Money is not a Motivator

“Being motivated by money will only compromise our motives”


So there is this Citibank commercial from a few years back that says, “No kid grows up wanting to be money man.”

As we have entered the beginning of the year, I have had quite a few conversations about goals.  The first line item that usually comes up is how much money people want to make this year, which is really prerequisite in setting goals, right? This is why we work or at least this is the #1 reason.

Where I tend to want to cover my eyes and yet still peek through to watch the conversation unfold as if it were a car wreck, is when the goal sums up to how much money they want to make this year.  For example, if the goal this year is to make 200k and I have to sell this many units to get this and I need to talk to this many people to get this, then I can tell you, come April, I am going to wince every time I hear 200k, because it will be a reminder of what I haven’t done.


Expecting money to be a motivation to reach our goals is like getting excited about stockpiling hammers in the garage.


Money is a tool that affords us the ability to do something with it.  My brother is a contractor and he loves getting new tools, but it’s so he can save time, be more efficient and deliver better work.  This allows him to save time and money, thus giving him more time to spend on his boat or be with his family, which are the things that really motivate him.

Sustaining motivation has to be based on what our lives will be like when we arrive at our income goal.  When the added financial tools afford us to have more money freedom and more time freedom.  This is what having more provides:

Freedom to do what we want, when we want it.

So after you have written your goals out, write out your motivations.

Example: If I have a goal of taking a trip to Paris this year if I reach my goal, then your motivations are:

I will get to see The Eiffel Tower and The Mona Lisa in person which will give personal fulfillment and achievement

I will get to spend quality time and create lasting memories with________ making life with this person stronger and happier.

I will have a check on my bucket list and will not arrive at a place of regret when I look back on my life.


We also need multiple motivations:

ATTN Parents: Unless you are a horrible person, of course your kids are your motivation, but they aren’t the extra umph you need to do beyond what you have done.  They are your motivation to get up and be hard-working and responsible, but to be motivated beyond this… to produce to reach new levels in your business… to grow wealth, you need multiple motivations


Start posting pics all over your office, bathroom mirror, closet, car, where ever you spend you time getting “reved up” each day.  Take the pics from your phone, cut out magazines or download from the internet, whatever.  Add the statements of what your life will be like if have these things and you will see how much more productive your days will become.




Another 4 letter word…
When my wife was 10, she moved from Brazil to the US.  When your a 10 year old “brasileria”, moving to the Unites States is a Big Deal.  What little Debora wasn’t ready for was school.  Though in Brazil she was an ace student, the language barrier made school here very challenging.  In fact, on her 1st day of school her English teacher called her up to the front of the class to “demonstrate” how much English she knew (her knowledge base at this time…0).  The teacher had her point to the alphabet that ran across the top of the chalkboard and recite the ABC’s.  Obediently, Debora began reciting the alphabet, however it was in Portuguese, not English.  The children laughed and the teacher corrected.  In that moment, Debora was confronted with inferiority, embarrassment, shame, criticism, disapproval and humiliation.  Since that moment, my wife has had a high fear of public speaking.  I think we all would.

Public speaking statistically ranks higher than peoples fear of death.  If I had an experience like my wife’s it would likely be mine as well. Yet in reality, if we all looked back to our early school days, we can probably think of a similar experience.  Yet most people say that it wasn’t as traumatic.  The most interesting thing I am learning about fear is that when asked about our fears we all tend to suggest the same statement, “It’s not a big deal.”  We don’t necessarily say it, but we show it, we dance around the issue if it comes up, we shrug our shoulders or even adamantly deny that it causes any sort of problem.  Yet I can tell you as well as anyone who works in my profession will tell you, the issue with individual productivity and performance is almost always fear.
Fear prevents action.
When people come to me asking how to make more money, get more sales or even speaking in front of someone, the answer…. Don’t think, just DO.

