Knowing that you have value and add value to everyday situations whether in your professional or personal life is
one of the most important motivator. Hearing your alarm clock in the morning and getting your feet on the ground is much simpler when you know that you have purpose to do so.
I have been reading Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (amazon) which is the author’s story from his perspective as a psychiatrist in Concentration Camps during World War II. The below excerpt is discussing the mental state of fellow prisoners:
“A very strict camp ruling forbade any efforts to save a man who attempted suicide. (…) I remember two cases of would-be suicide, which bore a striking similarity to each other. (…) Both used the typical argument — they had nothing more to expect from life. In both cases it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them. We found, in fact, that for the one it was his child whom he adored (…) for the other it was a thing [unfinished books he authored], not a person. (…) This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. (…) He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.'”
I have highlighted a few key phrases. When I read this passage, it struck me completely because I had been thinking a lot this last week about how my job keeps me motivated because I feel that there is purpose for me specifically to do the things I do.
The first highlighted sentence speaks such a simple truth. It does not matter whether expectations in your mind are from God or man, knowing you are being held accountable and have responsibility for more than just yourself, is a powerful feeling.
This knowledge follows me home as well. With a four month old girl at home that looks around at all her surroundings with an expression of awe like she is seeing everything for the first time every time, I have a responsibility as her father, that not a single other person in this world could have quite like I do.
Knowing my purpose, reminding myself of my purpose daily and most importantly acting with my purpose in mind gives me motivation to do great things.
And as a leader, the best motivation that I can give to my Sailors is making sure they know that each of them have purpose.