In my career I’ve worked with dozens if not hundreds of authors and thoughts leaders. Their content could not be more varied and they come from a variety of amazing backgrounds. There have been world renowned academics, members of the Saudi Royal Family, CEOs of publicly traded companies, former CEOs of global organizations, CEOs of hot rapidly growing startups, former Super Bowl winning athletes, a ton of keynote speakers, several top TED speakers, Green Berets, and (of course) consultants and passionate people from every walk of life.
So, they are all very different and their content is as varied as they are; however, I’ve found that each of their motivations share a few commonalities. It’s a bit like our DNA: we all have similar genetic makeup, but our unique strand is what makes us who we are. I find that the three things that drives us all, both intrinsically and extrinsically are money, ego, and evangelism, and we each carry a mix of each.
Money: For some cash is the only thing, or at least the primary reason why they do what they do. For others, it’s either not important at all or merely a way to gauge how their platform is doing. I don’t judge and realize everyone has different reasons for doing what they do; however, money is not the primary motivator for most. Sometimes it is a priority because they want to get to a specific level so that they avoid stressing over money or they have pet projects that they‘d like to fund with the fruits of their work.
Ego: Ego gets a bad rap. Granted, this is a somewhat subjective statement, but a healthy ego is a very good thing. Too much of an ego and you’re a narcissist, too little and you lack the courage or self confidence necessary to do what you love. Following your passion and spreading your content in new and exciting ways should be gratifying to your ego and I encourage thought leaders to be honest about that reality. In fact, they should embrace the pleasure they get from the ego side of their work. It’s a very strong motivator for many.
Evangelism: I’m not talking about the drink the Kool-Aid, take nine wives, and my religion is better than yours type of evangelism. I’m talking about the drive that many thought leaders and authors feel to get their work out to the world. For many this is one of the primary reasons they were put on this planet. Again, this can be a really wonderful if done in a way that is respectful to those that may either disagree with your perspective or just not be all that engaged in what you are doing.
Think about what drives for a day or two and then draw a circle. Divide that circle into slices with each slice representing a percentage of each of the above. There are no right or wrong answers to these slices. In fact, those ratios will change over time as you evolve. Having a visual representation of your motivators creates a pretty powerful visual and can help you understand where you are now and how you can adapt your strategy to maximize the impact of your ratios.