Mastery. Autonomy. Purpose. These are what motivate us in work, but I also think in life. The brilliant book Drive by Daniel Pink describes the research that led to this discovery, that after a basic level of money these motivate us more than extra money would. I was reminded of this when I finished reading another brilliant book – Rob Lowe’s autobiography (surprisingly good read, fascinating and inspiring, not your usual celebrity read at all, thank god). His life is now all about those 3 factors, he was always pushing himself to be better but lacked the other 2 in his earlier life and ended up in disaster. It also ties in with some training I’m running at work – all about mastery, but until now I hadn’t connected the 3 to life too even though most of my clients, like Rob, are coming out of addictions that hid who they really are and are struggling to find their way. We can have all 3 and it’s our choosing to do so, and having these 3 can transform your life.
Mastery. We learn skills for our work, and maybe other things we do in life but do we really think in terms of mastering them. And what about mastering who we are as human beings? Mastering to me means looking for how we can be better and upping our game, and learning from those who are better at it. There is no end to improving ourselves in any area, and yet we can tend to stick with ‘good enough’, especially when that is the culture around us. I’m currently doing training around developing who we are rather than just the intellectual skills needed to do my job. It’s something I have not seen offered before but probably the most important skill, and one that needs refreshing constantly (whilst also being happy with how you are right now of course – another skill to master). And as a work place we need to be inspiring this in our staff. So what are you aiming to master? What do you actively aim to be better at? Even a small skill to master can lift your whole life.
Autonomy. This is being able to make your own choices. Who you are as a person is 100% your choice. So often we look at where we feel powerless or see things as we having to do them when there is much more we do have choice over. Quite often it is our own thinking that limits our choices rather than others or circumstances. We can say no but feel guilty if we do, then because we get resentful and feel powerless, and create worry about the future if we did say no – and then feel stuck between a rock and a hard place (which actually stifles creativity and our ability to see an alternative route anyway). Just reminding yourself about what you do have a choice over can bring this factor to life, and also raise all the areas you still need to master!
Purpose. We all need a reason or a direction for what we do, even if it’s just to find inner peace, or to do what we love. Working towards a bigger aim keeps us going when things inevitably get difficult or we feel discouraged. It also can bond us with others of a like-mind. And actually support is missing from these 3 so maybe we can add it in here. Again this is easy to forget, when I get bogged down with things to do at work I need to stop and remind myself why I do it otherwise it just becomes a chore. We can have lots of purposes too – from a daily one to a lifelong one, but usually there is a theme. For me it’s peace no matter what – for me and where ever else I can encourage it. It doesn’t need to be huge but knowing that even writing this fits in with my purpose feels better than just writing my thoughts.
So – what I’m thinking is writing down what I want to master, where I have autonomy and my purpose so I can remind myself when I feel a little lost, or those inevitable ego questions of ‘what am I doing with my life?’ or ‘can I be doing more?’ pop up.
And I can also now use a cheesy cliché of – do you have a MAP for your life?? Oh boy….