June 2011 Newsletter

Myth: More Money=More Motivation

june enewsletter

Remember when you got your very first paycheck? Sure, maybe you had an allowance, or some cash from babysitting or lawn mowing, but there was something almost magical about getting an actual paycheck. You had finally become a member of that elite club: the workforce.

At fourteen or fifteen, we couldn’t imagine giving up our long, lazy summer days and weekends. By sixteen, however, most of us willingly traded it all for a summer schedule dictated by the needs of a company. Why? A paycheck. Making more money made us incredibly motivated about work. And now that we’ve been in the workforce for years, the same is true, right? Wrong!

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying money doesn’t matter. We all have to pay bills and, in that sense, money will always be one of the drivers that gets us into the office each day. But whether or not money is an incentive for going to work has very little to do with the belief that money is what makes us motivated about doing our work.

“If I only made more money I’d be more motivated.” I can’t tell you how many times I hear that from frustrated employees. And yet, what they don’t realize is that this limiting belief is what keeps them stuck right where they are. Why? Because it causes them to be distracted about what could be rather than engaged in improving what really is; it drives them to chase jobs based upon their salary rather than their strengths; and it connects their personal “value” to a company’s bottom line rather than a core understanding of self-worth.

Money may cause a temporary bump in motivation, but it’s really motivation that leads to making more money.

Some have argued that putting motivation first makes the difference between having a job and building a career. I would agree. For me, personally, it meant the difference between starting a business and building a company. In the beginning, I was driven by very specific revenue goals. I ran myself ragged, managed to make more money each year and met my goals. But now, five years later, I’m realizing that being motivated to earn more and more money is actually keeping me stuck at this revenue level. In order to move forward and get where I want to be financially, I have to stop being motivated by making money (the external) and start getting back in touch with what really motivates me (the inside). And I have to tell you, letting go of money as the main driver of my future success is scary. But in order to grow, I knew I had to move beyond my fear. How can you?
Ignore the numbers on your paycheck and get in touch with your real “value.”

You may feel you have no time to do this. Or, quite frankly, you may not make the time because you’re afraid that what you find will mean you have to make a change. It takes courage to look inside. But unless you start getting in touch with why you value yourself, what drives you and whether or not those things are aligned with the work you do, I can guarantee that you will continue to stay stuck working to get paid rather than getting paid for your work.

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