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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: M is for Motivation


Welcome to week 5 of my D.R.E.A.M.S. series! I love inspiring moms to dream big and hope that you’re getting value from this. 

I’ve enjoyed sharing pieces of my journey as a teenage mom – how I relied on determination, resourcefulness, energy and ambition to get over obstacles I faced. 

This week you’ll see how motivation kept me focused on my dreams as a young, married mother of four children (born in 1992, 1998, 1999, and 2001).  Crazy, right?

Before we get into that, let’s define our topic of the week, motivation.

What is motivation?

I asked my 15-year old daughter what motivation means to her. She said it’s “a physical or emotional thing that keeps you inspired to do something”.  I thought that was a brilliant definition. In the world of psychology, motivation is defined as “a process that initiates, guides or maintains goal-oriented behavior”. 

One source of personal motivation for me was my family.  Remember how I let my dad down when I became pregnant at 17?  I was motivated to show him that I would still make something great out of myself even though I was a teenage mom.  

Later on my children became a driving force of motivation in my life.  I felt guilty for taking time away from them to attend class and spend countless hours studying and writing papers. 


There was no way that I would quit.  In my mind I owed it to them to graduate because of all the time I spent away from them pursuing my dream.  As they got older and understood that mommy was in school, I had to show them how hard work pays off when you’re dedicated to “doing something”.

Outside of my dad and my children, a large part of my motivation was intrinsic.  I had a burning desire and would not stop until I made it happen. 

Along the way my close friends kept me from giving up on my dream.  My best friend, Nyali, was a huge motivator for my academic achievements.  We were always at the top of our class in middle school and high school.  After high school, Nyali followed the traditional route of going straight to college.

The celebration of Nyali’s college graduation served as motivation.  Watching Nyali graduate kept me “inspired to do something”. Even though I was married, raising a young family and working, I knew I could still finish my degree as long as I didn’t quit.  When Nyali finished medical school, I re-committed to my dream of obtaining a graduate degree, although it seemed very far away.

Today Nyali’s children are much younger than mine for obvious reasons.  We both agree that even though our paths appeared to be very different (traditional vs. non-traditional route) our outcomes are still the same – we are educated women balancing the responsibilities of careers and motherhood.   

Last week I touched on having like-minded friends who support your dreams and hold you accountable.  Although Nyali wasn’t purposely holding me accountable, she kept me inspired, as my daughter said, to “keep doing something”.              

                                   

As I look back on my life, it’s hard to believe that my oldest son is celebrating his 21st birthday this month. He’s grown into a responsible young man, pursuing his college degree while working.  It seems like yesterday when I was pushing his stroller off the field of my high school graduation ceremony.
Although the road hasn’t been easy, it’s a journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.  The valuable lessons that I’ve gained from being a teenage mom and a young wife have made me into the woman I am today.
I am grateful to my parents for challenging me in ways that I didn’t recognize at the time.  I am grateful for my children because they taught me so much about love, sacrifices and dedication.  I am grateful for my dear friend Nyali who kept me motivated over the years, even when she didn’t know it.

 

Let’s talk about

YOU now.

Who and what keeps you motivated on a daily basis? How do you stay focused on goals that seem far off in the distance?  Are you surrounding yourself with people who inspire and empower you?  Share your comments below and I promise that I’ll respond.

Next week we’ll discuss the last segment of this D.R.E.A.M.S. series – strength.  I hope to see you then.

Lots of love,             

Erica                 

P.S.  Don’t get sad because we’re almost at the end. I have something new and exciting in the works for you after this.  Stay tuned for more details…