Many moons ago, I worked as a counselor for a summer day camp.  Each year we took a field trip to Six Flags Over Texas.  Each counselor was assigned a group of 7 kids and I was assigned the oldest kids at the camp, but one 9 year old named Gene.  Gene was a funny kid who was exceptionally bright and witty who got along rather well with the 11 and 12 year old kids in our group.  As soon as we entered the park, my group and I darted for The Shockwave, one of the best roller coasters on the property.  Just as it was our turn to ride, we broke into pairs and Gene became my ride buddy.  Gene was full of excitement for this ride up until we started getting in the seats.  Gene quickly panicked and got off of the train and said he would wait for us.  So we did just that.  In fact we did that same thing 4 times on the same ride.  Gene was excited, got on, them quickly got off.  Now I knew that I couldn’t have Gene do this all day.  I could get in trouble for letting him out of my sight.  So the next round we went through the same process, but this time as soon as Gene sat down I pulled down his harness immediately and held it until it locked into place.  Now I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly patient and understanding, in fact I told Gene that he was riding this roller coaster whether he wanted to or not.  Before we knew it, the train took off and Gene started screaming like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert.  When the train pulled in I knew I was fired.  I just knew Gene would get off the ride and run to my supervisor and get me in trouble.  Yet as soon as the train stopped Gene was beaming.  He loved it!  so much so that for the rest of the day he was the first in line for every ride after that.  He couldn’t wait to ride again.  Gene’s initial fear kept him from something that he quickly came to enjoy.  I often wonder if the very thing we are afraid of would become the thing we love if we would only change our perception of it or like a roller coaster, perhaps the enjoyment comes from being scared.

Funny thing, is that I do not even need to mention how to overcome fear.  We already know.  WE know what we need to do, we just don’t see why we need to.  For example, people that are afraid of public speaking are not afraid of the actual act of talking in front of people.  They are afraid of being humiliated, embarrassed, criticized and rejected as a result of being in the spotlight.

So then the “WHY?” is….

Indiana Jones.

My brother and I were talking through some of the challenges we were both facing at the time and he said something to me that has changed the way I see fear and the way I live my life.  He said, “I am tired of viewing life attempting to avoid what I am afraid of and I am done trying to control the direction.  I am going to look at life as an adventure.  Like Indiana Jones who is standing in front of an angry native tribe or lowering into a pit of snakes, I am going to embrace the adventure.”

We have all said this statement that “life is like a roller coaster.”  What makes a roller coaster so much fun is the parts that scare you.  The climb to the top is slow and boring, but the big drops the loops. Those are the parts where you throw your hands up and scream.

This is how I am choosing to do life.  I am going to embrace the adventure.

What If…?


“What if?” is the question artists are asking constantly, the question that preempts amazing thoughts and ideas. “What if?” asks the impossible.

As kids, we used to ask this question all the time with friends. What if there were trains that went to the moon? What if you could fly? Where would you go? What if aliens invaded the planet? What if what if What if??????????

As we become adults the frequency of this question slows to a near halt. We come to conclusions and beliefs that “this is the way it is” and “this is just how it works” Yet I can’t help but connect that every great thing that has been achieved, every new innovation, new technology, new design has come from the minds of people that ask “What If?”.

I have a new phone that allows me to talk face with someone through my phone. I remember watching “The Jetsons” cartoon growing up and thinking “What if?” we could talk to people like that. Here it is, in fact this is the quote from Apple’s website on the new iPhone 4.

“While everyone else was busy trying to keep up with iPhone, we were busy creating amazing new features that make iPhone more powerful, easier to use, and more indispensable than ever.”


When we have been working in the same field or industry for a while, we can quickly come to believe that “this is the way it is” and “this is the way it works” and thus our business becomes stagnant. We use the “truths” of our industry to guide us down the exact same path we have been on and often that path is a big circle that we make, year after year, never reaching what we set out to accomplish. Sounds like the new definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.

So let the challenge be this: Ask “What If?” to everything you do this week, this month, this year. What if we tried a new marketing strategy? What if we stopped handling our clients like this? What if my current business is really failing? What if I had to start all over? What would I do differently?

Ask yourself these questions and tap into your creativity, innovate a new idea or strategy and become the person that everyone is trying to keep up with.

Finding Purpose

I have something terrible to admit.  I am unfaithful… to books that is.  I love to read, yet I am easily distracted by a new book that just came out.  Thus the current one I am reading get’s pushed back in the queue to make room for the new one.  Seth Godin has a book called Linchpin that talks about being indispensable at work.  One of the impacting statements he makes about being indispensable is an encouragement to “make art” in your job.   Whether you are an accountant, data entry, receptionist or a janitor, we all have “art” to offer.

For awhile now, I have helped companies and people understand personality types.  In fact, now at this point it has become a hobby as well as my profession.  For the hundred plus classes I have taught and worked with people on personalities, I have arrived at this point.   We are all very much the same.  No question we have our differences in gender, upbringing, culture, faith, region all are factors that make us unique and yes there are always variables,  but we all share major commonality.  However, there are things that do make us completely unique.  Seth’s idea of creating art and what I have learned so far on personalities ran me through a rabbit hole of thought that lead me to purpose.

