I have had some challenging times in the last couple of weeks with individuals, organisations and projects.  A lot of the challenges have centred around my motivation being very different to partners or individuals that I have been working with. This source of conflict I believe is at the source of why certain people click when working together and others do not.

In terms of expanding on this point, I will work through what I believe are the two sources of motivation that individuals are driven by.  They are:

  1. Extrinsic motivation. This is motivation driven by external sources.  What people think, being part of the cool club, status, ego, hierarchy, money, title or external validation.  That is, what people think, have and focussing external to themselves which takes away from what is important to them as they are very reliant on validation from others, things or circumstances or events outside of their control.
  2. Intrinsic motivation. This is motivation driven from internal sources.  The drive to improve, learn, grow, work with great people, projects.  The ability to have a positive impact, leave a legacy through getting better every day.  This drive comes from within with very little focus on what other people think driving what they do.  Their focus is on pursuing excellence and daily improvements which leads to them achieving success in all areas of their lives.

The source of motivation and how it drives us play out in various forms.  You have some people that you work with that are motivated by the almighty dollar.  This drives everything they do including not so positive passive and aggressive behaviours.  You also tend to see this also play out in worry and stress where people can become fixated on playing the political game, keeping others happy or driving themselves towards something unattainable in having the perfect life.  The problem with this source of motivation is that you will never be happy or fulfilled because the yearning for satisfaction comes from outside of you.   Because of this, your cup cannot be filled nor can your thirst for validation be quenched.   This is draining and tends to literally suck the energy out of you.

If you contrast the opposite, working with people that are driven from within is amazing.  Sharing a journey together including the ups and downs, working collaboratively to achieve great outcomes, helping clients have an impact right through to working together for win/win outcomes.  These people are rare but gold.  They put their energy in to getting better every day not because they need to prove anything to others but because their satisfaction comes from within.

The events of the last couple of weeks have confirmed for me that mixing with these two sources of motivation is like trying to combine water and oil.  It won’t happen.  Nor will it be good for both parties as the opposite camps don’t get each other.  Those driven by external motivation simply cannot get that others are not driven by money, title or status.  The camp driven from intrinsic motivation can recall what it was like to be driven by external sources but have crossed the bridge to satisfaction and having nothing to prove to others.

Have you crossed this bridge?  For me, it is a bridge that a select few pass over and the difference in their satisfaction is noticeable.  I will write another blog in the coming weeks on how to pass over this bridge but in the meantime ask yourself the tough question around where your motivation is coming from.