What is Motivation?

motivationMotivation is the desire that guides your behavior.  It has been shown to be the single most predictor of success.  It is not just what drives you towards a goal, but it is the engine and the fuel to run it combined.  Stronger motivation will keep you striving at a goal longer.  It is not just the initial push, but the daily walk that motivation will sustain.

Some examples of motivation were published in Psychology Today by Jim Taylor, PhD.

  • An internal or external drive that prompts a person to action;
  • The ability to initiate and persist toward a chosen objective;
  • Putting 100% of your time, effort, energy, and focus into your goal attainment;
  • Being able to pursue change in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things;
  • The determination to resist ingrained and unhealthy patterns and habits;
  • Doing everything you can to make the changes you want in your life.

There are different types of motivation.  It can come from an internal or external source.  External can be described as an influence from peers, family, work or related to your personal environment.  Examples are recognition, respect, job quality or a promotion.  Internal motivation comes from within and can related to your emotions or feelings.  Examples would be fear, self-validation and happiness.

Whether it be internal or external motivation, there will be a positive or negative context attached to it.  Examples fall into a category of loss or gain.  The relationship you have with a positive or negative outcome depends on your viewpoint.  While some might view weight loss as a positive outcomes, others might view it as negative if they are trying to increase muscle mass.

The strongest motivator is something internal and positive.

In a real sense, our view of the outcome heavily defines our motivation.  Are we looking forward to the change or approaching it with trepidation?  Changing our focus of a seemingly negative situation to a positive can increase and strengthen our motivation.



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The Process of Change

Change can be a scary word.  I have heard people say they hate it and others saychange process they thrive in it.  The one true statement about change is that it is going to happen whether you want it to or not.  Nothing will ever stay the same.  However, it is a person’s choice as to whether they are triumphant  or take the victim role during change.  There is that point where a person has to decide to get on the ship and take the wheel or be tossed around the angry waves in the sea.

Other than change being inevitable, there is an aspect of it that has a magical quality.  A person can initiate it and guide it.  That is the type of change that can be elusive, almost like the unicorn never seen but heard and talked about.  This is the change people desire. Starting on that journey can be exciting and exhilarating or tedious and tiresome.  It’s how a person views it and the work they’re willing to put into it.

So how do you start?  You have to look inward, but there are some general guidelines about any change.

1.  What is the motivation?

What is that catalyst in your life that makes you desire a different reality?  The degree of intensity of your catalyst can greatly affect your success in changing in your life.  It can fuel the fire to become a great blaze or just produce a little bit of smoke.  You have to go inside and do some inner work.  It’s not just that you’re unhappy or dissatisfied, but why?  Once you look in the mirror and truly admit why you want change, then you have your foundation.  The truth of your drive is what will make you successful.

2.  What is your goal?

You now know what is motivating you, next you decide what the actual goal is.  You want things to be different and know what is at the heart of that desire, but what do you really want?

I always encourage people to dream big.  This is the moment to take away the restrictions and ask yourself what you would do if you have the world.  it can really surprise people and reveal the depth of their heart.  It’s a beautiful moment.  The thing most people don’t realize is that they CAN have the world.

Then comes the process of taking your bigger than life dreams and your reality and merging the two into something tangible.  Set your first goal as something that is reachable.  The more success you have under your belt, the easier you can build upon those strengths to reach your over the moon goal.  Don’t stop dreaming, just dream smart.

3.  Make a plan

You can want things for a hundred years, but that is not enough.  We don’t live in a “wish upon a star” world.  Wishing gets you nowhere.  Think  about what steps need to be taken to get to your goal of change.

I like to think about it as building a ladder or a staircase.  You take one step at a time.  It’s so important to know what steps to take.  I really encourage people to write it down.

The physical act of writing and seeing it plants it in your brain.  That doesn’t take into it the obvious aspect of it being a road to follow.  You can go back and review it once you’ve reached each stage.  Then you know where you’ve been and what comes next.

4.  Set your reward

Change is at best painful.  Giving up behaviors and putting in new practices is hard and takes work.  There is a part of change that involves grieving.  To reinforce your new habits and life, rewards are essential.  We have to embrace the good and remember it.  Celebrate it.  Make your reward count.  You might think it’s good enough to lose that 20 lbs.  That’s reward enough.  It’s much more effective to add a cherry on top of that sundae.  You have to ask yourself how your life will be different at that point and what is one thing you will be able to do that celebrates your hard work.  Make it count and be something you really want.  I like people to also try and make it something they can visually see, then it’s a reminder.  Every time they see that object they can think about their journey and their success.

