Life Motivation - Part 2
Welcome back to the second part of my discussion about Life Motivation. If you haven't read that article, I suggest you read that one first and then come back to this one.
Last time, I talked about writing your own obituary. Yeah, that might seem a bit unusual or even extreme. But I figured I’d start with the most drastic experiment to get you to wake up and start looking at your life from a new perspective. Some people experience a radical change in how they view their lives when they use a living obituary. But not everyone; in fact, most people change their perspective, but it's not a life altering thing. And that’s completely okay. My goal isn't to change your life. My goal is to help you identify what your purpose in life is. Don’t worry, the rest of this won’t be nearly as uncomfortable. If fact, I’ll be using myself as an example going forward. I didn’t in the first exercise because I wanted you to work from a blank slate without any influence from my thoughts or opinions.
So, now let's look at another tool to help you determine your personal motivation is.
What gets your engine running?
Everyone has topics that energize them. I'm not talking about your "hot buttons" that trigger your temper. This isn’t about getting angry. It’s actually what makes you happiest.The question is, what makes you feel the most alive? There are times when you can be completely swamped and working incredibly hard with no time to rest. But at the end of the day, you feel better than if you had just spent a day on vacation.
Let me give you an example. This is my personal experience, so I don't expect yours to match. But I think this is the best way to illustrate my point.
In high school, I was frequently asked by other students to help them with their homework. My junior year, I was a teacher's aide for ROTC due to my other electives. I was helping teach freshmen how to march and similar activities. A few years later, working at a fast food restaurant, I got picked as the one to train new hires. More years later, after college, I was hired as a manager. My favorite part of the job was helping my team build their skills, not managing their attendance, performance, or department staffing. But spending time with each one helping them become better and more successful than they were before we started.
After working for about a year in that position, I realized my purpose. I am most alive when I am helping other people become better. I didn't say teaching. I said helping people become better. That is a big difference. Yes, I enjoy teaching. But not because I want to be the expert imparting my knowledge. No, that's not it. What makes me most alive is when someone becomes BETTER because of something I did. I enjoy helping a child learn to use their new phone just as much as I enjoy helping experienced business professionals learn how to be better managers.
What are your Outstanding Memories?
See how that worked? I listed several events that I lived through. It was after doing that myself that I realized the common thread. So that's what I'm asking you to do. Think back over your life, try to think about the times you felt good. Think about the times that you went to bed feeling like you had just had a great day, even if you were super tired.
Now write down those times. Try to describe them in terms of actions and feelings. What actions did you perform? What emotions did you feel during or after?
Next, try to find a common thread. If you can't find one, try grouping similar events. There may be several purposes, not just one. In that case, reorganizing and reordering them might help you identify the ones that are similar and find those common purposes.
Once you identify your life purpose, aligning your job and actions will make a drastic change in how motivated your life feels.
Take some time, do this more than once if you need to. Sometimes doing something after a few days have gone by will drastically alter how you see or think about it. this isn't a simple exercise to try and forget. This is a tool to help you navigate through all the distractions and see what truly makes you tick. Good luck and I hope you find a new sense of purpose.
So far, we've thought about what we want our legacy to be through writing an obituary. Now we've taken an inventory of the enjoyable, memorable activities in our lives to see what really gets us involved and enthused. Hopefully you are beginning to see some aspects of your Life Motivation.
Don't worry if things haven't jumped out at you. We are taught throughout our lives what society expects us to be. We start out as a child with a fully active imagination and full of creativity. But after years in a restrictive and very structured school environment, we are trained to follow directions, go with the flow and not make waves. This might make society function better in the big picture, but it makes it very hard for us to keep a firm grasp on what WE are really born to do. So it can take time to reconnect with our innermost drives and feelings. That's one reason I suggest taking your time doing these activities and after a few days revisiting them to see what might have changed.
Next time I'll be presenting another exercise to help you identify your Life Motivation. Until then, here's a question to ponder: Who were your Role Models when you were young?