ue bot icon

Leadership Thought #247 – Be Careful About What Motivates You

November 16, 2011

Free Woman Wearing Black Bra and White Tank Top Raising Both Hands on Top Stock Photo

In business and life, it is important to understand what motivates you.  There are good motivators and bad ones.  Striving to make a positive difference in the world and/or building a great company is a much healthier objective than simply accumulating personal wealth or power.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reap the rewards of your efforts.  There are few things more valuable than a person working hard and doing well at something they consider to be meaningful and important.  However, be wary of seeking money just for the sake of it.  Wealth should be the outcome not the objective.

There will be moments in your life where your values will be tested, and you will be confronted with difficult personal decisions.  How you make these decisions can end up making an enormous difference in your life.  Do you do what’s right or what’s most convenient?  Will you be honest or untruthful?  Do you factor in the impact of your decision on others or not?   Do you take ownership of your actions or cast blame on others?   Do you have a win-win mentality or win-lose? How much is enough and at what cost? You need to pay close attention to what truly motivates you!

I was watching an interesting movie last night called Margin Call.  It placed its sights on the easy target of Wall Street and the questionable values that dominate this environment.  When the only objective is growing or keeping what you have, people will do things that are hard to fathom.  Smart young people who myopically focus on how much they earn and where they fit in the power structure will become cynical middle-aged professionals who end up believing the ends always justify the means.  Other people become expendable assets who exist solely to suit your own personal agenda and are discarded, as necessary.   Happiness ends up becoming an ever-elusive target as you realize the person you wanted to become is lost in a haze of misguided intentions and motivations.  When you lose your moral compass, it becomes hard to find your way in the jungle of life.