Becoming an Expert Part 2

In last week’s WORKout we discussed the role of time in becoming an expert at what you do. The second important piece of this discussion is motivation.

According to Wikipedia (the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet), motivation refers to the "initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior". It is the encouragement to do something.

I often say to clients that motivation covers a multitude of sins. One of my clients is a professional hockey player who has been in the NHL for 10 years. I asked him if he noticed anything about the stars on the teams he has played for. Using the "m" word, he explained that the stars would always show up early for practices, stay late after a game to cool down and stretch. They were not doing it for the money – they all had guaranteed contracts – it was because of motivation.

There are over 700 players in the NHL. A majority are paid over $1 million a year. The guys that are making $5+ million per year and are signed to long term contracts are not always the most talented, but many are the most motivated. Interesting how a higher motivation level not only leads to a longer career, but also can lead to 5 times more income.

In a recent study by Roland G. Fryer, an economist at Harvard University, scientists looked at underperforming schools in New York City and Dallas. They offered rewards of $10 to $20 to motivate students to show improvement over a three week period. The early results have been very encouraging. It is not that the students they selected were any more intelligent, but rather, it was through the use of different methods of encouragement that students have begun to perform better.

Often when a new client comes to see me I ask the "m" question: "What was the factor motivating them to deal with their issue?" In many cases, the client had been wrestling with the issue for a number of years. Generally, it was an external circumstance that motivated them to act, much like the children in the study. We often need rewards. I knew someone who, every time he ran for more than 2 times that week, bought himself a CD.

If you want to be a star, you need to be motivated, and you need time – time plus motivation is like adding a turbo charger on your career engine.

This week’s 10 Minute WORKout:
Think of a time when you were highly motivated in your life. What were the circumstances surrounding this time? What are the missing elements in your life now?

Along the road with you,

Alan Kearns