Find and Foster Your Motivators

In January, I began a long journey toward receiving my MBA part-time. I am three-and-half years out of my undergrad, and I was eager to get back in the classroom to start thinking a bit more broadly. The last three years have been fun; I was mostly heads down learning a valuable marketing skill – SEO. Now, I get a chance to take a step back.

On Saturday last week, I took an all day course called, Managing Career Growth and got a ton of value from it. The first part was spent reflecting on skills, motivators, and values. I had the most fun thinking through what motivates me.

The benefit to knowing what motivates you is you can work to facilitate an environment where what motivates exists or when looking for a new job, you can make sure some or all of your motivators are present within the new team.

Here are my most important:


  • Execution: To me, execution is moving on the strategy you set forth with a series of tactics. I played a lot of sports growing up and was exposed to execution early. I am motivated to execute because I believe it is productive way to know if what you are doing works. It is also fun to share work I do with the rest of the world.
  • Recognition: The first company I worked for was really good at this. It was instilled in the culture to recognize those who did a good job either publicly or privately. Every Friday, there was an email chain that blew up where people would give shout outs to others who helped them that week. It is motivating to hear from someone else that I did a good job on something. Of course, this can get overdone, so it is important to strike a balance. If recognition occurs too often, it probably becomes less of a motivator.
  • Small Group Collaboration: I learned this one recently. I am motivated working in teams of 2 to 6 people on a specific objective. It can be fun and rewarding to focus on one thing with a group.
  • Helping Others: Right now, I do not make as much time for this in my professional career, which could change as I progress. Sharing, teaching, or assisting others is rewarding. It is something I make time for in my personal life.
  • Getting Mentor / Coached: I had super helpful coaches and mentors growing up. I remember around fifteen years old, I got a writing coach. We met every Wednesday to work on writing. I was excited to work with her each week for an hour. I also happened to get better at writing in the process.
  • Sharing Values with People: I love this one, and I have a recent story to go along with it. I am motivated when I am around or working with people who I share values with. If I meet someone for the first time and we begin to uncover overlapping values, I become more and more excited to work with them or spend time with them. Recently, I took an Uber home from school. It was an Uberpool, so someone else from the same building jumped in. I found out his name was Eric, and I asked if he was getting his MBA. He said, “yes.” We ended up getting passed small talk and uncovered we both enjoy helping others, are slightly introverted, and a bit overly-analytical. We also learned we attack our weaknesses rather than run from them. In Eric’s case it was sales and in my case it was English courses in college. I went home that night very energized about work, school, and life in general.
These are some of my most important motivators. When they are are involved in situations I partake in, I become excited and completely present with what I am doing. Since I am aware of these, I can proactively create them in my working and personal life. What motivates you? It is different for everyone.