what I could for clinical and emotional support, at which time he agreed so long as we spent time talking about how he would meet his commitments and nothing else – unless he brought it up.  He then rallied his family and friends together to be the cheerleaders and support needed – if needed.

He and I worked through several hurdles in order for him to make his commitments.  We were able to convince the college to move the small class he had to his basement for meetings, and all of the students were happy to do so.  He also needed oxygen by the time he was to marry the young couple, and a microphone as his voice was more coarse due to the cancer.

Every goal that we set for ourselves will have hurdles.  Some of the hurdles may be apparent as soon an you set a goal.  However we need to remember that attaining our goals is a journey.  The key to success in goal achievement is to recognize it, and plan ahead to overcome it.  Depending on the goal, like every goal that is important to us, there will need to be sacrifice.  The end result is something no one can ever understand though until they achieve it as well.

After supporting the patient for a year – one year to the day he signed onto hospice – I received a call and went to his home.  He had attained all of his goals, and quite possibly one that he didn’t really consider.  “…Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Matthew 25:21 in the bible seems appropriate as he was a pastor.

We all have choices, and when hurdles, fears, the unplanned happens – stay focused.  Rally the cheerleaders in your life.  Get up and keep moving.   Show others how important this goal is to you.  “Motivation is a fire from within.  If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” (Stephen R. Covey).  What do you want to achieve?  What will you achieve?  Do you believe it?  Make it happen!!



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