Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Motivates You? by Brad Bridges

What motivates you? 
Think about it. We all have motives. Some good, some bad. But very few of us stop to identify them, evaluate, and, if necessary, change them.

I frequently hear people asking why their political party does not win. Some complain about the actions of coworkers as a reason for their poor results. Others find a way to make all the problems of the world about other people.

Honestly, I make mistakes in these areas frequently myself. I think selfishly. I regard my goals or thoughts as more important than others. I look out for my own interests.

At a basic level, self-preservation motivates me; pride motivates me.

Okay. Now that I have that out (my guess is that you are in the same boat with me), let’s look at a few tangible ways that we can shift what motivates us.

1) Identify Your Motivations
Ask yourself what motivates you? (Warning: this can be emotionally painful). Ask someone who knows you well what motivates you? Take some time to write down five things that typically motivate you. (Note: be honest with yourself, it helps no one if you lie).
2) Evaluate Your Motivations
When you look at the list, what surprises you? What frustrates you? What encourages you? Where do you need someone else’s help? Although it’s a painful process, it is helpful to see your motivations written on paper (or typed) with some critique as well.
3) Change Your Motivations
Doing this alone is tough (enlist a friend, family member, or colleague). If you don’t like what’s motivating you, ask yourself what you are afraid of. Ask God to give you wisdom and to change your heart.
In the same passage where Paul discusses how Jesus emptied himself out and came to earth to die and be resurrected on our behalf (Philippians 2:5-12), we find clear instruction on motivation. Paul writes, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Ask yourself, what changes do I want to see in my life? If you haven’t seen the results you would like, perhaps an analysis of your motivations could help.

As Craig Luper recently reminded us (Identity 7/24/11) if we are to find significance rather than confusion, hope rather than desperation, we must root our identity and motivation in Christ. Motivation rooted in your identity in Christ will yield humility rather than pride, selflessness rather than conceit, and community rather than independence.

What thoughts do you have? What motivations do you plan to change? What impact would a motivational change have on your relationships, career, or future?

Brad,  Lindsey & daughter Shiloh 
Brad loves Tarheel basketball, pork BBQ, bluegrass and classical music. He and wife Lindsey are executive and life coaches and English teachers with an international foundation in Uruguay. Interact with Brad on Facebook,Twitter, Personal Website, or Coaching Website.


  1. Brad,
    Great devotion. Really caused me to pause & think about what is motivating my thoughts & actions.
    Ann Wayne

  2. Thanks Ann. I'm glad it was helpful for you. What ideas do you have for more regularly evaluating you motivations? In other words, what would it take for you to make what you just did a habit? -Brad

  3. Well, I guess first I would have to stop and ask God if my thoughts and actions were honoring him...and take a look at the scriptures to see if I could find something to back up decisions I am making. Then I would need to take a look at myself and see if my motives were selfish or selfless. And I think asking a trusted & wise Christian friend to give their insight too is good. Accountability is always helpful.


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