Are Your Drives Internal or External?


What drives you? Motivates you? What gets you out of bed in the morning, or in my case the afternoon? What makes all of your hard work seem like it’s actually not so hard?

Are your drives external? A new car, a bigger house, awards, rewards, accolades? Does that extrinsic drive keep you going when things get hard and you’re ready to pull your damn hair out?

My guess is no. My guess is that once you’ve obtained all of the external rewards you were striving for, there wasn’t much left to motivate you. How long until you get sick of playing with that new toy? How many new watches or pairs of crispy new kicks until you lose count and they lose their importance?

Now don’t get me wrong. I like material things as much as any other breathing human. Extrinsic rewards do have their place and can work as motivators in the right circumstances. But, having said that, it’s the internal, the intrinsic motivators that stay evergreen and withstand the tests of time, success, failure and, boredom.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. Those intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and how you can leverage both to keep yourself going through your brightest moments, but especially during the dark times when you’re second guessing every goddamn decision you make and wondering if it’s even worth going on.  

The concept is a pretty simple one – When we set out to do anything outside of your comfort zone, anything that’s bigger than ourselves that’s less to do with extrinsic values like accomplishment, making money notoriety, status etc. and we take to a mission that’s intrinsically motivated from your heart, it’s daunting.

We’re programed to resist change and that includes change for the better so that’s why we do things that we can’t seem to help ourselves from doing, even though we know they could be detrimental to our progress.

By taking on that space and taking on that responsibility, you’re putting yourself out there. With that  there’s this perception of risk that our psyche attaches to it, and it’s scary as hell. When we push ourselves there’s this child like fear and anticipation of the unknown. So, whether you’re building a business or creating a product, I’ve found that the only thing that gets me to push through that fear of the unknown is the intrinsic drives. Because at the end of the day, those desires that live within our hearts are bigger, badder, and stronger than that fear.

All of it though, comes down to staying clear on your purpose. If you lose that, it’s not hard to let the anxiety creep in or the fears take over. The vision and mission get lost and our feelings and emotions get the best of us in the form of any number of shitty side effects. Anxiety, worry, insomnia, self medication, depression…you get the idea.

So how do we avoid this? How do we stay clear on our vision?

Stop trying to be perfect

Last week we talked about being kind to ourselves and realizing that we’re good enough. If we let the fear of not being perfect hold us back from realizing our vision, then what good are we to ourselves and others? Embrace the fact that it’s never going to be perfect and that the mistakes are what help you learn along the way.

Get clear on your WHY

Take a good hard look at yourself and your values and figure out WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Are you building a better life for your kids? Are you stepping away from a shitty job that you hate so that you can do something that you’re passionate about? Whatever that WHY is, is what is ultimately going to keep you in line and in integrity with what you’re working towards.

As you go, ask yourself, “Is this going to move me closer or further away from the reason I’m building in the first place?” The answer should be easy.

Get over yourself

When you can lose the ego and fear of looking bad, you free up your time, energy, and mental space to focus on your bigger vision. Internet trolls mocking your latest YouTube video? Fuck’em! No time to care, I’ve got a vision to realize. I’ve got lives to change. I’ve got a bigger purpose.

In all of this do you see anything about buying an expensive car, or being showered in compliments by your peers, or winning awards for excellence?

NO. Because those aren’t the things that are going to keep your vision clear on a deeper, internal level.

If I’ve repeated it once, I’ve repeated it a million times – People don’t care how you do something, they care WHY you do it. That’s the key.

Get clear on your WHY and you’ll be clear on your vision. Once you have that, the intrinsic drives take care of themselves and we become unstoppable.

So I’ll leave you with this very small but very loaded question…

What’s driving you?