Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Mountain Top

I gave a speech at the wedding of a misunderstood friend. Some had questioned why this renegade was settling down. I explained that freedom is defined not by what you are running from but by what you are running to. As we grow up, the things we once feared become the very things that drive us: love, responsibility and an extended tribe. I heard Jesse Ventura say that he embraced being Governor with the ethos, "If not me then who". My friend grew up to be a great husband and father and the aforementioned professional wrestler ran the state of Minnesota in honorable fashion. Motivation is the process of what you do with your energy....eventually we all discover that it takes the same degree of energy to run from that it does to run to. In the time you waste avoiding your life's goals you could have achieved them.

Entitlement and Accountability are rival terms that strike us with the same degree of uncertainty. People don't like to be accountable to results...the connotation is motivation by fear. The aforementioned group may also be deemed entitled by seeking recognition for their every effort. We navigate a the tightrope of giving unto ourselves what we feel we deserve (entitlement). We also take a breath when the checklist is complete (accountability). In reality, neither of the previously mentioned forms of motivation are genuine. Short term effort for quick fix results do not serve to improve your personal process. Getting something done just to check it off a list is a means for senseless channeling of effort.

The real challenge should be to find that which you genuinely believe in, to ensure your every effort benefits what is truly important. Purpose, Constitution, and an ever-ascending Mountain Top - these things give a more grandiose reason to wake up in the morning.

In his book "Delivering Happiness", Tony Hsieh explores his path to success: Purpose, Passion and Profits. Tony advises that we find the thing we believe in and to pursue it with unflappable intent. If you genuinely care about a cause, the money comes naturally. Conversely, if money is all that drives you, you will never be satisfied.

Purpose is the foundation of decision making. With every idea you have, every partnership you pursue, every person you invite into your life; the question of matching intent should be explored. Are you presenting to your team because you believe in a new directive or do you just want to prove your worth? Are you courting that large company because they are a good partner for your organization or do you just want to prove you can close a large deal? Is that new friend really someone you enjoy being around or do you want something they have?

Last week we laughed at the idea of terms like Integrity and Accountability being company core values.
These terms seemed a little too high and mighty to be business terms. Constitution might be a more appropriate term in describing your personal motivation.

What is at the core of you and are you able to make it part of your professional life?

Do you enjoy serving the people you work for? Do you believe in your products and services? Are you empowered to mention if you feel otherwise? Are there parts of your Saturday in your Monday?

The Ever-Ascending Mountain Top
Entitlement comes from our intrinsic human need to have our effort rewarded. After the hunt we want food to bring back to camp. You work out to earn a burger. You hustle through the morning shift to earn a smoke break. This transactional motivation does nothing but fulfill short term checks and balances. It's a push/pull existence with only 2 certainties: a pay check & death!

What if with every achievement you sought not a pat on the back but more responsibility? What if the end result was not a conclusion but a new beginning? What if you quit smoking and gave up greasy food because the diminishing returns left you feeling purposeless.

I left you with a lot to ponder. I sit beside you in digesting these thoughts. It is very difficult not to get caught up in the rat race....to perform, receive praise and assume you have the appropriate direction. We all ponder the valued time we have on this earth and if any of it means anything. Next time you ponder your existence, do something about it.

You owe it to yourself to maximize every opportunity before you with your fullest effort and genuine intent. You should be empowered to ignore the insignificant. Your every action should be set in motion by your place in the sun surrounded by those who matter to you. Once you start climbing the mountain you will be surprised how much stamina you possess!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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