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What Motivates You?

Mar 31, 2013

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA International speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in career development, business planning, brokerage management, leadership, and instructor development. What sets Read more

Do you know what motivates you? This is an extremely important question for those of us in self-directed businesses--I'm speaking to all agents, managers, owners, and trainers. Do you think money is an effective motivator for our types of businesses? Think again.

Stunning New Research about The Realities of Motivation

In his fascinating book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out a persuasive case, backed by extensive scientific studies, about why money, and the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ motivational methods just don’t work for us today. It’s especially true with real estate professionals. Why? Because we in effect work for ourselves. We have to be self-starters, initiators, and tenacious in our pursuit of our goals. That means we have to be motivated by things other than promises of material things.

Why Money Doesn’t Work as a Motivator

First, as Pink points out, money and/or material things are good short-term motivators. (Read Herzberg’s studies on short and long-term motivation). In fact, just take a look at the number of real estate agents who are motivated to visit an open house when there’s food! But, as Herzberg and others have pointed out, money is a lousy long-term motivator. You know that if you’ve tried motivating your kids with money—or threats (the carrot and stick).

I know. You’re thinking, “If I just had more money, I would be fine.” So, let me ask you, what are you willing to do to get that money? Lead generate more regularly? Make more sales calls? We all know that lead generating is the answer to that money problem. Yet, the vast majority of agents avoid lead generating as if it gave us some chronic disease! So, money is just not an effective long-term motivator.

The Best, Deepest, Strongest Motivators We Can Use to Motivate Ourselves

Pink shows, via extensive studies, that there are three driving motivators which we should put to work today to fire ourselves up, keep those fires lit, and achieve what we want to achieve. They are:




In this challenging environment, knowing all you can about how you and others (like your clients!) are motivated is critical to your success.

Questions to Uncover What Motivates You

Money or the 'carrot and stick' approach has no lasting power--and they motivate the wrong people (It works only for those doing repetitious, unchallenging jobs). Not only that, people today just don't like to be manipulated with 'pie in the sky' promises or threats.

Daniel Pink says that we are motivated by either autonomy, mastery, or purpose. Here are questions to uncover what motivates you.

About Your Autonomy

Are you in charge of your own business, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what to do?

Do you expect your manager to make you go to work, or are you self-directed and self-starting?

Are you disciplined in your business, so you can enjoy that autonomy?

Seth Godin, author of Tribes, says about autonomy: The art of the art {of autonomy} is picking your limits. That’s the autonomy I must cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.

Are you just playing at being your own boss? Do you expect someone else to hand you success? How much ownership have you really taken about that autonomy?

About your Mastery

Are you working just to get by, or are you consistently working to get better? What do you want to excel at? How does that translate into your business?

Have you ever done something to mastery? How did it feel? Is it important to you to do some things well? What things?

Have you considered mastering selling real estate?

About your Purpose

What excites you so much you can’t sleep at night?

Is there a way to translate that to your real estate business?

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business. Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard University

As you can see, today people in creative, challenging businesses (real estate professionals) are motivated by inner drives. How strong are these drives in you? Which one is dominant? How can you use this for real estate success?