The Simple Philosophies of Life, Part VI – Motivation

Posted on Jul 25, 2016 in Articles | 0 comments


What motivates you?

For some, it could be being held in high esteem for a great accomplishment. For others, it can be about autonomy and freedom. Still others, it is all about the money. We are all inspired by something and in order to move forward in our lives, motivation to achieve better outcomes help pave the way. The key is to determine what motivates you and build upon that.

Many of us don’t know our driving motivator until we are pressed. A while ago, I delivered a speech to a number of high school students. I asked them to raise their hands if they would be willing to run two miles. A few hands went up. Then I asked how many would run two miles if I gave them $10.00. A few more hands went up. I then offered $1000.00 if they would run two miles. Not surprisingly, every hand went up. The request of running two miles had to be counter-balanced with an offsetting reward in order to prompt action. It is a simple example but for many, the de facto answer for motivation is money.

While I am not exempt from money being a motivating factor, I am more motivated by time and freedom. I learned early on in my career that the reward for a job well-done is the productivity that leads to gaining more time and freedom. In fact, one of my early jobs was running a one-store foodservice operation. While I was the store manager, I managed every conceivable operational task as efficiently as possible. From labor management to operational procedures to inventory, I had every task mapped out and executed to perfection. But, it wasn’t motivating to me. No matter how well I ran my operation, I was still stuck at the store until closing time. My motivating drive to complete tasks to gain time and freedom was over-ridden by the need to be there for a pre-determined, set amount of time. I learned right then what motivates me.

I started my own company over twelve years ago and have purposefully kept it a sole-proprietary setup so that I could deliver strategic management expertise for my clients and get them from “here-to-there” in quick fashion. They hire an outside professional that can accomplish projects because they lack the internal resources and/or expertise. This is the perfect motivator for me since I am unencumbered by their corporate daily tasks and can deliver excellent results in substantially less time. Hence, feeding on my desire to gain time and freedom.

Knowing what motivates you will help you select a career and/or lifestyle that best suits your strengths. Once you know what drives you, your path to success becomes much more clear.

Web-John Matthews

John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., a strategic planning, operations and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries.  With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at