Inner Motivation

I had the pleasure of seeing Kurt Kiser speak recently.  At one time he did the sports for the regional CBS affiliate, so he was a name I was already familiar with.  He had aged since I had last seen him on TV, but all in all he looked well.

During this speaking engagement, for a local business and civic group, he told the following story:

Little Jimmy played football, but he really didn’t play.  He showed up for practice, and gave a decent effort.  But he was smallish, unathletic, and somewhat withdrawn.  In short, he didn’t get a lot of playing time.  And it didn’t seem to bother him too much, so he quickly was kind of forgotten by the coaches, unless they needed a blocking dummy.

One Friday evening, Jimmy’s father died.  He ended up missing school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  When he returned on Thursday, he seemed strangely chipper.  The boys father had died less than a week before, and he was literally begging the coaches to let him get in the game to play.

Game time came, and he continued to harass them so that he could get in the game.  They were fairly puzzled because this little boy had never asked to play, never really seemed to care more than just showing up and being a part of the team.  And now, all of a sudden after his father dies, he is insistent that he has to play.

So the game goes on, and Jimmy stands no more than 2 feet from the head coach.  Every chance he gets he asks, “Is it my turn now?”.  Finally, in the 3rd quarter, the team is handily beating the other team.  So the coach puts little Jimmy in for his first action ever.  The kid plays…not so good.  He really isn’t an athlete, and just doesn’t play well.  But when the game is over, he is literally beaming with pride.  He is overjoyed, to be more precise.

After the game, the head coach comes up to Jimmy to congratulate him on his play.  While they visited, the coach asks, “Jimmy, why did you want to play so bad?  You have never shown so much interest….what changed?”

Jimmy looks down at his feet, and gets real somber.  He then looks up at the coach with tears in his eyes and says, “Coach, you know my dad died last Friday, right?”  The coach responds in the affirmative, and Jimmy goes on, “What you probably don’t know is that my dad was blind.  Tonight was the first time he would have ever had a chance to see me play.  NOW it matters.”

Now, I am an emotional old sap.  When you talk about a father/son relationship, I am prone to tears.  I take my job as father VERY seriously.  So this story really touched me.

Little Jimmy had all the motivation in the world…but it came from within.  This is that special essence that you have to tap into, especially in a leadership role.

Monetary incentives only go so far.  Motivation through fear doesn’t not have efficient results.  But if you can spark that inner something, you can move entire armies.

It was a great story.  I hope you like it as much as I did.

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2 Responses to “Inner Motivation”

  1. Ok, I had my 5 minute cry for the day. Beautiful story.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Harriet Fernandes, Reveille Patterson. Reveille Patterson said: Inner Motivation http://wp.me/p112K9-ag […]

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