5.  Get started

Don’t wait for the perfect day or time.  Once you have your plan get started.  Taking that first step can be hard.  It can be scary and cause anxiety.  One way to help that is to not do it alone.  Either enlist someone who can be honest with you and provide accountability or take someone along with you on your journey.  Having a partner and companion can be invaluable to your success.

The single most important thing to know about getting started is that you can never reach your goal unless you do.  Take a big deep breath, hold your plan tightly in your hand, step out strong and confident to your first step on your journey.

6.  Evaluate

With each step you complete, take a moment to pause and look around.  Look into your heart again and ask yourself some serious questions.  Do you still want the same goal?  Does the plan you set up still go straight to the goal?  Do you need to change things just a little bit.  All these questions are essential for your success.  It’s OK to alter things along the journey.  You’re a different person with each step you complete, so the journey and how it’s traveled may change, too.  Revel in the fact that change is already taking place.  Do a mini dance on the step you just reached, take a breath and go forward to the next step.

7.  Celebrate

Once you’ve reached your goal, celebrate the heck out of it.  Don’t be shy and give yourself you’re reward.  Know that you are part of an elite section of humanity that conquered their fears to reach their dreams.

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Inspirational Health Care Quotes

nurses stethescopeI have been a nurse for over fifteen years.  In that time, I have come across many types of healthcare professionals with different means that they use to internally motivate themselves.

As a teacher, I always told my students that no one ever sets out to be a bad nurse.  It’s decisions along the way that make it happen.  It’s moments of desperation.  But I also told them that their day starts before they even exit their car.  The decision to be a good nurse or sub par begins in your brain.  What do you do to motivate yourself?

Often times I have a verse or a saying to help myself remind me of why I am there and that my patients actually deserve good service.  They are sick and not at their best, but neither am I when I am in sick.   It is my job as a nurse and as a fellow human being to treat them with the utmost respect and dignity.  I must say on a side note, that niceness does not equal servant hood.

I came across a series of quotes from HospitalPortal.net that I thought I would share.  As I go about my day, I try to remember the positives and why we are there.  Happy serving!

It doesn’t take an instant more, or cost a penny more, to be empathetic than it does to be indifferent.
Brian Lee

One kind word can warm three winter months.
Japanese Proverb

In an emergency, what treatment is given by ear?  Words of Comfort.
Abraham Verghese, MD

They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.
Patch Adams

Nurses: one of the few blessings of being ill.
Sara Moss-Wolfe

Nurses may not be angels, but they are the next best thing.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
Mahatma Gandhi

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.
Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.
Albert Einstein

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
Bill Gates

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.
Henry Ford

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.
Mother Teresa

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.
Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Damon Richards

To understand the man, you must first walk a mile in his moccasin.
Native American Proverb

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.
John Russell, President, Harley Davidson

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.
Lewis Carol

Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.
Tony Allesandra

You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.
Jerry Fritz

If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?
John Adams

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
Booker T. Washington

Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.

Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity.
Leon Gorman, CEO L.L.Bean

Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
Zig Ziglar

Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.
Heather Williams

The customer’s perception is your reality.
Kate Zabriskie, Author of: Customer Service Excellence: How to Deliver Value to Today’s Busy Customer

Every client you keep, is one less that you need to find.
Nigel Sanders

Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.
Sally Gronow, Welsh Water
Whether you are big or small, you cannot give good customer service if your employees don’t feel good about coming to work.
Martin Oliver, MD Kwik-Fit Financial Services

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The Hunt for Red Love

love heartLove is rumored to be beautiful and euphoric.  When we talk about it, people get misty eyed and nostalgic.  I personally think of a Norman Rockwell picture with two little kids holding hands or perhaps a tender embrace by people standing in their farm clothes.  The love I see in the world comes in different forms.  I remember as a child being told other languages had several words for love.  As I’ve grown up and life has been experienced, I see that as a necessity.

There is the friend I love.  My family loves each other with different feelings and emotions.  I can love my job or even my car.  To describe the attachments and energy we put into love would be more than a set of encyclopedias could explain.  Somehow we intuitively know these descriptions and types of love.

The commonality between the different types of love is that what we call the “heart” is always involved.  To love something or someone takes an act of giving on our part.  We feed the love for a situation or a person.  I often wonder if people are in love with each or with the situation, but that is an entirely different topic.

