This question is directed to you. Yes I know we have people around us that we are sometimes charged with helping to motivate. My premise is that if we ask and answer this question first for ourselves it may be easier to ask the question to others. So What Motivates You? Is it time, money, fame, freedom or promotion? Perhaps there are other things that motivate you. What is motivation? Let’s define it as some stimulus that causes one to do something. We often talk about motivation as something that has a positive connotation. Motivation can be perceived as positive or negative depending on one’s perspective. We have seen cases were animals are motivated by deprivation. Deprive an animal of water or food and they will be motivated to perform when offered food or water. Service people are motivated to work harder and with more vigor when they know they are soon to be furloughed to visit their loved ones. Athletes push themselves beyond their known limits when their goal is just within reach. Conversely a store clerk will readily turn over the keys to the safe when confronted by a potential burglar wielding a weapon. In the absence of deprivation and the threat of bodily harm, what motivates you? Have you ever banged your head against a wall trying to figure out what motivates the people around you? Typically we are concerned about people’s motivation because we want them to perform whether it’s to do their job with more passion or successfully complete an exam. Even when our interest in another’s performance is altruistic, just wanting it for their own good, we often struggle when we see people that appear to be “un”-motivated. This still doesn’t answer the question – what motivates you? Have you ever banged your head against a wall trying to figure out what motivates you? Here’s the thing: only you know what will motivate you. Others may make attempts to determine your motivators but only you know what really works. What do you need, what do you want and what are you willing to do to acquire those things? For example, I want to impress the site visitors so I will work really long hours and run my staff ragged to ensure the best possible chance they will be impressed. The motivator for me is having the site visitors impressed. What I am willing to do is push hard to get things up to the standard I believe will be impressive. Here’s another example: I am in need of more money to support the growing needs of my life. In order to get more money I will get certifications that will increase my chance of promotion and greater income. What motivates you and I will most likely vary based on our current needs. So once we understand what our wants and motivations are it’s easier to appreciate how the motivation of others may vary. Do you want to know what motivates others? Ask them! Ask people what they need, what they want and then what they are willing to do to achieve it. Some may come out and tell you directly but others may not. Allow me to repeat myself - motivators will vary with individuals. Some are motivated by money, others are motivated by opportunity for advancement and others are motivated by educational opportunities. Making assumptions only leaves us frustrated. Motivators will change as our needs and wants change. Taking the time to find out what you and your people want will greatly improve your ability to stay motivated and empower others to do the same.