believeWhen I got to speak to the marine spouses at Camp LeJeune, I had the honor of staying at the Brigadier General’s house. What an honor! And what an extreme hardship, trying to be on my best behavior for that long. (He told me the bow was not necessary.)

Later he and I were talking about me being a motivational speaker, and I asked him this question:

My husband and I have this ongoing discussion (argument) about whether people can be motivated. My husband believes in the old adage that you can’t motivate people – you need to get the right people on the bus. While I understand that, I can’t help but think that some people can be motivated. And I think the military proves this. I know people who went into the military one way, and came out another. Your people are definitely motivated. So which is it? Get the right people to begin with, or can they  be motivated? And if they can be motivated – how?

Here was the General’s reply:

Yes, people can be motivated. It’s not simple, and it doesn’t happen in one step, but a series of strategic repeated steps. But they can be motivated. You just have to give them something to believe in bigger than themselves.

I don’t think it’s the military alone where this plays out. I think there are examples throughout our world and throughout history where people became motivated over a common goal or vision. So while some might not ever get motivated from an outside force, many can, and will be, if given something bigger to believe in.

And so I challenge you to look at your work and even your life as more than a job description or a line item on an application. I challenge you to rewrite that story to be much bigger than the job itself. Give yourself something bigger to believe in. Type it up and hang it where you can see it often and be reminded that you serve something bigger than the task at hand.

And who knows, you just might find yourself happier at work.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at or call 1-888-766-3155.

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