Someone once said to me that I was very self-motivated and that she admired that about me. I didn’t think much of it then. Months later, after finishing up a big project, I became restless. I had spent a lot of time on this project and I was glad to be done with it. However, I started to feel listless and unsettled. I was not motivated at all. I knew I ought to be doing something but I just could not bring myself to do anything. And, before I knew it, a few weeks had passed and I had achieved nothing specific or important.
That got me thinking. Was I really that self-motivated? What does it even mean to be self-motivated?
The Business dictionary defines it as the “Ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or situations.”
So I tried to analyze my work ethic. I am someone who plays by the rules. I have never been a rebel in any way. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I’m not saying this is great, it’s just who I am. This trait made me quite diligent in school. I turned my papers in early and they were mostly finished long before they were even due. I loved working on projects so I would start planning way before I knew the full details of any class project. In short, I always had a goal and I reached for it.
That’s the word; goal.
When I finished my big project, there was no looming goal ahead of me. I had not given myself any timelines within which to finish the next task. Because of this, I couldn’t get myself to focus on anything.
Can I still be described as self-motivated? Is setting a goal an external factor or a ‘situation’ that encourages me to work?
Whichever side you lean, one thing is sure; motivation, whether self or external is very important if we are to realize our vision. Our visions and dreams are not things to be easily achieved. If they were they wouldn’t be that important.
Having dreams and visions is not enough, we have to set reasonable goals, with timelines, in order to really roll up our sleeves and get the job done. It sounds cliche, I know’ but it is true. I now know that I am not a self motivated as I would love to be. Some people are able to get stuff done just by thinking about it. For the rest of us, there are goals and calendars to help us along the way.
I have just published my second book and I know for a fact that if I don’t set a goal for my next project I may not get it done as soon as I would want.
On the flip side, I believe it takes more than self-motivation to pursue your purpose in life (which is much bigger than a time-based project)). If not you will have many reasons to give up, and you will be tempted to. However, because you know that what you are set to achieve is beyond you, you cannot afford to rest on your oars.
Some years ago I set out on a journey to know and pursue my God-given purpose. It is not quite crystal clear yet but every day is an adventure, every step a confirmation and every project an assurance that if I keep going, I’ll never miss it.
I wish you all the best as your pursue yours.
May all your dreams come true, with pomp and splendor!
Before you go: