What Motivates Me

We all need money to make a living.  I have bills to pay and I am blessed that I have never had to default on my bills (despite difficult times).  I have my personal preferences for brands - I do not buy a lot but I like to buy nice things: brand name sunglasses and perfume.  I even have a side hustle (more on that later!) where I have a lot of fun making a little extra money.

But money is not what motivates me.  In most instances, for me money is the necessity to make a living.  I am economical, easy to please and good at managing my resources.  My entire living room is furnished with hand me down furniture that I mixed and matched to make a comfy home.  I buy my jeans and dresses on eBay.  I cook at home.  I live simply and therefore do not require a ton of money to make a happy life.

In the workplace, leaders are always trying to find ways to motivate their employees and for many people tangible incentives and money are the primary motivators.  When budgets are tight, that is difficult to manage because inspiring people through intrinsic motivators can be tough when they are used to or prefer the tangibles.

This is perhaps what makes me so difficult for people to understand.  I do place a certain value on my education, experience and aptitude; economically, I believe this combination warrants a certain minimum level of compensation in order for it to make sense.  But what I truly value, what motivates me, is being trusted with meaningful work, and being recognized for a job well done.

I recognize that when higher level leaders are looking at their teams that maybe I am difficult to analyze.  I become dissatisfied not when overworked, but rather when not entrusted with meaningful work, when left to become bored or when I am not recognized for what I have accomplished.  Furthermore, I become frustrated knowing that I openly communicate what motivates me and what is important to me and those needs are still not met.

I find it immensely rewarding to be trusted with a function, project or team and enabled to manage it without interference and then rewarded with a simple "well done" at the end.  Recently, I received a message of simple but heartfelt praise from a corporate leader where I work and that meant more to me than the raise I got this year.

The simplicity of it, combined with the fact that it costs absolutely nothing to do, is what creates such intense misery and low morale within me when it does not occur.  As a leader, I understand this and I am mindful to celebrate all of my team's wins, big and small.