Think about what art is.  Art is birthed from inspiration, is vulnerable, and created with the intent to simply create, not to make money and lastly art will never be produced the same way by any other human being ever.  Think about that.  No one is inspired to make the same art as someone else. A painter will never stare at a blank canvas and out of inspiration coincidentally, paint the Mona Lisa.  Now I realize that there are plenty of copies out there as well as people who make “art” for money, but that is not art.  That is just a painting, a song, video, not Art.  I have people tell me often when I mention this topic “I am not an artist.  I can’t even draw a stick figure!”  After reading Linchpin, I realized that art is not quarantined to museums, theaters and concert halls.  Art IS inspired, vulnerable, specifically unique to you.  It is the defining difference that, if you will offer it, it will be a specific mark on this world that can only be you.  Where your personality could mark you and a few thousand other people, your art will only ever be specific to you. Your art is something that you offer to the world around you as a gift from the depth of who you are, from who God has made you.

For those that do not know what their art is, your art is what you think about doing when you’re by yourself, the thing you would do for free.  It’s also the thing that you think about doing, but dismiss in your mind when you catch yourself thinking about it, because you have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

Fear, as usual, is the culprit reining in our art.  It whispers to us that not only we can’t do it, but even if we tried we would fail miserably and most of all tells you that you would lose everything.  Fear creates many excuses why we can’t and most of them are really good.

A note about fear:

Fear in life is like fear on a rollercoaster; it’s what makes the rollercoaster fun.  Otherwise it would be boring.  So don’t stop riding rollercoasters.  Throw your hands up and scream at the top of your lungs.

Think about the people whose art has inspired you.  Their books, lives, TV shows, friendship, leadership, work ethic, whatever.  What if they never made their art?   How different would our lives be?

I believe that God has placed within every one of us our Art.  Our art is God’s brushstroke in our design that is the unique expression of who we are.  It is the purpose of why we are all here.  Fear of failure, judgment and approval wants to suppress our art from being revealed and shared.  If we will  share our art, people will be inspired and then they will go on to inspire others with their art.  This makes passion viral and connects us all to something bigger than ourselves. When this happens, we discover purpose.   So be encouraged and know you are an artist, even if you can’t draw a stick figure.   Share with us your unique purpose and inspire the world around you and don’t forget to help others find their art along the way.

“The Experience”


Right now I am sitting in a Starbucks. It’s 10:45 on a Wednesday and the place is packed. Execs having business appointments, two different tables are conducting interviews, a student working on a paper and two people reading the newspaper. Most of all what I see is people connecting mostly with other people. Even for those by themselves, they are surrounded by people who provide them a “second-hand” connection. I wonder when Howard Shultz took over Starbucks if he somehow knew that coffee would create the foreground and ambiance for people to connect just as much as it would create a consumer desire for a latte.

What I love about this particular Starbucks is that there is no drive thru. It has a superfluous amount of big comfy chairs that says to me “stick around a while, make yourself at home.” Which I think explains why this place is so busy. There are many of us hacking away on the laptop, because we have subconsciously been invited to stay. We have all been to the drive thru Starbucks, the glorified version of McDonalds without the cheeseburgers. The drive thru concept has no doubt been a success for the company. Just notice the line of cars wrapped around the block in the morning as you pass your local storefront. I myself enjoy the benefit and convenience of getting my addiction (Venti Iced Coffee) fix without leaving my car. That said, when time allows, I love going in for my fix. If you pay attention, once inside, there is an experience that you quickly become a part of. The smell of coffee, the buzz of human interaction, the Starbucks “partners” hustling, down to the design, colors and layout of the store, you become immersed into Starbucks culture. This is the experience that the company so diligently has worked to create and uphold. In fact, as a former road warrior, the one thing that always seemed like home was Starbucks, because the experience was always the same, even when the people and décor wasn’t.

That said, my business mind looks at the drive thru concept and I get it. I can sell more products by getting more people through my store. I provide better convenience and accessibility thus more product gets cranked out leading to more revenue and more money. Think about it. I spent $2.87 on my drink and will sit here, taking up space and a table for roughly 2 hours. That couldn’t possibly be profitable or could it? If the drive thru concept makes more money, than why would Starbucks keep this store open or at least find a way to add a drive thru to it?

