Do you know the difference between inspiration and motivation? The answer is that inspiration gets you started, motivation is what drives you to the finish.
People are motivated by things like money, competition, achievement, and ego. Reflecting on what drove me to complete my first novel, I ruled out the first two items. That left self-actualization (achievement) and ego. The two are related in that it takes a healthy ego to believe that you have unrealized potential.
I learned about motivation during my sales career. Back then, I was known as a “rainmaker.” A business development specialist who brought trophy clients to the firm. It wasn’t easy selling multi-million-dollar consulting engagements to Fortune 100 companies. Many salespeople who were hired by our company failed. This turnover was expensive, so human resources paid to have several top salespeople analyzed, hoping it would help to refine the hiring process. I was chosen for the experiment. That’s how I learned about motivation and other personality traits that affect job performance.
Several outfits provide talent assessment services to corporate America. The most prestigious is the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). I got to spend a week at their Colorado Springs boot camp, having my brain picked by the best Industrial and Organizational Psychologists in the business. My fellow guinea pigs included CEOs, political leaders, army generals, and successful entrepreneurs. The report CCL furnished at the end dissected my patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior, then summed it up in four letters: ENTJ.
So, my firm went on a hiring spree using tests designed to identify the 2% of the population with the ENTJ personality type. It didn’t matter if they had any sales experience. If the data said hire, we hired. However, the failure rate among salespeople got worse. Why? In my book, AS GOOD AS CAN BE there is a clue. To say more would spoil it!
This brings us back to ego drive. My wife was not happy when I took up writing. She accused me of being an egotist. That hurt, but then I remembered something one of the CCL shrinks said. He told me that I’m rebellious and independent, which I already knew. Then he explained something I didn’t know. That according to Freud, independence is the manifestation of ego, and a healthy ego is not prideful or arrogant, just confident. Starting a book requires confidence, but finishing it requires motivation, and ego drive is the strongest motivator of all. Like it or not.