Architecture is a profession that requires a certain amount of motivation. It may not require more than any other profession per se, but it seems like the topic of being and staying motivated is one discussed quite often among architects. This is definitely a conversation to have over a beer with your colleagues so that you can get deep into the minutiae of the topic. It will almost inevitably lead you all to discover that everyone has their own reasons to stay motivated, but they are all critical to creating forward progress and some concept of success within the profession of architecture. That is what we are discussing in this Episode 081: Motivation.
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What is your Motivation? jump to 2:16
Everyone has their own motivations to go the extra mile. But that motivation, whatever it may be, is what each person uses to make themselves do that which is beyond the expected. I don’t think that anyone who does all the additional things that put them ahead does so without some type of motivation. It has to be there in some form.
The best way I can clarify motivation is that “Motivation is the ingredient that defines the difference between desire and will in the process of setting and attaining goals … “Motivation” initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. A short post on the topic from 2014 started my thinking about this issue as I moved forward in my career. I started thinking about my life goals when sometime around this post. I definitely was not thinking about this as a young person fresh out of school and just starting my career.
Task, Results, and Goal-Oriented Behavior jump to 7:31
Task-Oriented Individual: The task-oriented person generally has lower-level responsibilities. They are given a specific task to do and that’s the extent of their responsibility. This does not mean that the task is simple or not important; it just means that the extent of responsibility is limited to accomplishing a part of the whole. In my field, some examples of tasks might be to draw the interior elevations, or dimension the floor plan, or fill out the window schedule. These are specific tasks that do not extend the responsibility upward. This is the first step in a process of increasing responsibility yet this is basically finite work. There is a ‘thing’ to be completed and that is all there is to it. It is a part of a whole for sure, but it is just a part.
Objectives or Results Oriented Individual: The results-oriented person has more responsibility than the task-oriented person because they are in charge of achieving a set result and have the responsibility of determining how to get there. That means they are in charge of the tasks and the tasks oriented individuals. These are the project managers who are told the goal, “this project needs to be released for permitting in 6 weeks”. The project managers then go about the process of breaking the goal into tasks that can be distributed among team members. This group is good at executing a plan to achieve the objective. They have the ability and knowledge to break down the larger objective into those smaller finite tasks. Often this is due to the fact that they have already been through the task-oriented phase of their career. While it is not always a requirement, there is a benefit of having completed the tasks that you are now distributing to achieve those desired results. Many people can spend their careers in this part of the process and this is not because they do not have the capability to progress to the next level, but that may not be one of their personal goals. They are excellent at managing objects and creating the best results possible.
Goal-Oriented Individual: The goal-oriented individual does not get distracted by the process but rather stays focused on the big picture – the goal. Determining the big picture is what the best leaders do but you have to go through the process of collecting the skills and abilities to effectively lead. You need to understand the tasks, how they come together in a plan that fulfills the objective, and how all the objectives together achieve a goal. There aren’t any shortcuts, you may have the ability to move through these categories more quickly than others, but make no mistake, you do need to go through the process. Everyone has experienced the boss who micro-manages things – is this ever brought up as a positive trait?
Internal and External Motivations jump to 14:57
There are two basic types of motivators, Extrinsic and Intrinsic. The Extrinsic motivators are those that come from outside sources. This could be your family, your boss, or of course, money. These “outside” forces can always be a factor that drives someone to do more than expected or required. Those can be intertwined with the goals in some way also. The goal is to pass the A.R.E. so that I can then gain responsibilities and then increase my salary. So there are some direct relationships between the goals and the motivations to achieve them.
The other type of basic motivator is Intrinsic. Those are the internal factors that push someone to do more and strive to reach goals. For some, this is a type of internal competition. Can I make myself do it? Is it possible for me to achieve? This type of competition is only with oneself. It is not with any external element. Some of us are more risk-averse than others. While this can be impacted by external reasons, it can also just be a part of who you are. Nothing wrong with that. You have to be comfortable with your decisions.
Work-Life balance vs. Motivation jump to 34:35
I feel compelled to bring this next comment up even though it’s probably going to make a handful of people mad at me, but you can’t be all things to all people all of the time.
If you are motivated to experience success in your career, you are not going to have a work-life balance. I’m not sure how I want to present this but I hear a lot of chatter, see a ton of Instagram posts, TikTok videos, and on and on, from people who advocate that you have to have a work-life balance. First, I want to go on record to say that I absolutely agree that finding balance in your life is important. I want you to be happy – work on your mental and physical well-being. These things matter and I am going to acknowledge on record that they are important … but please realize that all the good things that come from working your a$$ off are less likely to happen for you. Nobody continues to receive raises and promotions by doing only what is expected of them. I only bring this up because unsurprisingly, professional growth and making a bigger salary are huge motivations for people.
Would you rather? jump to 45:28
Today’s question was one that Bob created and he seems to think he has a very straightforward answer due to a few specific instances… I am not certain I agree. Ants and fire (not fireants!) versus snakes and bears seem to be a critical part of this discussion.
Would you rather live in a cave or a treehouse?
This question was a quick reflex response for both of us but then we maybe talked our way around it for a bit, to then end up in the same place with our choice. The reference to the treehouse television show is here in case you are unfamiliar.
Andrew’s treehouse, a lá Robinson Crusoe, admittedly does look pretty good but with a little Google searching, you can also find some amazing non-claustrophobic caves that are worthy of setting up shop.
Ep 081: Motivation
Motivation is the thing that drives you to achieve success, to reach your goal, to better yourself. (more about setting goals) Anything that’s worth doing is hard and there will be times when you really don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices. I can tell you that regardless of your own goals, it’s going to require you to actually do something … and for some percentage of the time you are working towards that goal, you probably won’t want to do it. But that’s why you set goals – to help motivate you towards achieving something amazing.
Special thanks to today’s sponsor Sherwin Willaims – for more information on coil coatings, please visit coil.sherwin.com