“She loved even the hard work – not only for the result it bought but for its own sake.” This is a quote from In the Woods, by Tana French, a wonderful, sort of mystery, set in Ireland.
I like this quote because it is an example of a theory of motivation developed for high performance athletes, called the Resonance Performance Model. RPM was developed by Dr. Doug Newburg at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, after interviews with hundreds of high performing athletes.
There are three elements of RPM:
• the dream,
• extensive preparation,
• a strategy to overcome obstacles.
It is the second element, extensive preparation, that is relevant to the quote.
Preparation involves all the activities you engage in to make your dream happen. But for a high performing athlete this preparation is not drudgery; it is not something the athlete is compelled to do. Instead it is something she wants to do, something that has real meaning to her, something that is indeed a integral part of her dream. The incredible amounts of time the high performing athlete spends in preparation makes the dream a part of her every day existence.
Getting to the place where you love the hard work is possible for those of us who are not highly functioning athletes, and is even possible outside of sports. But if you want to be motivated by the hard work, you need to be doing what you love. And that may require you to put some work into finding out what you love. Authenticity is what motivates you to love the hard work, doing the work that you were meant to do.
I speak to so many people who want to love the hard work, but don’t love it. Instead they do the hard work for the results the work provides, money, prestige, power, whatever.
I used to be at that place, too. But I didn’t like it, so I put hard work into finding out what I could do professionally that would get me to that place, that place where I loved the hard work it would take to get successful in my profession.
The hard work I put in involved buying a book called What Color is Your Parachute, and not only reading it, but working it. After completing it, a process that took over six months, I found my ideal career. I have recommended the book to every person who has ever complained to me about their job.
If you are at a place where you are not loving the hard work you do, and wouldn’t mind working hard to find a place where you would love the hard work, I recommend the book to you.
But don’t just buy it, read it. And don’t just read it, work it.
I did it, and I am grateful every day.