Motivation – mindsets

Motivation and attitude go hand-in-hand. For me, true motivation comes from a specific attitude/mindset. Yes, we all have lofty goals and ambitions which we want to make happen. But real motivation comes from the attitude that causes you to “go for it” despite everything your brain, body, and environment is telling you. When working in a group or organization for change we constantly face non-motivational pressures or competing motivations that don’t match up with our goals and aspirations. Getting along, keeping the peace, lowering our own personal stress level, having to face people and have difficult conversations at times, and making difficult decisions are all part of the counter-motivation we face in schools. Most teachers are people pleasers and that’s usually a good thing. Not always the best for leaders seeking change. That’s when the mindset, the attitude, and the swagger have to be aligned to build up your motivation to get things done. Anything else (different attitudes) are probably more of a coping mechanism/comfort measure than a mindset.

I look back at times when I was highly motivated and think about the attitude and mindset that went along with that state. One of my favorite expressions is, “get your mind right”. The attitude that accompanies a motivated state includes feelings of passion, grit, excitement, enthusiasm, swagger, confidence, and occasionally a touch of hostility. This is the fighter’s opening theme, the football team’s rally before the big game, the warrior’s battle cry, or even the daredevil’s quiet moment before they risk it all.

To me, this attitude is not a peaceful one – it’s a little crazy, it’s a little cocky. You have to “pump yourself up” and take that dare to do what you need to do. It is a test of wills, it is personal, it is something you have to want and believe in. It’s not something that trickle-down to you or that is being passed on to you or something you reluctantly accept. You need to be the boss of it, in charge of it, responsible for it, and dedicated to it. It is staring directly at something you fear pointing your finger in its face and walking right past it even though every nerve in your body is on high alert.

I believe we need this kind of attitude and motivation to do the right things for educational change. They kinds of change we are talking about cannot be done by always being polite, quiet, nice, kind, and peaceful when we face other individuals and groups who foster fear, stress, anxiety, and negative feelings. Our role as leaders is to take the culture back, take the message back, take the relationships back, take the narrative back, and most importantly take our schools back.

So go do it. This is your motivational wake up call and do not press snooze. This is your year, this is the year of “no excuses”. Dedicate your mind, dedicate your time, dedicate your attitude to getting it done. You can do it – you will do it. Do not let anyone stand in your way do not let any excuses or self talk get your way. This is not a T-shirt slogan-this is the sweat at the end of the day that your T-shirt is dripping with! That’s your catchphrase.

This sports quote brings to life my philosophy of motivation, attitude, and mindset.


Get your mind right.

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One thought on “Motivation – mindsets

  1. I love this, Matt! My favorite line: “It is staring directly at something you fear pointing your finger in its face and walking right past it even though every nerve in your body is on high alert.” We all faces fears every day… tiny or huge… and we have to have the right mindset to face them and conquer them!
    Thanks for this uplifting post and for joining the linky party!

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