Do I want to be successful? Yes. Of course. But not in the way you might think.When I was a girl I had dreams of being a movie star or on Broadway…or being a recording artist…or an Olympic athlete. For a little while I thought about being in the military…protecting my country and showing how tough I was. I thought about being a minister. I thought about being a veterinarian (don’t all children?)
So, “Que Sara Sara” what became of me?
The other day I was listening to a radio journalist interview two “Success” stories. The first interviewee was described as a 6’4 attractive, confident banker from somewhere in the South. This 60 ish year old white male insisted that his success was not handed to him on a silver platter…he had worked for it. He admitted that he was not the sharpest tool in the shed (colloquialism meaning: not the smartest guy)…but he had surrounded himself with the right people. He was a huge believer in “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” So after working in a bank and being around Big Players for a number of years, he started his own bank. Needless to say he not only works WITH a LOT of money…he HAS a LOT of money.
The second interview was with a late thirties/ early forties couple who had been in Silicone Valley at the right time. The man in this success story did not work for a company that made it big. As a matter of fact, the idea that he had tried to get backing for was rejected and rejected again because it was something new…the first of its kind. But this man did not take “No!” for an answer. He, along with two others invested $5000 each and started their own company. Needless to say, his persistence paid of a million fold. He doesn’t live in a mansion or drive a Maserati. He and his wife live in a middle class neighborhood and raise their children among the normal folk…but they know how much they are worth…and unlike many people in the middle class they will never have to worry about having enough, or having a job. They are set for life…and their children…and their children’s children. They are a success.
I don’t know if it was the money that motivated these people to succeed. It might have been the power and the connections and the Social Status for the first fellow. Money may have been just a by-product of genius coming to fruition in the second. None-the-less, they were rolling in the dough.
Money doesn’t motivate me. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be comfortable, and fed, and go on trips…but I like to do it all frugally. I am not obsessed by money, or driven by money, or even terribly concerned about money. I assure you that attitude makes people like my father crazy. He would say I am naive and unrealistic. I would say I have other things to think about…and if I get in a bind I will cross that bridge when I get there. I am trusting that God will provide. That doesn’t mean that I sleep until noon and sit on the couch all day…it just means that I have always managed. And I plan to continue to…and if that means that by some twist of fate something that I do because I LOVE IT makes me 20 million…then what the heck! I won’t say “No thanks”. I assure you of that.
Over the next few days I want to talk about what motivates people. I would love to hear what motivates you…your story…what you consider “success” to be…and how to obtain “success”. I suppose if riches were one’s ultimate goal, and that person won the lottery than not a lot would have gone into being a success…a drive down to the gas station and a dollar. But for most of us, success is a process. First we have to know what it is exactly that we want and then we have to make a plan of how to get there.
In 1943 Abraham Maslow, a psychologist wrote “A Theory of Human Motivation” where he discussed a hierarchy of needs – a list of things that motivate humans. The items are a ladder of sorts…the first rungs must be reached before a person can really go on to the next.
Physical needs: We need air to breath and food to eat and rest for our weary bodies… Safety needs: We need shelter and warmth, protection from the elements. We need laws to prevent chaos. THIS NEED is the one responsible for keeping us in a job that we hate! Love needs: We need to be needed and KNOWN. We need to belong to somebody or something socially. We need family and friends. Esteem needs: We need to be recognized, complimented. We need to feel good about ourselves. We care about what others think and feel about us. We need to feel like we accomplish/ achieve.
*****According to Maslow a lot of people get stuck at number 4. If the first four needs are a struggle to meet, then the next four needs are virtually impossible to give our time, energy and focus to. When we are just surviving, and making it through day by day, it is hard to think about anything else.
But humans are motivated more than by basic physical and emotional needs. We are also motivated by Cognitive needs: We have an innate need for knowledge…to understand…to have our questions answered…to explore and expand our mind. Aesthetic needs: We have an appreciation for beauty. We NEED beautiful things around us. We go to the mountains and the ocean and plant flowers and take care of ourselves and our children and our homes because we love beauty. Self-actualization needs: This is when we begin to understand why we are made. This is why people read self-help books and do personality tests to determine what career we are best suited for. This is why people read books like The Purpose Driven Life. We begin to understand that we are made for a reason…it is not random that we are where we are… when we are. It is not random that we have the family and friends that we do. We are part of a bigger plan. It is estimated that only 2% of people reach this level.
Transcendence needs were not included in Maslow’s original theory, yet this is where we reach our FULL potential. Transcend actually means:to rise above or go beyond the limits…to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits. It means to live our lives supernaturally…to be more than I am alone…to be more than what human limitations impose. To know that “I can do all things”…but with a DESIRE to do them for the good of the whole…for goodness sake.
Pastor Chris Hodges gives three steps to LIVING BEYOND MYSELF: Love God passionately; Serve others selflessly, live life intentionally.
So, what motivates me? What became of me? I am still in the process of becoming. I am not a Super Star…but I am a mom. And I was a celebrity with the best fans in THE WORLD when I taught preschool. I didn’t play ball in the Olympics or the WNBA…but I have coached my children and their friends and I support them from the sideline in all the events that they do. I didn’t join the military, but I will protect my friends and my family and anyone in need with everything I’ve got. I’m not a minister, but I tell everybody I know about how GREAT our God IS!!! And I am not a veterinarian. But I have a dog and seven cats…two on my lap as I write, one chattering at squirrels out the kitchen window, one drinking out of the dog’s water bowl, one sitting in a basket…
Am I a success? you might not think so, but I think I am the luckiest woman in the whole world.
This week I am going to concentrate on being successful and what that means financially, socially, physically, spiritually. It is all a matter of balance, isn’t it? We are all doing “it”…we are all engaged in some form or fashion of living…so why not do it better?
What motivates me? Making a difference. I hope that you will use this blog to post your own thoughts! Write to me and I will happily post articles written by you on your own personal definition of success. I can’t wait to explore this subject, and hear from you!
PEACE!!! And Exceed your limits!