Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cattle Prods and Fireworks

What motivates you?  Are you a 'get it done' person or a 'it can wait 'til later' person?  I think that most of my friends think that I am a 'get it done' person.  They mainly believe this because the majority know me from a leadership role that I take in my community.  It makes me look....well....organized, motivated and passionate.  A few years back during my return to further my education (art school) I was a crazy, rabid student who turned in more work than was required. I got up at 4 AM to study for tests and never missed a class.  Prior to starting a family, I ran a public relations consulting business.  Never missed a day of work.  When my kids were younger, I was that mother who had them looking snappy 24/7, baked cookies for the school fundraisers, decorated the house for the holidays like I was on steroids.....ridiculous, really.  I mean, who the heck did I think I was? Martha Stewart!?!!  (Boy, did she turn out to be an interesting role model.)

My parents, specifically my father, had a hard time motivating us as kids.  He would call out in his demonstrative voice,  "Get going before I have to stuck a cattle prod in you!" -or- "If you don't get out of bed, I am going to put fireworks under your butt!"   Cattle prod?? ........... Cattle prod??  You are kidding me, right!?  Am I a cow?  I would lay in bed wallowing in my teenage outrage for a few minutes.   Eventually, I did get up and get motivated before he came back to check.  My brothers?  Not so much.  I look back on that and wonder why he never got the cattle prod or fireworks out for them.  Funny thing is, they both still need a little fireworks to get them going.  Me, not so much.  But I do need a motivating factor.....or things just don't get done.

Desk at midway point.  Primed, 2 coats of paint
and the beginning of hand painting on the drawers.
Which brings me to the point.  I have learned since graduating from school a few years back, that I am not self-motivated.  I mean, come on, it has been over three years and I haven't produced one body of work or for that matter created any piece of art that is worthy of showing.   Like I said in my first posting, I have allowed myself to be distracted, be demotivated, made excuses, busied myself with other stuff.  You name it, I have come up with it.  I have struggled with this and pondered on this. 

One thing that I believe I have discovered about myself?  I have to CREATE a motivating factor. I have to 'light fireworks' under my butt.  (Thanks, dad.)  When I ran my business, the end result was an income.  No work, no eat.   When my kids were little, I was the one responsible for their health and well being.  No chance here to let down.  When I went back to school, I had a thing to prove to myself.  You see, with my the first degree I spent way too little time on books.  In the end, I got the degree, but was always embarraced of my 2.8 grade point average.  At forty, I had something to prove to myself.  I wasn't average or stupid.  I wasn't lazy or unmotivated.  I could do this.  It worked because I put pressure on myself to achieve and the structure of deadlines that college provided were the fireworks I had been looking for. Aha!  I NEED those fireworks.  I NEED those cattle prods.

So why am I going on and on about this?  Well, I'll explain.  When I started this blog, I knew that the blog needed to be daily so that I would be forced to focus everyday on my pursuits.  I also knew that I needed to create deadlines.  I work better with them.  I also knew that I needed to be held accountable, which is why I invited friends to read and post daily on my Facebook page.  At almost 47, I have discovered how important that cattle prod is for me.  How ingrained the need for motivation, albeit self inflicted, is for my productivity. 

Throughout the last week, I have had countless friends say to me, "Why are you pushing yourself so hard on this Secretary desk?  Why are you stressing yourself."  You see, the deadline to re-finish the secretary desk has been a very tight schedule.  But, I haven't been stressing myself.  Oh contraire!  I have been loving this!  My deadline is today and I am almost there.  I want to enter this project in an online blog party on a blog that I really enjoy following, Miss Mustard Seed.  It is a Friday furniture party.  The pressure of the deadline and the accountability is all the fireworks I need to push forward.....Ya know, the stick in the butt! 

So, now I gotta ask.....What is your motivating factor?  Do you need fireworks under your butt to get going?  Do you use accountability to perform?  Is there something that you have been wanting to accomplish and just haven't been able to find that cattle prod hiding in your closet?  Well, figure it out!  Life is short and the clock is ticking!  Make everyday count......

Final Results Tomorrow.

-The End-


Anonymous said...

Interesting question. Great blog! I think I am pretty self motivated. Always set high goals in my art, my cooking and now my running too. And like you, had to get A's in all my classes!! I get extremely annoyed at myself when I fall short!!!! I sometimes have to remember to let off the gas, but I do that pretty well in the evenings over a glass of wine..while planning my next meal, blog, painting, run..there I go again!

3reddoxies said...

I am not very self-motivated either. I often need an outside motivator. I THRIVE on deadlines! Love them. That's why I did well in live TV - you can never be late when something has to be on the air! So that's my way of self-motivating - set a hard and fast deadline.

Lisa said...

Ummmm hmmmmm what am I ----lol

tofubeast said...

Loving the sneak preview of the desk!! Looking good. Deadlines motivate me. I always did my best on papers and projects when the clock started ticking.

Anonymous said...

Once again revisiting blog. I have one current, real life actual deadline. Solo show in October. but think that I am working to beat the ultimate deadline..the one I don't know when will happen. Just want to make sure I get as much done as I can before that. So I am driven.