Motivation: It isn’t what you think it is….

Do you know what motivates you? This is an extremely important question for those of us in self-directed businesses–I’m speaking to you, agents (and to myself, of course). Do you  money is a main motivator? Think again.

Stunning New Research about The Realities of Motivation

In his new 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:




Recently, I did a webinar for the National Association of Realtors’ Learning Library on Motivation. If you’d like me to do that webinar for your organization, contact me at In this challenging environment, knowing all you can about how you and others (like your clients!) are motivated is critical to your success.

In my next post, I’ll go more deeply into what each of these 3 motivators means to you