Purpose-Driven Motivation

Motivation comes in many forms. It can be fleeting or consuming or inspiring. And the two key factors that determine how motivation manifests are how well defined and how flexible your objectives are, as illustrated in the following diagram:

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Choice-Driven Motivation is based on well defined and inflexible parameters. For example, you might have a craving for a specific meal at your favourite restaurant. You may have a heightened sense of excitement and be very focused on getting to that restaurant to enjoy that meal, but once you've satisfied that urge, your motivation is completely diminished. You get a quick fix of pleasure, but your sense of motivation is very short-lived.

A career-oriented example of choice-driven motivation from the financial services sector is, "I want to be a wealth advisor at RBC." Okay, so you make it happen - you become an advisor at RBC. Now what? How will this guide you and keep you motivated?

Choice-Driven Motivation keeps you focused on tactical and unfulfilling initiatives, and reinforces feelings of “the grind”. Its very nature limits any connection with long-term pursuits that promote business health and personal joy.

Goal-Driven Motivation is probably the most common type we encounter both in our personal and in our business lives. It is based on poorly defined and flexible parameters. If we continue with the food example, above, goal-driven motivation would show up as simply wanting a meal. You don't really care what you eat (flexible), you just want some food (undefined).

This leads to impulsive decisions, such as driving around until you finally find a restaurant whose offering piques your interest in that moment. No planning. No intention. Just a meal that you happen across. It satisfies your hunger for the moment, and you know you will be hungry again tomorrow, and you'll deal with that when the time comes.

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A career-oriented example of goal-driven motivation is, "I want to work in the financial sector." This is so broad that any role with any company would satisfy this desire, and you risk taking whatever comes along and moving to whatever you think might be the next best thing when an opportunity presents itself.

Goal-driven motivation is also short-term in nature; however, unlike the fleeting nature of choice-driven motivation, it tends to consume a fair bit of your time and attention as you sift through the choices that are available to you.

Making a decision in this scenario can be overwhelming and energy draining, and many situations we encounter in business present themselves in just this way. Setting and pursuing goals is an important part of moving initiatives forward, and it provides the satisfaction associated with achieving milestones, but it doesn't provide a framework for making decisions regarding the longer-term direction of your business.

Purpose-Driven Motivation is based on defined and flexible parameters. For example (again, following from above), if you decide to live healthfully, your decisions around meals will be guided by criteria that help you make good choices that support your longer term objectives. This results in a sense of fulfillment which reinforces and anchors your commitment. It inspires the actions that are aligned with where you want to go.

A career-oriented example of purpose-driven motivation is, "I help people be comfortable in retirement." This 'purpose' provides a very broad opportunity (flexible) to help focus your work on a specific aspect of wealth management (defined).

It is this type of motivation that will drive your business forward over time. Decisions are much easier to make when they are informed by a greater purpose, and this is also a critical part of ensuring that your actions are consistently aligned with your long term vision for your business.

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So, as you consider your own business, how much of your decision making is driven by goals and how much is driven by purpose? Keep in mind that your goal-driven decisions will provide short-term pleasure, but it is your purpose-driven decisions that will bring you a longer term sense of fulfilment and happiness.

Take the time to get clear on what you want from your business in the longer term and reap the benefits that come through purpose-driven motivation.

To your Success, Differently!
   - Brian