Motivation is a very personal and individual driving force that moves us to action. It carries us through the greatest of challenges. It is tested regularly and can change throughout a given initiative. The most simple foundation of defining our own motivation is "Why should I do this?" and in some cases, "What's in this for me?"
As a child, I was not a fan of doing chores. I didn't like cleaning my room or washing the dishes. I just wanted to be outside and play with my friends. Playing brought me joy, laughter, interaction and adventure that doing chores never offered. When I wanted to go outside, I would ask Mom and Dad and was met with a decision to make.
"Pick up the few things you have out in the living room, pick the clothes up off your floor and show me your finished homework, and you can go outside," they would offer.
Some days, I got excited and would run, top speed, through the house marking each of those items off of my mental list, while other days, I didn't consider the offer to be of value and would return to my room to play anyway. It was a test of motivation.
My wife makes similar offers, still today. When I tell her I think I might want to have some friends over on Friday night, she responds with, "That would be great, but not unless we get the house clean first."
The work we do professionally is accomplished in the same manner. Some people are money motivated, others are employed at places that offer amazing benefits. When I'm told by people that they just love what they do and want the company to succeed, I ask them, "Would you feel the same if your pay and benefits were taken away from you?"
Much of my family is involved in volunteer work, which seems to many people to offer nothing for personal gain. Consider this; when involved in volunteer work, some people have a sense of purpose and an overwhelming feeling that they've made a difference. Their driving force is making a difference and it's a personal gain for each of them.
People in leadership roles often speak of motivating others. "How Much Water Do We Have" challenges that concept with a redirection of thought that it's impossible to motivate others. The real challenge for leaders is learning what truly motivates each person and provide opportunities for their own personal gain.