The past few weeks I have been working with my church for a program called Angel Tree. We deliver Christmas gifts to children from a parent that is in prison. The experience has been beyond rewarding.
I woke up one morning intrigued about the level of gratification I felt from being involved. I have helped with this program for a few years, and I will help again next year. Why? Because I am motivated to do so. I have been contemplating what factors have led me to this level of commitment. If I can define them, will I be able to apply them to other activities? Can I use them to increase my motivation for another goal? I have discovered many factors that have impacted my inspiration, my commitment, and my gratification.
1. Helping others – I am driven by the ability to help others. Doing something without reward is usually not motivating. However, if other people are able to reap the reward of my effort, and I am able to participate in the process, it is highly rewarding.
2. Personal impact – I am emotionally impacted by the gratitude expressed by those we serve. It drives me to want to do the best I can to meet their needs.
3. Supports my core values – We all have gaps between who we want to be and who we actually are. Just like we have differences between our intentions and our actions. The role with Angel Tree helps me close my gap.
4. Sense of urgency – Each year the time between receiving information on the children in the program and delivering gifts is short. It creates urgency, and a fixed timeline to which we are committed.
5. Effort – The amount of effort I need to invest to support the program is known in advance. Each year, I know approximately the number of hours and days to schedule.
6. Supported by others – The program is supported by a team of volunteers. I would never be able to achieve the goal by myself.
7. Accountability – People are counting on me. My assigned tasks are only going to be done by me. My actions affect the team. My actions affect our success.
8. Clear Goal – We must deliver gifts to the assigned children before Christmas. Our goal is clear. There are hundreds of obstacles, but the desired outcome is unmistakable.
9. Personal growth – I grow from being involved. Each year the challenges we face are different. Usually unique to a family we are serving. Overcoming challenges is the basis for growth.
The next step for me is to discover how I can connect these factors to a different goal. For the last couple of years, I have wanted to exercise more. I go through periods of success and then allow myself to drift away. It has been clear as I reflected this week, that these factors are not linked to my goal for exercising. If I can establish the links, I think my outcome would be very different. That is my challenge.
What challenge do you have that can benefit from discovering your inspiration? Maybe your challenge is actually putting yourself first for once. As Jack Klemeyer said, you must put yourself first if you wish to grow.
Personal development means loving yourself. You should make sure that you take care of yourself as well as your character. Feed your body when it needs nourishment, and don’t shame yourself for things you cannot change about your situation. Acceptance is the key to being humble and overcoming adversity. Experiment with your options. Try on new passions, personality traits and other personal touches to see if they might be a source of enjoyment for you.