The ClientWise Blog

What Motivates You?

Posted by Chris Holman on Aug 6, 2010 10:52:00 AM


Lately, for many of our coaching clients we have been thinking about the subject of motivation. For financial advisors and entrepreneurs especially, this is an interesting and always timely topic.

Coincidentally, there was a short piece this past week in Forbes that addressed this topic from the standpoint of entrepreneurs, "Why Serial Entrepreneurs Can't Stop." In this article the author contends that the motivation for entrepreneurs, especially the "serial entrepreneurs", i.e. those go-getters who can't stop creating and building new companies is...a sense of purpose. For them, changing the world is part of their quest. As such, their work is never done.

For the top-performing financial advisors who we work with, we also see them driven by other desires, such as:

  • Achieving a goal...personal, professional, material,
  • Reaching a lifestyle that is equal to, or better than, that enjoyed by their parents,
  • Building a profitable and sustainable business that will survive them,
  • Validating themselves in their own eyes, as well as the eyes of their peers.

Push/Pull Factors for Entrepreneurs
For entrepreneurs, there have been some interesting studies that investigate the key motivating factors for starting a business. Generally, the factors are split into two underlying reasons...Pull and Push factors.

Pull Factors for Entrepreneurs

  1. Independence, or the feeling of being in charge of one's own destiny
  2. Money
  3. Challenge and Achievement
  4. See an Opportunity
  5. Lifestyle

Push Factors for Entrepreneurs

  1. Job Dissatisfaction
  2. Changes within the workplace
  3. Children, i.e. financial concerns, a desire for flexible schedules, etc.

Interestingly, Pull Factors for entrepreneurs seem to be much more persistent and sustaining than the Push Factors.

As coaches, one of the frequent questions that we encounter is how to boost ambition. Without being completely directive and telling our clients what to do exactly, we have seen success for clients who do two things:

  1. One of the keys to ambition is the understanding of one's own motivations. If you can understand what drives you on a day-to-day basis, your path to increasing your ambition becomes clearer.
  2. The other method to jump-starting ambition is to get you out of your comfort zone and take some risks. Ambitious people don't settle for the status quo. They seem to be continually testing the boundaries of what they can comfortably do, on both a professional and personal basis.

For closing thoughts, let's turn to one of our heroes...Mark Twain...whose memory has recently benefited from the publication of a 500,000 word autobiography:

"Keep away from the people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."...Mark Twain

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Topics: Entrepreneurs