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What Motivates You?


Earlier this week, I posed the question, “Where are the Remarkable Bloggers?” and it’s been nice to see some readers replying. For those who haven’t yet, I hope that post helped to inspire you to examine what you’re doing as a blogger and how you can move from “just” a blog to something much more. Blog posts (and comments) can definitely be inspirational!

Motivation makes your ideas grow.

But inspiration and motivation aren’t the same thing. I’m inspired all the time, but it takes something more than inspiration to actually motivate me to do something.

Inspiration makes you say, “I want to…” or even “I’m going to…” but motivation makes you actually do those things. We all need the spark of inspiration, but that spark will die without motivation. I would definitely argue that you can’t have motivation without inspiration, but few people understand that inspiration also depends on motivation if you actually want to move forward.

I’d like to talk to you a little about what motivates me most, and then turn over the floor to you. So get your fingers ready to leave a comment about your personal motivation.

My Motivation

Today, someone called me a failure.

I’ve felt like a failure many times. I think we all have, and that’s not limited to bloggers. I tweeted about it, for two reasons: 1) It hurt to hear that, regardless of whether or not I believe it and 2) I fires me up to want to prove the person wrong.

As is usually the case with emotional tweeting, I got some responses, including one from Andy Hayes (@andrewghayes), who I’m quickly learning is one of the most supportive people on Twitter and possibly in the whole world.

@allison_boyer: When people call me a failure, it just makes me realize I’m not.

@andrewghayes: eww! who said that? 🙁

@allison_boyer: Someone who I will prove wrong, one step forward at a time!

@andrewghayes: you dont have anything to prove to them.

You know what? He’s right. I was being motivated by an extremely negative comment, from someone I consider a friend, and turning it into more negativity. Ha! I’m going to prove you wrong!

But I don’t have to prove him wrong. I could work and work and work and at the end of the day, what I do may never be good enough for this person to consider me anything but a failure. Or if not him, someone else might call me a failure. I can’t control others’ reaction to me.

So what motivates me is not the negativity of wanting to prove someone wrong. What I’m allowing to motivate me is the drive to be better for myself. Someone thinks I’m a failure, and I may never be able to convince him that I’m not, but I can use that as motivation to be better than I am right now, to take steps forward, to always reach for success, whether I can prove it to him or not. And more than that, I can surround myself with people who cheer me on, rather than break me down.

So what motivates me is the need to be better, and the reminder that it isn’t ok to stand still. What motivates me is not the need to do more and more and more and more so much that I can’t slow down, but to be better at the things I do choose to do. What motivates me is people like Andy Hayes and all the other wonderful supporters I have on Twitter and otherwise, telling me that they believe in what I’m doing.

Your turn – what motivates you?


  • Aamer Iqbal

    As Seth Godin says it in Linchpin, it’s about being an artist. Practicing your art is motivation enough. We do it because it is our art, we do it for its sake, not for compensation. Our reward is when our art makes a difference.

    • Alli

      That’s definitely an awesome motivator, Aamer!

    • Lola Dee

      Well Said Aamer! The drive to express and share my creativity and fight the good fight is what motivates me each day.

  • Greg Howard

    What kind of friend would say that to someone? I don’t know the full context of the conversation, but I do know this: your “friend” was very careless with their word choice.

    I would never call someone a failure. That’s a really terrible thing to do to someone, in my opinion. I hope you won’t be paying much attention to what this “friend” has to say from now on.

    • Alli

      Sometimes people say things in anger that they don’t fully mean. Still, to me, that’s something you don’t spring back from with an “I’m sorry” the next day. It’ll take time to heal after that dig, and although I can forgive a lot, you can’t erase that comment from my mind.

  • Lola Dee

    A true friend would never say that you are a failure. A true friend would be supportive of whatever you choose to do, and would not be so harsh and judgemental. What qualifies this person to stand in judgement of you ? Was he/she kidding? If not, you need to look at what their motivation is to be so ugly to you. Why take such criticism to heart? Success does not mean the same thing to everyone. To me, it is not all about dollars and cents, it is about putting yourself out there and standing up for something you truly believe in. The need to judge and put others down is the mark of a looser. A winner is inspired, motivated, and will bring out the same in others by walking the walk. I tend to cut off “friends” (frenemies?) that judge me harshly.

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