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Accessing Your Motivations; the Fire in Your Belly

** Please note: this is an excerpt from my upcoming book: WUHU: Would You Hire You? that I am co-authoring with a friend.

My dad used to say he had fire in his belly. A strong desire to achieve greatness. As a real estate entrepreneur, he had a cartoon in his bathroom of a man yelling out a window of a high rise. The man was shouting, “Someday, I’m gonna own this town!” I loved that piece of art. Not just because of how it made me feel about my dad and his sense of self, but because it inspired me to want to “own my own town” doing what I love.

How strong is that fire in your belly? How badly do you want to reach your goals? What are you willing to do or sacrifice to achieve your dreams?

When I first met my husband, we were sitting in his office and I expressed to him how thoroughly content I was. He looked at me with this odd expression on his face and admitted that he really didn’t know what contentment felt like. He explained that he always felt like there was more to do, more to achieve. At the time, this sentiment made me truly sad. How could this amazing human being, (who had my unconditional love) not feel contentment? I never forgot that moment and have carried it with me throughout our marriage. About a decade later, I was interviewing a number of entrepreneurs and was in the middle of questioning someone who had made roughly $500M in his career. When I asked him, “What does it feel like to have ‘made it’?” His response was, “I don’t know. As an entrepreneur, you have never really ‘made it’ because there is always something more you can do. Always something lingering on the horizon.”

As we progress through this book, the goal is to identify the fire in each of our bellies. What motivates us to be more, do more, think more, achieve more? You are reading this book and doing the work so that ultimately, someday, you may feel that amazing sense of satisfaction the path of becoming who you are meant to be.   Have there been times in your life where you have already experienced true contentment? If so, did you recognize those points in time as amazing gifts, or did they fly by unnoticed? Try creating a list of times you felt truly content. What was surrounding that emotion? What did your life look like at that time; from a work, family, financial, career, spiritual, and social perspective? If you have never felt that way, ask yourself why not? There are no right or wrong answers here. This is another way to help you define yourself. Another way to dig deep into the fire that burns in your own belly.

For me, I crave the feeling I get after I walk off a stage knowing I have delivered a presentation that has moved people to action. Although my work may appear somewhat altruistic, it’s not. The personal level of satisfaction I receive from knowing I made a significant difference in someone’s life is my fire.  For me, the motivation isn’t as much about money as it is about duplicating that internal feeling of achievement and satisfaction. I like knowing people think I’ve figured shit out. I like believing that, just maybe, I have.

That’s my fire. What’s yours?

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