Burst out or burn out!


Preparing for a move this spring I packed my oil colors, canvases and easel, thinking that I'd probably not get back to them again until next fall. I haven't painted for a few months now, since I've taken up writing. This got me thinking about motivation.

To write, we place a blank page in the typewriter, or request 'new document' on the word processor, and soon an idea emerges right from the blank page. That's exactly what I did to write this article. A blank canvass on the easel will give the same impetus to an artist. If you are a landscape painter like me, a picture of a scene you photographed can motivate you to start. I would combine the two pastimes if I could but, I am still a working man and owe some time to my career. Perhaps in a few years, if I am still motivated.

Motivate: "Supply a motive to cause a person to act in a particular way; stimulate the interest of a person." This is the description of the word in The Concise Oxford Dictionary. We know that motivation can come from within ourselves or from outward stimuli. Inner motivation is, I believe, the most powerful. I don't want to turn this into a technical description of motivation for which I am not qualified, I just want to draw on the feelings of getting motivated and staying motivated.

Love and pride are two of the incentives that motivate me to write and paint. The need for security is the incentive that gets me to work everyday. When you really enjoy doing something the motivation comes from within. Until an article, novel or painting is complete, I think about it most of the time. If it is a manuscript for a story that you like, then you are totally engrossed. To others you appear distracted or day dreaming, when actually you are thinking about a scene or a paragraph. "Your not listening, William!" is a phrase used often at my home.

Motivation may come from within, such as the motivation to succeed that may have been entrenched in us by our parents, teachers or religion. As a sales manager I once had the responsibility of training and motivating a sales team. They had equal training and selling aids at their disposal but, each salesperson had their own level of motivation. Their goals were different. The difference caused 20% of the sales team to produce 80% of the team's total volume of sales.

The top sales person in one of my teams had money as his motivation which pushed him to work hard and see prospective clients during the day, evenings and weekends. He earned a fortune. He was never hanging around the office or coffee shop gossiping as most of the other salesmen did. He attended meetings, made phone calls then was on the road. If anyone came to talk to him about anything but his sales, he would let them know that his time was money and did not want to waste it. He evaded like the plague anyone who had a negative approach. He would let nothing interfere with his goal to make money. Whether or not we agree with his objective, what's important is that it motivated him. The conscientious manager had a tough job of letting him produce and also remind him to take time off for his family and recreation.

The less successful salesperson is not as motivated by an intense desire to succeed. He has to be continually reminded of his goal. Perhaps his goal is unrealistic. Not being able to attain his objectives to reach his goal can cause discouragement and burn-out. Instead of directing his efforts to succeed in attaining his goal, he rode with the current, and let himself be distracted from it. He, or she, was not willing to pay the price of success. Although most salespeople start out with an objective and a sincere desire to succeed, the majority soon lose sight of their goals and give mediocre performances. Thus, the reason for the large turnover of sales people remunerated on a commission basis.

This short synopsis on motivation is just to remind you that whatever your endeavor, you must remember that,

It takes a little bit of courage,

A little self control,

And some grim determination,

If you want to win a goal.