What’s Your Motivation?

Finding your motivation in business

If You Don’t Know… Find It Fast

Seems like a harmless question.

Simple to answer, at least at first…

But then, when you really start to think about it – you realize it’s a lot more complicated than you first thought.

There’s your students; I mean, you certainly care about them.

And then, there’s your family. You want to provide for and support them.

And also, there’s your style and your love for the martial arts. You teach because you enjoy sharing something you love.

But the fact remains…

None of that may be THE reason. Your primary motivation. The one that keeps you up late at night. The one that has you awake in the early hours of the morning, writing down ideas and planning ahead.

But, that’s the motivating factor that WILL see you through the tough times. The times when you just want to give up. The times when you are ready to throw in the towel.

It’s the factor that makes you go another day, when you feel like you’ll never realize it.

You need a primary motivation that is that strong. And if you don’t have one, well…

You’d better find one fast. Because being in business is rough. Oh sure, it has its rewards. But getting there is often a long and difficult road.

Call it a “burning desire”, your “inner fire”, your passion, your raison d’etre… whatever.

Just know that it’s important to find it, to kindle it, and to keep it strong.

Because it’s probably the one thing that will keep you going until you reach your goals.


  1. Sean Russell on February 18, 2010 at 12:58 am

    What motivates me? I opened to make money, to have more time, to teach an art I love. Yep those where it, noway man! I opened so I could get great at the basics of my art, period. Yeah yeah, all those other things are coming but I truly opened so I can practice my San Soo everyday without being interupted by work!!

    My Art has a calculation of 3,860,000 possible combinations and that is with out our leverages and throws. I was told it would take 5 life times to learn the entire art. Wow, I only have one and better make good use of it don’t you think. Selfish motivation I guess but that is what works. Not to mention, I am like a bulldog and refuse to fail. I might make a lot of mistakes which I already have but I will regroup and conquer!
    I didn’t write this post for you guys I wrote for my own motivation!!! See more selfishness.

    Have fun all!

  2. Mike Massie on February 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Sean, “enlightened selfishness” is okay by me. :)

  3. Jason Stanley on February 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Great post… as you say the passion is what’s missing for most people.

    I initially started teaching for the love of it which is still my primary driver.

    However, in my previous job working 60-70 hours a week, I realized that working 9-5 (and some!) was overrated!

    At that time I thought, “What if I could teach full time? What if I could do something I love for a living? What if I could set my own hours? What if I could be my own boss? Other people are doing it – why can’t I?”

    At that time I made a commitment to myself that no matter how financially difficult it would get, I would never work for anyone else again… 7 years later and I haven’t gone back on that vow.

    A mentor of mine said to me when I was deciding whether or not to teach for a living, “So long as you work for someone else, you’ll never be the master of your own destiny.”

    His advice sticks in my mind and continues to motivates me now…

  4. Mike Massie on February 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Funny you mention that… I have a similar story. When I was teaching part-time one of my black belt students was a successful entrepreneur in the tech industry. He told me point blank that I was the type of person who had to call all the shots, and that I’d never be happy working for someone else. That was the day I decided to just go for it no matter what it took.

  5. Byron on February 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I was just sitting here writing down why I wanted to open up my own school and checked my email.. I currently teach my own classes but want to open up a semi large school, maybe 250-300 and maybe even more than one school eventually but I couldnt figure out WHY?? or “Whats My Motivation” but I guess it’s Money, the enlightening feeling of dealing with HUNGRY beginners and to hopefully become a solid marketer as a result of the practice growing my school provides.
    Yeah, I think thats (IT)and I wouldnt mind home growing a few PRIME Time FIGHTERS

  6. Catherine Radley on December 1, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Great question. I’ve recently left my job and opened a full time dojo. I’ve been teaching casually for 9 years, and always wanted a dojo of my own. And like you say, there are lots of reasons. But I think the biggest one for me is the untalented students – the ones who don’t know left from right, who can’t make a fist, who can’t stand to be within range or make eye contact. The ones who seem as though they must force themselves to come to training every session, and plug away at it, struggling along. And one day, they discover… something. That they are strong, or confident, or whatever. They see how far they have come, how far karate has taken them. To get to be a part of that is such a privilege.

    Tora Shotokan Karate-Do Canberra

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