So from last week’s post, you know your why. But just who are living your life for, taking action for, doing what you do for? Is it for you (because it deeply matters to you or is it an activity you enjoy or is something that nourishes/fulfills you)? Or is it because someone else wants/wishes/hopes/demands it?
The answer matters. You, and you alone, need to be the sole motivation behind what you do. Why? Because if your motivation is someone else, in the end, it’s entirely likely that all your efforts won’t work. Here’s why:
You need to believe in yourself.
At some point, you’ll get to a hard place where it takes some fortitude to get through and that person may not be around or may not support you or may even, sad but true, try to sabotage your efforts because they want to keep you small and non-threatening and the same. And if these kind of people are your reason for doing what you do, you will end up crashing and burning because either 1. you think you have no one in your corner rooting for you, or 2. you just want to make others more comfortable and/or less threatened around you.
You need to build a solid and unwavering belief in yourself, one that won’t get shattered when someone leaves or doesn’t agree with your own assessment of yourself or rallies against the choices you’re making or the behaviors you’re doing. That solid and unwavering belief, I say kindly, must come from you.
You need power.
If your motivation is someone else, well, that means (consciously or subconsciously) you’re expecting something from them: perhaps you want them to like you, you want to look good to others, you want a favor in return, and the like. But it’s entirely possible that the person you are doing it for won’t react the way you thought, wanted, and/or hoped they would.
There are two perils in this situation if your motivation is someone else: 1. you are enslaved to seeking approval, trying to impress, expecting compensation, and a myriad of other things that give others power over your life and 2. if/when the relationship goes up in flames, you may end up bitter/resentful/angry/crushed/defeated, all of which may cause you to give up, even if what you are doing deeply matters to you. You may even end up blaming them for your failure, which will leave you powerless. And powerless is never, ever what you want to be.
You need a strong foundation.
People are fallible. They make mistakes. They don’t live up to your expectations. They steal your joy or stab you where it hurts the most. They push your most painful buttons or betray you or refuse to love you back. You need a rock you can stand on and build your life upon.
The good news is that you have a rock: yourself. You are strong and courageous and gifted and talented and amazing and worthwhile and completely capable of living the life you want. Whether you believe it or not, you are. I believe that about you. Even if you don’t yet trust yourself, which we’ll be talking about next week, you can trust me that all those things are true about you. Your strong and sturdy foundation is you.
Some things I’ve learned:
- Making yourself your sole motivation is not selfish. The kindest thing you can ever do for yourself and someone else is to do what you do because YOU want to. That way both you and that someone else end up happy with the results in the end.
- Your life doesn’t belong to others; it only belongs to you. When all is said and done, you’re responsible for your own happiness. Remember that every time you check your motivation and every time you make a choice.
- You don’t need someone else to tell you who you are and what you want. You’ve lived with yourself all these years; you know yourself better than anyone.
- Choose to do what you do because it matters deeply to you. And choose to do it for you every single day, especially on the challenging days. Choose to do what you do for you because you’re worth the effort. You can trust me on that, too.
- You still can and should help others. The caveat is that your motivation still needs to be you: you want to help not for some ulterior motive but because helping matters to you. Otherwise, you risk the perils we just talked about.
So will you choose right now to do what you do for you and you alone? Why or why not?