What motivates you? What makes you strive to do better? Why are our motivational factors so different?
Psychology.About.com defines motivation as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Without motivation, we would not act on any of our desires, whether career oriented, family oriented or a basic human need. There are three major components when looking at the process of motivation.
Activation involves the decision making process to initiate a behavior. It is the first thought in the process, for example, joining a gym or attending a class. Persistence is necessary to carry us through the process of attaining the goal. There will be setbacks that we will encounter along the way but our drive will navigate us through these obstacles. Intensity is the amount of effort necessary to reach our end result. This can be different for each person depending on how easily you journey to your goal.
When looking at what motivates us, we can categorize these factors as pull factors or push factors. A pull factor is the internal desire to accomplish something, our need for independence and our availability of the finances to attain our goal. Push factors are more likely external factors such as a change in marital status (death or divorce), a need to better finances and the responsibilities we have to our families.
I spoke with a few women to get their take on what motivates them. A mother who works full-time in the office of admissions and records at the local university is motivated by the accomplishments of others. She guides students through their courses as they work towards their degree aspirations. As she posts the degrees at the end of each term, she reflects on the efforts and hardships they may have suffered along the way to attain this goal.
A retired high school english teacher and mother enjoyed making an impression on young students and then seeing their successes in the community for years to come. The interaction with other colleagues met her need for creative and intellectual stimulation, which reflected on her students.
A child development professor found that an experience of confusion and eventual understanding of a child’s unusual behavior is what motivated her to focus on understanding a child’s early years. The relationship between childhood experiences and a future of health and wellness is the first step in addressing behavioral issues. She found that by conducting research and working to educate parents and caregivers, her relationship with children has always been nurturing and positive.
Family is the main motivating factor for another women. She was lucky enough to stay home when the children were small but as they grew and her husband’s career moved them all over the country, she found jobs that would accommodate her desire to be there for her family. Her education in journalism and public relations gave her the opportunity to experience multiple fields throughout her career.
Each of these women are motivated by different factors. Each had to make the decision that was right for her and her family. Motivational factors may change over time but it’s important to enjoy each day and feel a sense of accomplishment.
What motivates you? Please share your thoughts.