Giving of ourselves requires a risk on our part.  Sometimes the risk is small, other times it feels gargantuan.  It makes me think of gambling.  Will I win should I put myself out there?  The risk is the broken heart.

I have gone through more than one broken heart.  It is painful to repair your heart, but I know it can be done.  Many people say the scars are left on your heart and that only time can heal.  I like to believe in a total healing, without any scars or reminders.  That being said, I still don’t want to get my heart broken.

That’s when a friend made a very poignant comment.  He approached love with a Darwinian method.  It’s the survival of the fittest and whoever is aggressive in their approach will find love in the end.

That initially sounded foreign to my ears and did not resonate with my soul.  I did not totally dismiss the notion.  I took it into my brain and let it marinate a little.  After all, I was speaking with a man.  His mind works different than mine. I just wanted to make love out to be more gentle than a hunt or something to acquire.

He was right to say that if you don’t go after it, you won’t find it.  If you stay far away and try to protect yourself from heartbreak, your heart will never love.  You can avoid the pain, but you will miss out on much more than you can imagine.  It isn’t just about the feeling of love, but it’s the life that it brings that makes it so sought after.  If love is a drug, the side effects are spectacular.

My mind moved next to recovery of a heart break.  If your heart is broken or you are afraid of it being broken, how do you move on to the next step?  The idea immediately shot into my mind. To heal the broken heart, you must love.  Giving love will mend the heart.

It almost sounds counter intuitive.  Give when you think there is nothing there?  It is exactly in that moment of giving that your heart strings bind back together.  The brokenness of love lost, situations ending, life changes…all that makes our heart sing…is mended when we start to love others.

Love is expressed many ways.  I express love when I interact with my residents as a nurse.  When I am kind to the teller at the bank, that is love.  Living a life of love will ready your heart for the “big” love that the world searches after.  The answer was so simple and obvious.  I am a better me when I give love daily.

As life goes on, we all have secret chambers in our heart that need the light to shine in on.  There are feelings and words from years past that we forgot we still kept with us.  If we just love others, they will come out.  The chains that used to bind will be broken without a lot of tedious emotional work on our part.

The act of kindness and building friendships is the beginning of a healthy heart.  The answer to the question brought me joy.

I am going to hunt love.  Not because I desperately seek it, but because I am a warrior.  I will not be afraid of love or the possibility of a broken heart, when love is all around me.  I can create love.  There is no longer a risk, it is now a straight exchange.  When I give, so shall I receive.


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Legal Record

legal padA woman brought a pack of papers to me.  They were folded nicely.  Obviously fragile, I carefully unfolded them.  The creases were worn and delicate.  The legal size paper had shades of pale yellow and white contrasting against each other.  Her tidy handwriting stood out against the background of the paper.  Every line had an entry.  The year and the date were listed first and went back in chronological order.  Seven pages of entry over time.

She had listed every test, procedure and medical appointment she had.  To the side she made some small notations as to the outcome.  It was quite impressive.  I wondered if I could recall every appointment and the outcome for the past seven to ten years.  I smiled to myself at her fastidiousness and pondered what I should do with the information.  She had brought it to me in response to our facility asking for her immunization record.

I put it on my desk, not quite knowing what to do with the information.  I was enthralled by it.  It made me smile and brought a little joy as I looked at it.  I had something so carefully crafted by someone.  She had entrusted me with information about her life gathered over time.  It was her journey through healthcare.  It was her diary or journal in a sense.

I realized how important and precious it was.   She had carried it on her way to see her obstetrician and her cardiologist.  Her trials and struggles to maintain her health were documented.  The little “ok” stenciled beside tests gave my heart hope.  As she aged she kept trying to keep the health she had.  Then she had come to us.  Letting go of her journal was letting go of some of her control.  Some of her independence had gone and it is such a rare commodity.

I picked up the papers and had them copied to put in her chart.  It was better than any request for medical records could ever give me.  I needed to give it back to her.  She had let me see a glimpse of her path, but it belonged to her.  Her life belongs to her. As much delight as it gives me to see someone work to save what they love, it’s for her to manage.  I owe it to her to give her what she needs to make the most of it.  Give her the control back of keeping track.

We all have mementos of journey through life.  This is hers.  I gave it back, hoping she has the strength to continue documenting and that she will make an entry saying that she is back at home.

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