What’s My Motivation?

You have heard that line before, probably in a performing arts setting as actors work to figure out the energy that is needed to deliver their lines and do whatever they have to do to create a believable scene and character. Have you ever considered your motivation for doing what you do every day? What gets you to push the rock up the hill?

I hope that your motivation is more compelling and energizing than mere survival. If you are driven to pay the rent and keep food on the table and nothing more, it’s time to consider alternatives. Why? Because if you find something that you love doing, you will do it better, faster and with more stamina than if you have to drag yourself through an experience you hate.

I will share a personal experience to make the point. I served as a Store Team Leader for Target, and I had the opportunity to be the person responsible for opening the new store in the South Bronx in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. This meant long hours, an insane commute (70 miles each way) and working in an environment that was radically different than anywhere else I had ever worked. Why did I do it? Yes, money was part of it, but was not the only motivator. I also saw it as an opportunity to do something special, working with a talented leadership team to build a business that employed hundreds of people (if you want to see what that looked like, click here) and that brought quality products and services to an area that was disturbingly underserved by retailers. We made a difference in the South Bronx community. It counted.

So what’s your motivation? Why do you get up every day and do what you do? Is it to be the best in your department or field? Is it to help others? Is it to earn the respect of industry peers and competitors? If you can’t answer the question easily, take some time to do so. Turn off your gadgets, get away from your desk, and sit down with a paper and pen and write down the things that give you the energy to perform. I enjoy helping others identify their talents and accomplishments so that they can grow in their careers. My energy is directed towards activities that make that happen. What about you?

Identify your motivation and use it to deliver the performance of your life every day.


Where is Your Media Coverage?

The Super Bowl is behind us (congratulations, Green Bay) and pitchers and catchers report for spring training in five days. For those who are struggling to get through this endless winter – and who isn’t? – this is welcome news, indeed. Let’s stay with the sports theme and think about your career in this context. Think about some of the biggest headlines in sports, and you realize that they often focus on money. Player “X” is getting “Y” millions of dollars for “Z” years. The bigger the paycheck, the bigger the headlines.

Why do these players get such huge paychecks? Because they have proven themselves with performance when it counts, top players are in limited supply, and their new teams see that the benefit they bring is worth more than the money that they will have to pay. It’s really that simple. And the same thing applies to you. What’s the biggest difference between you and Derek Jeter? OK, there are many, but one difference is that he has sportswriters and other media watching his every move and statisticians and their computers tracking his performance. You have you.

So what are you going to do to ensure that you get the big contract from the best team when you make your next move? One thing is to ensure that your performance is documented and reported so that your next employer will see you as someone worth more than the paycheck. Be your own reporter. Keep a log. Create a journal. Instead of another round of Angry Birds, use your phone to update a notes file about your day’s accomplishments. And don’t forget to be specific.

Which sounds better?

“Aaron Rodgers reported to work every day and played his position as Quarterback.”


Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl XLV in commanding fashion, taking the lead early and never looking back.”

The second statement sounds a lot more exciting, doesn’t it.

How about this?

“Managed team of 10 customer service representatives to service inbound calls from customers.”


“Improved customer satisfaction scores by 17% in six months by training, developing and leading the best customer service team of 10 representatives to President’s Club award.”

You get the idea, right? The problem is that many people don’t take the time to record these accomplishments. Be your own ESPN, New York Times and agent all rolled into one. Challenge yourself to perform better, deliver results and record your accomplishments. Only good things can happen, like getting a good performance review and a raise or maybe landing the fat contract with that best company in your field. Go for it!