Knowing what drives you to succeed is a powerful tool to have in your self-development arsenal. When you know what motivates you, you can seek out that driving force when you just don’t feel like taking another step.


Motivators are factors in your life that drive you to succeed and are not fleeting. They are things that provide you with a deep sense that you must continue on the path toward your goals.


Although perceived as a great motivator, money is actually rated very low in many employee surveys. That’s because money doesn’t make you feel good long-term. Having extra money makes you excited for a little while, like when you find a $20 in last season’s coat pocket, but then you spend it, and the feeling is gone.


Perhaps you think you are motivated by money. Consider what it is about having money is actually motivating you. It is more likely that your motivation is a sense of security: having savings for emergencies or retirement; knowing you can pay the bills month to month; paying off a debt or mortgage.


Are you motivated by being part of a group or club? Being part of a group of people who share the same interests and from whom you can learn something can be a fantastic motivator. The sense of community and belonging may motivate you to join other special interest groups, or want to do more for others and inspire you to volunteer at charity events.


Many people are motivated by recognition, whether they are recognized in big ways or small ones, from the boss emailing the whole company to congratulate you on a job well done, to a co-worker telling you how impressed they were with your work on a project. It is often the quieter forms of recognition that we receive each day that mean more, and are most often overlooked, like when your family tells you what a fabulous dinner you made, or your child thanks you for reading them a story. Try to be more aware of the simple recognition in your daily life, both in what you receive as well as that which you give.


Accomplishment is also a great motivator. That sense that you have completed something and can say ‘I did it!’ Maybe it’s the mental challenge of the morning crossword in the newspaper, or committing to taking a walk every day and actually doing it.  It’s that wonderful sensation that you showed yourself (and possibly the world) that you could do it, that makes you want to complete other tasks and goals.


There is a strong motivator out there that has to be treated rather cautiously: competition. Too often the drive to be the top salesperson at your firm, or having the best bowling score can become an obsession, and you lose sight of the truly important things in your life. If competition is your biggest motivator, you likely find subtle and not so subtle was to make everything a game where there is a clear winner. Be careful of this motivator! Do not be sucked into the belief that you are nothing if you aren’t the best, or that the only outcome of not winning is losing.


All of these motivators create those lasting ‘feel good’ vibes. When you start to feel defeated and like you don’t know why you are trying to do something, tap into your motivators to get you back on track.


What gets you off the proverbial couch and moving in the direction of your goals?

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