Every person has their own set of motivators. Some people are motivated by learning, others by beauty, helping people, tradition, money, and/or power. While the news often leaves me wondering what motivates a person to do something awful and hurtful, real life has me questioning the opposite. What motivates someone to do something selfless and gracious? What makes a person willing to (literally) give a piece of themselves in order to help someone else?
Over the past few months, I have been working with a client who has not only made awesome strides in changing his life, he has inspired me and others with his genuine generosity. Joey and his family have been experiencing a lot of heartache, grief and frustration this year as his father has been very sick and in need of a kidney. Finding a kidney is not easy, and donating a kidney has it’s own set of risks. So, it came as a surprise and shock when Joey announced he would donate a kidney to his dad.
While Joey’s gift is certainly something very honorable, his girlfriend and family were fraught with fear and anguish. What if Joey experienced complications? What if he needed his kidney someday? What if something went wrong during his operation? For months the family, friends, and I worried about what might happen as a result of Joey’s noble actions. But, not once did he worry. He wanted to do this, there was no question in his mind. He was motivated by something very personal and innate that made him want to help, regardless of any potential danger to himself.
Then, around Thanksgiving, another donor came forward, someone out of the blue and unrelated. Joey was no longer at risk, and all the fears and emotions that people had been feeling were suddenly unnecessary. When I think about all the stress and anxiety that surrounded Joey’s family and friends, and then have it all dissipate as if there was never any risk, I am reminded of how important it is to live in the moment.
When we live in the moment, whether at work or home, we are able to more fully focus on the things that need our immediate attention, things we can control. We don’t waste time and energy on the “What if’s” of life, and instead we are able to dedicate ourselves to the here and now. Worry, fear, anguish and anger can consume us if we hold on to these emotions. The goal, then, is to feel them briefly, acknowledge what we feel, and move on. After all, no one knows what tomorrow may bring, so why not think positively about it?
As you start the New Year, find what motivates you to be and do the best you can in every situation. Your motivation can carry you to great heights. And, give yourself the freedom associated with letting go of the “what if’s” so you can invest your energy in the things that matter right now, instead of worrying about problems that may never appear – your year will be far more successful if you do.