Early in my life I found the secret to "that thing." It was my super power.
For me "that thing" was how and why I got up every morning and worked as hard as I did on my job, with motivation being continually at the forefront.
"That thing" was a great help in ensuring that my team and I could provide the research funding necessary to change the patient care outcomes for many in our community and beyond. It was about helping staff members to be their best selves and pursue their careers with productivity and ingenuity.
"That thing" was also about being the best mother that I could be and raising an entrepreneurial, intelligent daughter who would find success throughout her life however she chose to pursue it.
I know that I had motivation and an entrepreneurial spirit all of my life. I had created small businesses from the time I was about eight years old: I sold Girl Scout cookies till I achieved first place, established my own grade school on my mother's front porch, held camps each summer for kids in the neighborhood, "sold" rides on my bike for imaginary money pretending that our sidewalk was part of a horse trail, made and sold potholders or popsicle stick planters door to door...
Later, when I met the physicians and board members at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and other parts of the medical center in Pittsburgh, my motivation was truly awakened.
People like Henry Hillman, Ted Scheetz, Charles Bluestone, M.D., Jean Robinson, Ben Fisher, Lester Hamburg, Ronald Herberman, M.D., and Peter Strick, Ph.D. all taught me to reach high and dream...to believe in the organization and work towards the goal no matter the obstacle...to be purpose driven...to push hard because the mission was urgent. Each of these individuals was kind and understanding, authentic, single-minded in his/her focus...they each had philanthropy as a key mission and respect for others woven into their DNA.
Spending time with them was motivation enough as I was getting into the fundraising field. And the models they provided and the dreams that they all had were more than enough for me to be inspired every day. Their reflections and lessons whisper to me even today, clinging to my thoughts, improving each step that I take.
Over the years, I came to understand that that determination came from inside myself. Even when the task was difficult or things were not going fast enough in fundraising, I still could get up every morning, regenerate my enthusiasm and put my heart and soul into what I did, always reaching higher.
I am joyous that I had multiple staff members who felt the same way, they were excited about the impact they were having and the true magic of fundraising. They just had to love what they did, develop respectful relationships with prospects, understand the science and value relationships. And they had success while making an impact.
So "that thing," which I believe is ambition, assertiveness, joy and excitement all wrapped together, comes from within and can be inspired by those around you. It nurtures your determination, which is an important part of the formula that will help you achieve your goals. And it is a choice that you make.
Christine Evangelou is a motivational writer and author. She found the five sparks of motivation to be:
Courage: She noted that fear of loss is wasteful energy that will keep you stuck, grind you down, and put you two steps behind what you truly want. Accept fear as part of you, it is the other side of the coin of bravery. While fear depletes you, courage feeds your strength. Only you can decide what internal force drives you...
Confidence: Your confidence in your abilities allows you to push past obstacles, move through invisible walls. It helps you do things to nudge you outside of your comfort zone. That self-belief is an intrinsic driver, like the battery on a car that's on full charge.
Commitment: Staying committed despite the fears, knock downs, and wrong turns is the truth of success. You do not give up despite how hard the journey became...this is the essence of being successful. It's keeping a promise to yourself. When things get tough you hold on and look for a way forward.
Clarity: This is about having a clear vision--and development officers have a clear vision from inside their dream. They feel a presence in their heart. They can take a step at a time and give their motivation true meaning. They find a place where there is no doubt.
Challenge: While a challenge can dim your motivation, it can provide the opposite feeling if you step up to the challenge. You can use those challenges to build your strength and light the way with your inner compass of wisdom and direction. Use each struggle as a stepping stone.
Find some deep-rooted motivation--whether it is for development, for another type of work, or whether, most importantly, for your life. Motivate yourself beyond mediocrity. We have only one life, we have to live it in the best way possible. After all, we are here to make a difference. I'd like to make the biggest difference that I can.