Determining your motivational strategies require in-depth self-awareness. Tests available on the Internet to assist in identifying your motivational strengths such as “Mind Tools” or “My Personality” located at:

In my opinion, testing is simply an indicator of what “makes you tick” and can point you toward motivational methods. Taking available online tests can be fun.   See if your knowledge of “self” is consistent with test results. Use this information as insight and not absolute truth.   As human beings, we are very complex.   Our motivation is typically a combination of many positive and negative stimuli.

Case in point: Way back in the 70’s when I was in my 20’s, I worked in an insurance agency as a customer service rep.   I had my state insurance agent’s license and wanted to try my hand at selling insurance, rather than just being an assistant to the agent.   I was given a test, which was to be an indicator of my potential success.

The results showed I would only be an average sales person, as “I was not money hungry enough” to become a top sales person. I found the test consisting of seemingly unrelated questions.   However, over time the results were actually quite realistic.   The test did not reflect my value system and concern for the client.   In my mind, this factor was equal to or greater than the love of money and is very powerful in securing and maintaining clients.

In case you are wondering; no, I was not allowed to be a sales person; my love of money was not rated high enough.

In the world of sales I found, the “positive” focus of being rewarded with money was encouraged by the “negative” consequences of not making the sales quota.   Like I said, most motivation is typically a combination of both positive and negative stimuli.

Let’s look at another example. In our work environment, there is motivation for maintaining or improving work performance.   Positive motivation may include a “pat on the back”, “increase in salary”, “notoriety among co-workers”, “time off”, etc.   Negative motivation may include “no bonus or raise”, “being ostracized before co-workers”, “fear of looking like a failure”, “reduction in self-esteem”, etc.

This again shows a balance between the positive and the negative. An adult, who is self-aware and possesses a healthy self-esteem, takes both the negative and positive and interprets it within their knowledge of circumstances. Perhaps the appraisal time frame included the death of a close family member, illness, receipt of a good fortune, excitement of the birth of a child, etc.  Another consideration could be an unhealthy individual performing the appraisal with motivations of their own. Not excuses, but are real considerations.

Computing the internal and external factors along with the appraisal information will determine how much of an impact this package of information should have.   This information is filtered through the motivational drive-scale.   The drive-scale is forever changing due to life circumstances, wisdom and growth of knowledge in self.   The impact of the appraisal event may elicit a positive or negative motivational response and birth future change.

The aging process provides a treasure-trove of previous experiences and outcomes, to which we can use to evaluate the possible outcome of current circumstances.

A simple example: How many times would it take placing your hand on a hot stove burner before you realize you should not do this! The positive motivation includes wanting to keep your hand in perfect working order. The negative motivation is pain, scarring, not being able to use your hand.

One rather extreme real-life experience following this pattern ……

During my working career the use of personal computers at home and in the workplace came into existence.   When others were learning how to use the computers, I was a stay-at-home Mom with my son, Daniel.

The time came when both Daniel and I were ready for me to re-enter the work force.  It was a frightening time.   During my 7 years at home it seemed like the entire world changed.   The workplace was not the same.   My motivational drive-scale was fueled on the “positive” side in earning additional income for our family; my desire to go back to work and revive adult friendships and interactions; renew my self-esteem and hone new knowledge and skills.  The “negative” motivational side included not saving money for the future, risk losing even more contact with the work environment and rendering myself unemployable; stagnating in thought and skill.

Rather than go to work for someone else and having to leave Daniel in the care of a stranger for a portion of the day, I came upon a great idea!

I would start a Medical Transcription company working out of my home! How could it be any better!   I had an extensive medical background (I have not spoken to the details of this yet), I was willing to learn how to use a computer and I was a fast typist. What more would I need—how could I go wrong???

Fact: According to the Medical Transcription Association in the 80’s, the failure rate of a single individual working from home was 98%. Yes, that is correct – the failure rate was 98%. The proven success rate working alone at home was only 2%.

Did I really know who I was?

(Stay tuned for Part 3 of this Motivational Series where using my previous experiences was my salvation)

Disclaimer: Kerry K Strickland does not present herself as a professional in any area of mental health or professional counseling. She is a US Federal Government Certified Mentor/Coach and presents herself as a student of all that surrounds her. She has spent years observing, speaking to and helping people of all ages. Her degree is self-assigned as “a mamma that has been very active living life and being up front and present”.

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