I was recently on a phone interview, and found myself pleasantly surprised by a question asked by the interviewer. In the midst of discussing the company’s culture, I was asked “What motivates you?”. For a moment, I sat in silence and thought about what was being asked of me. I did not want to provide a factory baked answer full of sugar to make it sweet because I thought he would see right through my answer. I did not want to insult his intelligence with a fluff piece that poorly represented me, so I chose to pause instead. When I finally broke the silence by repeating the question, I simply stated “Life”.
I sensed a hesitation on his part, and I was not clear whether it was due to disappointment, or uncertainty, so I chose to elaborate on my answer. I married the love of my life in my early twenties, and after a year of marriage and a short tour overseas, my husband became extremely ill from anthrax. In what felt like an instant, our lives changed. Up was down, right became left and our new reality became a jagged pill that was hard to swallow. In the midst of what felt like a nightmare we could not wake from, life kept going. It was unforgiving that way. I think that it was because of those difficult times that life motivated me because I learned that it can change at a moments notice, and when it does, we can either learn to adapt and evolve from that situation, or we can allow circumstances to anchor us to the ocean floor and drown while staring up at the surface.
Since the day of my interview, the question and my answer has remained on simmer, and I continued to think of other situations where life motivated me to want and do more. I thought back to my favorite work experience. It was a great company, I had a wonderful boss and team I worked with and I simply loved the culture of the company. I was doing rather well and looking at a possible promotion when everything instantly changed in one morning while driving into work. I was sitting in traffic at a traffic circle, waiting for my turn, when a truck slammed into the rear of my car and smashed my car into another truck in front of me. I’m thankful that the accident did not prove to be fatal for any of the parties involved; however, I was left with injuries that changed my independent status to being dependent. In the end, I had to walk away from the job that I loved and moved home with family to help me during my recovery process. I sulked in the misery of my pain for a while, but before long life kicked in and pushed me toward recovery.
Although I could have answered the interview question with a more specific answer such as family, friends, money, success, or any other answer that would shine diamond bright, I chose an answer less refined. “Life” is the umbrella that covers everything. It is a broad spectrum of instances and circumstances that are waiting to be discovered. We never know what is waiting for us around the corner, but I have learned that the human spirit does not die, nor does it go down without a fight. Now I ask you, how can that not motivate anyone?
What motivates you?
Have a wonderful week everyone!