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What motivates you?

Remember when you were in school and the common question: “will this be on the exam?” would get asked?  How easy it was in those days to focus on only learning about the things that would be on the exam.  We weren’t motivated to learn as much as we could, rather we were motivated to learn as little as we could while still passing the test.  As each test, contributed to a completed course, which lead to a degree or certificate.

When it comes to work, we might be motivated by doing the things that will get us noticed by our boss, or deadlines or by doing only those things that can be claimed as “billable hours” or “time we can be paid for”.

In our relationships, we might be motivated by guilt or by the fear of being alone, or by a sense of obligation.

And in all of our lives we can be motivated by our comparisons with others lives and the things they have and the things they are doing.

I know, I have just presented a very negative view of what might motivate people.  And yes that is just part of the picture.  But I know in my life it can be easy to slip back into these less-positive motivational patterns and cycles.  In most cases, these less-motivational cycles are habits and they don’t align with our values and the people we want to be.

Different sources of motivation lead to different outcomes.  What if we were motivated by curiosity and took a course or read a book just because, with no certificate or degree at the end? What if at work, we didn’t watch the clock so closely or focused not just on the urgent demands of the day but also activities that were important to us doing better work in the future.  What if our relationships were motivated by generosity and love (expecting nothing in return)?  What if we stopped being motivated by comparison and just did what worked for us and the important people in our lives? comparing our lives to everyone else and

The motivation behind our actions, affects the outcome.  It not only influences what we do but also how we do it.

What’s motivating you?


the best we can do is choose the right people

Earlier this week, a TV show that is full of real and meaningful moments and dialogue, included an idea that I just can’t seem to get out of my head.

Basically the idea was this: We don’t know where we will be in a year or really in even a week.  We can’t control the what will happen to us.  But what we can control is the people we choose.  Choosing our people is the closest we can do to controlling our future.

This has stuck with me because of the truth in that idea (as do other moments from this TV show).  Really in life, the best we can do to control the future and how we cope with whatever the future holds for us, is to choose our people well.  We can surround ourselves with people who love us even when we are not at our best, with people who show up and stick with us during the crappy parts of life, with people who celebrate and laugh with us during the wonderful, fantastic and ordinary moments.

The best we can do is choose our people wisely….

Note credit for this blog post goes to the TV show This Is Us



a pause button

Wouldn’t it be great if we came with a pause button?

You know something that would cause I stop and pause for a 30 seconds or a minute before we said the thing that wasn’t going to be helpful to ourselves or others, before we did that action that in retrospect didn’t end up being our best choice, before our automatic response to something or someone kicked in.

I do not have any insights or ideas on how to avoid these situations.  Because we don’t come with a pause button.  But sometimes I really wish we did.  And perhaps more importantly someone wise who knew when we needed it to be activated.


we learn when we fail

Several times this week, in several different ways, in several different settings, I heard the message to be okay with failing.  The messages were in form of things like:

– it is through failing or falling short that we grow

– to strive for progress not perfection

– to celebrate when something is tried, even if it doesn’t turn out to be successful

– that it’s only really failure if don’t learn from the experience


These are all ideas and messages that I can support on a cognitive level.  Being okay with failure or not living up to the expectations I have for myself, is something that is much harder for me to be okay with emotionally.

As I thought more about my emotional response vs. my cognitive response and how to address the gap between the two, I wondered if perhaps I need to re-frame or change my definition of failure.  Personally, I find altering my emotional response to be quite difficult, I find it easier to change the way I think about something.

How do you define “failure” and how might changing your definition (particularly the definition you have for yourself) alter things?

March 8

Today is International Women’s Day.  I hope you find a way to acknowledge this day.  To honour and respect the women in your life.  To celebrate with others who honour and respect women.

Happy International Women’s day to all!

One Day at a Time

It’s easy to worry about tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.  And we should plan for the future and consider the long term impact of our choices.

And at the same time, we can only live ‘one day at a time’.  We can only do today what we can do today.  We can’t change yesterday.  We can’t control what will happen tomorrow.

This is not always an easy philosophy/life truth for me to embrace and adopt.  But it can be a reminder to give ourselves permission to cut ourselves some slack and be okay with all the things that don’t get done.  To focus on what can be done today and leave all the worries and fears for the tomorrows yet to come.

Just take things one day at a time.


Today’s to do list says “blog”.

Today’s challenge is not coming up with ideas.  But rather the challenge is refining them to the point they make sense to you readers while not turning into a personal whine fest or diatribe.

I am not saying that raw emotion always needs to be refined before you share it.

But I do think that we all need to take care, whenever possible, to ensure that our emotional first response to life’s experiences/situations, don’t negatively impact others (or ourselves really), when some refining of those responses would better reflect the person we are working to become.