When you were a child, perhaps as young as seven or eight-years old, do you remember parents, teachers, or friends and family members asking you that all-consuming question, “What do you want to be when you grow up, Susie or Sam?” And then, just a year later you were asked again, and then again, and yet again, until you were in high school?
How many times over the years did your answer change? Are you doing now what you envisioned doing—when you grew up? Are you fulfilled in that career path? Most people you talk with will probably have the same answer. No! The reason may be as simple as this: that you never discovered your intrinsic motivation.
I remember having this discussion with my father when trying to decide what to major in when going to college. I wanted to major in music. His answer to me was, “You might want to consider being a secretary. Music won’t pay the bills. Get a steady job that will pay the bills. If you get married one day and something happens to your husband you will need to know how to manage your money.” I don’t blame him for giving me that advice. He was looking out for my welfare. That was the mindset for women when I was growing up.
The world has changed since I was in a position of having to make such choices. Today, society in the United States has a plan for your life. It’s called moving up the ladder of success, and the influences are strong. Yet, this ladder is not in line with the ladder to fulfillment and purpose that you were born with.
I often tell people who are searching for their perfect job or purpose to recall their childhood memories. What gave you great joy? What were some of the things you did on a consistent bases. Did you like to play with intrinsic toys that challenged you or did you prefer reading. Did you like to play with toys or did you prefer sports and action games? Were you shy and timid or were you outgoing and like engaging with people? All of these are signs that point to your God-given motivation.
Imagine this. You do not like getting up in front of others – for any reason – whether to talk, to sing, to dance, to do a report, or even raise answer a question if called on in front of a group. This might be the first sign that have a gift to serve and not to lead. Servants like to quietly follow. They do not like to be in the forefront and lead. On the flip side, if you have a motivation to facilitate projects and don’t have a problem delegating – you actually don’t like following others – then most likely you have a motivation to lead. You will never be happy being a follower (unless you are on the path of learning how to function in your gift). Good leaders oftentimes must be good followers first.
If you have a great deal of compassion for people you may not want to enter the world of management where the bottom line – profit and loss – is the most important aspect of your work. However, if that position is in a field where people are indeed the most important aspect of the job, and you have a leadership gift as well as a mercy gift, then you will be fulfilled.
You see, God gave each of us gifts that will never leave us. Just like fingers on our hands and toes on our feet, every part of our body is important. Some of us were born to be fingers and others were born to be toes. A hand cannot do what the knee does and the liver cannot do what the lungs do. Get the point?
Your character and personality traits are intrinsically a part of you and no amount of money will fulfill you if you are not motivated to function in a position that doesn’t allow you to flow in your God-given gift(s).
Time for a change? It’s never too late to take a vacation and discover what you were created to do. Be honest, be courageous, be determined. All you need to live on is food, a few pieces of clothing, and water. The rest will take care of itself until you take the plunge and launch out into the deep.
Help your children discover their motivation before they are in a position of having to make such serious life choices.