Not finding it or moving toward a goal, but why we do what we do.
As a freshman in college, I realized architecture was not the career path for me. I knew that I needed to do a job where I could go home and feel what I did that day made a difference in someone’s life. (I do not in any way think this makes my career “better” than anyone else’s or anything of the sort. Not to mention the many days I go home feeling less than satisfied with what I actually myself…)
So, I chose a career in education. A couple of years after making that choice, I also decided to be a camp counselor for the first time.
Now, brutal honesty. Many, many times my motivation was wrong. (And I’m not talking in the distant past…or even 100% the past.) I chose these roles for the purpose of making a difference to someone else, but really I wanted something for me too.
I wanted to be the favorite teacher or counselor. I wanted students to invite me to their soccer games, not just so I could get to know them and their interests better, but because then I knew they actually liked me. I wanted campers to turn to me for advice, to trust me with their concerns. So that I could help them? Yes. But…also because it made me feel important.
It’s ugly, but it’s true.
It’s not about me. To make a difference, I don’t even need to be remembered. Didn’t I accomplish just as much when a student is successful in school, when he/she is the first in the family to graduate, when what I taught made an impact…even if that student doesn’t remember my name? Didn’t I accomplish just as much when a camper’s life was changed…even if that camper doesn’t know what I did to help him/her?
Human nature is to want the accolades, the acknowledgment, the fame. And if it comes, fine. But, when that is what I’m striving for, what I get upset about not receiving, what I feel I’m lacking…I’ve lost the motivation that got me here in the first place.
My motivation should be what I can do for others. I wasn’t put here to be remembered for who I am. I was out here to do something that matters for who they are.