Starbucks and other great companies we admire focus on making a product that is exceptional and offers the customer an experience along with an exceptional product. The mistake in business is to just make a great product or just offer stellar service and we exclude the experience. Not because we don’t care about our customers, but because it costs more money. We see it eating in to our profits thus even if we try it for a while, we quit, because we just can’t get past the cost. So we tell ourselves in meetings and conversations that the customer doesn’t care about the experience. When you let go of creating an experience for your customers, you let go of creating something human, something personal. At this point you become a factory, not for your product or service, but a factory for producing money. This disconnects a company from its vision and will ultimately lead to stagnancy or worse, its demise. To build a great company with sustaining power we must export both a great product and more importantly, a great experience.


Ok, ok, ok…. I realize I am an optimist. So my perception on negativity is likely skewed.

I do not have a problem with someone venting their struggles to me. I cannot be so insensitive to not allow someone to be honest with their emotions to me either. When difficult times hit, we all find out who our real friends are. Due to the current times we are living in, negativity is running rampant and I need to get this off of my chest and give a shout out to all of my fellow optimists.

Let me first say that most people that I have run into that have been negative, had something bad happen to them. And in most cases, it wasn’t necessarily self inflicted, so they have a really good excuse to be upset. That said…………

Negativity is more destructive than we realize. Negativity will convince us that it is the truth. Because when we believe it is the truth, no one (not even an optimist) can change your mind. When we believe it is the truth it immobilizes you. When you world crashes down around you, it will make you believe that you are supposed to live in the rubble. You are to set up loudspeakers and remind everyone within earshot that your world came crashing down, that you didn’t deserve this and now you live in the rubble. This keeps you from rebuilding a new world, a better world. Negativity then robs us of the opportunity to develop this thing called character. When The Towers came crashing down on 9/11, it was character that resounded inside of the NY Fire and Police department to the President and to the city of New York. Their character saved lives at the cost of their own. Their character kept them working around the clock searching through the overwhelming rubble for signs of life and death. It is character that deployed our military and we have not had another attack since. See, negativity will rob us from defining moments. It will paralyze our will to press on, to search through the rubble, to rebuild. Negativity will also make us arrogant. So arrogant that we would actually believe that no one understands what we’re going through. So arrogant that when people offer to help rebuild, we do not let them, because they don’t know what they’re talking about. The reality is that we are ALL going through it. Life is harder for all of us. Negativity will not allow you to care and make you think that you still have it worse. It will dilute your compassion. When you hear of someone else who has it rough, even rougher than you, negativity reminds you that you live in rubble. You do not have the strength, time or energy to help anyone else, but yourself. Yet you do not even help yourself with negativity whispering in your ear.

Negativity will only become truth if you let it. It is all about perception. A house torn down represents history and memories to one, a new life and future memories to another. It depends on which way you look at it. Perceptions are not truth. They are perceptions. It’s how you see it, so if you have a bad view…. Change your view. Also, when negativity creeps up on you, tell it to shut up! Out loud, just say shut up. Your mind is like a tree. Blown by the wind of opinions and thoughts, but rooted by your beliefs. Negativity will always be in the wind, but it should not change your roots.

All of my fellow optimists out there…. Let’s keep rebuilding and when you encounter negativity, remember it is in the wind. We cannot change the wind. Though the wind might take a branch from us, we will not be uprooted by it and we will grow a new branch. And that branch will be stronger than before.

Sticks and Stones

Words have power.  Good and Bad, words have power to shape who we are.  Proverbs has a couple of lines that say,

“Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. 
Words kill, words give life;    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. ”

My daughter is beautiful and she knows it.   I know that she knows because she now tells me how pretty she is.  She knows this, because her mother and I constantly tell her how beautiful she is.  Our words are shaping her self-image.  As parents, we all want our kids to carry confidence like this, but we all know that before they become teenagers that confidence will likely be challenged by other peoples words.  We know this, because it’s what happened to us. 

It is words of others that not only shape confidence, but also insecurity.  The words of others that we will often hear and develop a belief system that could be beneficial or destructive.  It is the words of others both positive and negative that drive some toward success and some toward anger and bitterness.

These words cannot take root in us without our belief of them. Belief is definitely the second piece to words shaping you.  You have to believe the words spoken over you in order for them to shape you.  I cannot tell you that you are a terrible singer and have you be convinced, unless others have told you the same and causing you to be suspicious that we are all right.  At that moment, belief sets in.  Usually this belief happens either by repetition or by an event that makes a lasting impression on you.   

The good news… get to choose your beliefs.  We all have beliefs that are both true and untrue.  Beliefs that are by words.  So take some time and challenge those beliefs, especially the unhealthy ones, isolate the words attached to that belief and replace them with what you want to believe about yourself.  Fill yourself with words of life and spend time with those that will do the same.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will no longer hurt me!