What drives your decision making? Let me ask that again. What REALLY drives your decision making? What are your motives when it comes to making choices in your life? Whether it’s as simple as, “What should I eat?”, to something as complicated as, “Should I move my family across the continent for a new position in my company?”, the motives we base our decisions on have the power to make us or break us. It is crucial that we reflect and self analyze the real motives that are driving our decision making. Perhaps we are making decisions on false motives that we are not being honest about.
For the past three years I have been wanting to change my position in my career. I went to school, obtained more degrees than I need, and finally achieved certification to move into different levels within my career. It’s been three years of applying and getting rejected. They say rejection gets easier over time, but the truth is, rejection hurts the hundredth time as much as it does the first. After so many rejections, one might think to stop and reconsider their motives and decisions for wanting to make changes or move into a different position. However, here lies the trap we all set. We have good intentions and desires, and we make those our motives, but in reality, there is a good chance that we have a subconscious motive that is truly driving our passion and desire.
I wanted to move up in my career to be more hands on and helpful for teachers. I wanted to move into administration and have a role that works more directly with teachers and support them in their roles by encouraging them to be amazing educators. I wanted to empower teachers to try new things, come alongside them and help revitalize them as they start feeling burnt out, and I wanted to encourage them on their path to becoming even better educators. All of these things, I thought, were my motives. However, after applying for a recent position and being denied, again, I took time to stop and reflect.
I started by asking myself questions, which, to be honest, were not easy to answer. A good friend of mine also asked me questions, and one of the questions she asked me was, “Why did you want the job?”. I answered the same way I started this blog; because I wanted to be an administrator. She then said, “Yes, but why?”. What she was really asking me was, “What are your motives for wanting to be an administrator?” My answer was the same as previously mentioned: I want to support and encourage teachers in a more direct role. This is where things got interesting for me. She then proceeded to ask, “Can you do that in your current role?” When I read that question, I was speechless. After thinking about it, the answer to her question was, “Yes!”. Admitting this forced me to reconsider my motives.
Through deeper reflection, and being enlightened to the fact that my intentions for wanting to be an administrator could be done as a teacher, I discovered that my subconscious motives for wanting to be an administrator was…money. Moving into an administrative role brought more money. With the stresses of higher prices in our country and being the only one bringing in income for my family, I subconsciously started thinking about the need for more money. Now, let’s go back to the driving question, “What is the REAL motive for wanting to be an administrator?”. Underneath all of the positive intentions, the real reason for wanting to change my job was money.
Would more money be nice? Of course, but I don’t need more money to support, encourage, and help my current colleagues. I can do that right now by making the choice to invest in the people around me. Sometimes, being in the trenches gives me a better opportunity to invest in and support my fellow colleagues than stepping into an administrative role. I have learned that money can be a good motivator, but it should never be the sole motivator in decision making.
We need to be careful not to allow our good intentions to overshadow our motives. We may have great intentions, but our motives might be selfish, greedy, egomaniacal, insensitive, and much more. We must spend time truly reflecting on what our motives are for the decisions we make. We may come to find out that our intentions can be played out right where we are, and our motives for wanting change may be to cover up issues, run from problems we are avoiding, or to chase selfish ambitions. As a leader, it is crucial that we are always keeping our true motives in check. We need to be honest with ourselves, and if we see any motives within us that lean toward selfishness or selfish ambition, we need to reassess our “Why?” and focus on the mission of selfless leadership.
As always, stay humble and serve well!