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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hmmmmmm - is it time to reevaluate your X? It is mine!

Sunday Story…X Marks the Spot

Every great pirate story has a treasure map. And on that map X marks the spot. X is where the treasure lies. X is where all the trails and travails will lead. You might have to fight your way to it but X is the fulfillment of the dream, the destination of the journey.

SO…what’s your X? What will it take to get to X? Do you even know where X might be? Have you lost your map? Are stuck in the part of the journey in a dead-end… you know, the end of the maze where there is no cheese but you can smell the cheese, you just can’t find it?

Way too many of us have lost sight of X. We have stopped looking for the treasure, stopped searching the world high and low for the X that will give us what we really want. Maybe you don’t think X is really out there anymore. Maybe you don’t believe the effort is worth X anymore. Maybe you believe your map is flawed…it’s certainly possible, after all, in many pirate stories the first map is a decoy, the one that isn’t real. Maybe X just doesn’t motivate you anymore and you really should be looking for Y or Z.

Why aren’t you looking for your X? Scared? Tired? Numb? What happened? What caused you to give up on the treasure map? Were there too many dead-ends, too many twists and turns, or did you just get sidetracked and forgot where you put the map? And what is it going to take to get back on the search? Because obviously just having X is not enough. And not having X is not enough. Because if either of those things were true you would be tearing up the world to get to X and if you didn’t have the map you would be tearing up the world to find the map.

And this is the real rub. What is your motivation for looking for X? Why do you even want to? It’s my guess that you stopped looking for X because you lost your motivation to get X. That whatever X is for you isn’t enough in and of itself…it rarely is by the way. You see…the treasure, the pot of gold, the big reward isn’t really why you go through all the trials and work to find X. No it is something else entirely.

Think about this for a moment or two…why did Captain Ahab chase the white whale across the 7 seas? It wasn’t because he wanted a whale sandwich. Why did Michael Jordan practice so much to become the basket ball player he became. Do you really think it was just for the multi-million dollar contracts? Why did Sir Edmund Hillary climb Mt. Everest? How about Magellan and circumnavigating the globe? Just for money? Just for the riches that might come their way?

Motivation rarely comes in the form of extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards are the things I get for doing something that someone else gives me, like a good grade or a paycheck. I exchange a certain amount of my time for a certain amount of money. Oh boy. I get good grades in school so I can get into a better school, so I can get a better job, so I can exchange less time for more money. Oh boy. Sign me up for that one! Yet we do this all the time. And we eventually begin to believe that those extrinsic rewards are the X on the treasure map. Because if we don’t really believe that we are going to have a serious problem. We might have to figure out what X really is. And why we want to go out and get it.

Motivation arises from intrinsic rewards. What I am going to get for doing something needs to reside in me. It needs to feed the inner fires inside of me. Have you ever wondered why one person does a menial job, say sweeping floors, just well enough to not get fired and the next person is the most outstanding floor sweeper ever? They both get paid the same? The best floor sweeper is working for an intrinsic reward. I am reminded of the story of the 3 stone masons…when asked what he was building the first stone mason said, “A wall.” The second stone mason replied, “I am building a building.” And the third stone mason said proudly, “I am building a cathedral that will edify God and inspire people to grand works.” Who do you think is working for his X?

What’s your motivation? Are you building a wall for a paycheck? Or are you building a cathedral that will have lasting impact on your life and the lives that will come after you? Because X really isn’t enough is it? Unless X is the legacy you will leave. Unless X is the intrinsic reward that will create the life you were meant to lead. You see X might mark the spot but it is the journey to X that creates the life that inspires the rest of us. X might be just a building…but a cathedral and what it took to create that cathedral, not just the bricks and mortar, but the spirit and the effort and the soul of the creators that has us sing praises.

Find your treasure map and your X. What inspires you to build a cathedral instead of a wall? What is it going to take to get you back on the trail? What journey will inspire you to get on the search, to get back to building a life of inspiration and legacy?

X might mark the spot but it is the journey that makes finding X worth the work!



“Teaching Focus, Inspiring Transformation”

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