October 9; What Is The Root Cause of Your Motivation?
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Ten: Deciding 9 October

For in him all things were created:

things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,

whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;

all things have been created through him and

for him.

Colossians 1:16

What Is The Root Cause of Your Motivation?

The Reason

The job applicant was over qualified. He was exactly what our team needed. He was living in boisterous New York City, but was now sitting in a job interview with me in quiet Richmond, Virginia. He was applying for a state government job with a four-year term. We would be lucky to get him.

He was an outstanding match to the job description. His experience fits our needs. He loved our work and the team loved him. It would be a win-win and all that. He was perfect. But.

But something was not adding up…


Helena (aka The Diva) at the controls

The very young Helena (aka The Diva)
at the controls, controlling her world

Why should I trust you? Why do you want this job? Why should I do business with you? It is not enough to tell me how fabulous you are or how fab your product is. I want to know why you are driven. There is always a root cause; a reason why. Find it in yourself and tell me.

What is ‘inside’ that works to help those ‘outside?’ Why do you work? Don’t tell me that you “love people.” My dog loves people. Give me the reason.

Author Simon Sinek gets us thinking on “The Why” people and organizations do what they do.

Let us look deeper to other possible origins. The reasoning of why we are motivated can be explained through,

  • Trauma
  • Young memory
  • Mentor’s guidance

Trauma. We recognize and remember pain. We avoid it for ourselves and should help others avoid similar agonies. Your Business Professor has committed countless errors and this propels me to help others avoid such misery. It is an attempt to salvage some good for others from ‘my bad’ as the young might say.

Mentor, childhood memory

Mentor, childhood memory
Your Business Professor with John at 4 yrs old

Young Memory. Picture the momma duck with her baby ducklings following behind her. She’s bigger, more experienced and wants to protect her young. Our word picture of our deepest motivation provides the compelling reason we do what we do. “Follow your passion?” Sure. But tell me why.

“My daddy always said…” “I was there…” is a good way to explain why you are so inclined. It is easy to understand motivation when a person points to childhood experience and its accountability throughout life. Imprinting can be understood just as a duckling will follow his larger mother for food and safety.

Mentor’s Guidance. Finally, personal motivation can be revealed by referring to following a mentor’s advice. It is cliché to speak of your third grade math teacher who sparked your interest in finance. But it is the believable bridge that moves you and explains your position today.

Colossians 1:16 tells us, For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Why did The Creator, well, create us? For himself; to have us in a relationship.

Got Questions Ministries writes, “God is a creative Being, and it gives Him pleasure to create. God is a personal Being, and it gives Him pleasure to have other beings He can have a genuine relationship with.”


…My gut was bothering me about the perfect job applicant. Something was missing from his curriculum vitae. I needed to know the why of why he was sitting in front of me. I test him on geographic motivation. I asked him, “Why on earth would you leave The Big Apple for the small potatoes of the Confederacy’s Capital?”

The job applicant got still and lowered his eyes. He raised his head and said that both his parents were ill and he needed to be close by with his extended kin and the family’s large land interests. “It was,” he said, “Time to come home…”

Now I knew his why. He was hired and served the organization well. The ‘why’ matters.



You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Abigail Sullivan says:

    Interviewing seems to be something that will always be stressful. I never exactly know how to answer the “Why Here?” question. I always assumed the interviewer would want me to talk about how great the company is and in a sense praise it. I never thought their end game was to know more about the interviewee on a personal level. I am thankful to have read this article seeing as I have two interviews coming up this week. Now I know how to answer the “why” question, whether it be due to a trauma, young memory, or mentor’s guidance-I need to be open with the interviewer and connect with them on a more personal basis.

  2. Anna Lucius says:

    I think that the article pointed out some great reasons for why people are motivated. I know that I can say that I was motivated by a mentor when I was growing up. I was inspired by a friend of mine who was working in the political-healthcare sector and that sparked my interested in healthcare. Moreover, my young memory of wanting to be a doctor accompanied this motivation. However, as for the trauma origin, I can’t honestly think of a childhood example. I know that trauma can lead people toward wanting to build up again and even go further but I can’t think of an example for myself.

  3. Melynda Post says:

    The motivation for why you are working in a specific industry or doing a certain job can set you apart from other applicants and your peers. Everyone has a specific reason and motivation for why they are where they are today. No one wakes up and just picks a random job industry, without having one reason for why they would want to do that, even if it is very small. I like that the reader is shown that your motivations can be separated into three categories: trauma, young memory, and mentor’s guidance. Everyone can identify with one, if not all of these examples of motivations. When walking into a job interview, you should always be prepared to talk about why you would be perfect for the position, and these examples provide an excellent framework.

  4. Sean Duthie says:

    This article clearly highlights a key aspect in what matters when considering a potential candidate to be hired. Anyone can have the credentials, grades, or experience for a job, but motivation is something unique that unambiguously brands that individual, and can be valued even higher than any credit or commendation on a resume. Coming from experience as a captain of the JV lacrosse team in high school, if I saw a teammate who doesnt get much playing time or have much experience, working harder than a starter, I would tell my coach to put that other teammate in because his stronger motivation to succeed will benefit our team more in the long run.

  5. Elizabeth Backe says:

    After reading this article I realize that motivation is so much more than a “love” of something. Motivation is deeper in truly asking yourself why are you doing this and what is going to keep you motivated in doing something. I can relate a lot of my work motivation to the mentor’s guidance aspect in that I have always looked up to my father and how hard he works each and every day to support our family. The motivation for him is my family and he rarely complains about it. I can also relate to the trauma aspect of motivation because I know of many times I have made mistakes and errors. The disappointment I felt along with the idea of them ever happening again motivates me to not make them.

    The why most definitely matters.

  6. Michelle Bouchard says:

    It is interesting to condense a world of different motivations into three specific categories. But I also believe that it is accurate. Whether it be following in your father’s footsteps or chasing a childhood dream, everyone’s motivation develops from some initial event or person. However, just because it is possible to generalize these sources of motivation does not mean that it is easy to pinpoint your own. There could be multiple factors at work, or you could still be searching for your motivation. I do believe that uncovering what drives you is vital to your ability to continue progressing in the professional world. You will never know where you are going until you uncover what got you started.

  7. Steven Neville says:

    I’m glad I read this article. I have always felt like the only person who noticed when others somewhat, for lack of a better word, schemed, their answers when asked, “Why are you in this major?” or “Why do you want this job”. Between hearing other students go on about a love of numbers and enjoying counting, due to me being an Accounting Major, or from me hearing others say they are good swimmers and, in order to be a lifeguard, I have gone bananas. I always had different answers, I didn’t have a love of counting numbers, since a young age I’ve known several Accountants in my family and they told me how awesome it was to help out others save money, all while making money of course. Life guarding? It wasn’t because I was on a swim team in high school, it was because two of my uncles have regaled me with rescue stories since my earliest Christmas and Birthday parties. I completely agree with the premise of this article, that there must be a core reason as to why you are in that interview room, because I, like many interviewers I’m sure, am tired of hearing the same old, programmed responses to those questions asked.