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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Photo Credit:  DeduloPhotos from
What motivates us?  In our uniqueness, each of us is motivated differently.   We have varying views, values, priorities, needs, interests, and concerns.  The most motivating people in this world can encourage and convince us that a proposed action will result in something meaningful to us and that the effort required is worth it.

People naturally talk about what they're interested in and what motivates them, if we'll just take the time to listen.  A review of the research of Frederick Herzberg indicates that the top 5 leading motivators in the work place are:

1.    Achievement (accomplishment and a sense of contribution)
2.    Recognition (support, praise, respect)
3.    The work itself (meaningful, stimulating, fulfilling)
4.    Responsibility (and advancement)
5.    Creativity and growth (learning and giving of oneself to others)

Doing some further research, I found that fear can also be a strong motivator, if we refuse to let it be a hindrance.  In an article by Ashley Arcel, she indicated that we fear change, uncertainty, and unfamiliar territory.  But, she said that fear hides all the really good stuff in life.  “All of the exciting next steps and the big life changes are crouching behind some amount of fear, no matter how small.  We will never find out what life has in store for us if we don’t learn to walk through the fear.”

Arcel listed five great reasons to feel the fear and move forward anyway:
  1. Fear means something important is about to happen.  The presence of fear often means that something is about to change, and with change comes opportunity.
  2. Embracing fear means embracing growth.  If we aren’t afraid, at least some of the time, then we aren’t learning.
  3. Even if you fail, you’ll be happy you tried.  Sometimes you have to jump and build your wings on the way down.  Well, sometimes the wings don’t come in all the way, they aren’t quite big enough, or they don’t show up at all, and you hit the ground a little harder than you anticipated.  But, hey, now that you’re down here on the ground, you can head off in any direction you choose.
  4. Fear happens; it’s a good idea to make friends with it.  So, sit down with fear.  Get to know it.  Take it out for a cup of coffee, and find out where it came from. You don’t have to love it, but it’ll do you good to understand it.
  5. Every time you overcome fear, you are stronger.  When we look back on the most exciting and growth-filled periods of our lives, we can see that they were also some of the most terrifying.  When we walk through our fears rather than run from them, it is impossible not to emerge as a stronger person. 

Speaking of fear, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the following story from my cousin’s wife, Donna.  She sent this text to me recently and I just had to share:

My son was running a warm-up lap on the track after school while getting ready for soccer.  I see him come tearing down the back stretch and I’m thinking, “Darn, what lit a fire under him?!”  It wasn’t an ordinary warm-up lap by any means.  As he gets closer, there is a guy behind him yelling, “Go faster!  Kick it in!”

After soccer, this same man asks me if my son runs track.  I said he hadn’t yet.  He said, “Well, I used to coach track and I can recognize a runner.  That kid is a runner.  He needs to do track.” 

We get in the car and I tell my son, “See there.  That man said you need to run track.”  My son responds, “Yeah, but I was running for my life.  I thought that guy was trying to kidnap me!  I was NOT going to let him catch me!” 

Sooooo, fear CAN be a motivator…to run like the wind!  Ha!  Poor little guy!

And, honestly, this next story from Mikey is too cute not to share.  We’ll just say it’s about motivation to work (or not to work):

A farmer and his recently hired hand were eating an early breakfast of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee that the farmer's wife had prepared for them.  Thinking of all the work they had to get done that day, the farmer told the hired man he might as well go ahead and eat his lunch too.

The hired man didn't say a word, but filled his plate a second time and proceeded to eat.  After awhile, the farmer said, "We've got so much work to do today, you might as well eat your supper now too."

Again, the hired man didn't respond, but refilled his plate a third time and continued to eat. Finally, after eating his third plate of food, the hired man pushed back his chair and began to take off his shoes.

"What are you doing!?” the farmer asked.

The hired man replied, "I don't work after supper."

Motivation.  Some of us are natural motivators.  Some of us need motivating.  We need each other.  Let’s make our plans and set our goals, but let us also anticipate bumps along the way.  When we need extra motivation, let’s open up and share our intentions with others.  Father Bentil always says, “A problem shared is half-solved.”  I believe it!

We all need someone or something to keep us motivated at times.  Let’s keep our greatest, most authentic supporters close in heart so that we can lean on each other.  God gave us special friends and family members to be our support beams in this life.  We need vertical beams (God) and we need horizontal beams (others) for our strength and motivation.  Let’s remember to treasure the gift of each other.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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