Fifty shades of mojo: motivation means something different for everyone!

Everyone on the Racery team, both in Durham and Budapest, gathers one morning every two weeks to chew together on a big idea or question.

First thing this morning, we talked about “motivation.” Like I said, something BIG.

We chose to discuss motivation because, as you can see if you read the virtual racer testimonials, lots and lots of people say Racery motivates them.

Motivation brainstorming
Thirty minutes of brainstorming about what motivation means in the lives of various Racery team members.

We regularly get testimonials like “Racery has provided me new motivation to get out on the roads” and “it’s been a great motivator for me” and “seeing my progress along the virtual races keeps me motivated to get my mileage in.”

What exactly does “motivation” mean, though?

The dictionary definition seems simple enough: “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.”

But soon enough in our gathering this morning, we realized that everyone uses “motivation” in a slightly different way, with varying consequences in their own lives. At the the image at right, you can see the sketch board where we captured everyone’s comments. Motivation ideas are on the bottom. (Above that are possible motivation-boosting features in Racery that we might add or sharpen.)

In no particular order, here’s what emerged about why and how each Racery staffer gets motivated.

  • Try to keep up with someone, whether I know them or not.
  • Compete with someone — I want to try to beat or exceed them.
  • Be inspired by someone.
  • Keep up with my own self image.
  • Meet a personal goal.
  • To give myself a reward or carrot: a cupcake, a Netflix show.
  • To avoid failure.
  • To do my part for my team.
  • To win against another.
  • To feel validated.
  • To get a cupcake I’ve promised myself.
  • To get a Netflix show.
  • To conform to a plan I’ve created for myself.
  • To get points.
  • I know I’ll be happier.
  • To grow my streak.
  • I’m pulled.
  • I’ll be less stressed.
  • To help another (like walking the dogs.)
  • To keep up with my weekly goal.
  • I’m pushed.
  • To avoid embarrassment.
  • Because it’s part of a routine.
  • To know that others see me do it.
  • Do it because I have to… it’s not an option.
  • To set a positive example for others.

I sometimes like to think of Racery as a motivation factory. So it’s funny to think that everyone working in and on the factory has a different relationship with her/his own motivation.

Which leads me to ask: what does motivation mean for you?

[Update: here’s legendary runner Amby Burfoot’s advice on motivation.]