In the 1987 movie Wallstreet, Gordon Gekko offered the phrase, “Greed is Good”. Greed is what drove this fictional character to achieve his personal goals, and although I don’t subscribe to Gekko’s mantra, I do think that there are things that people generally see as BAD, that I would consider GOOD.
What I’m asking you to do right now, is to think about what your every day motivation is. That thing that you resist telling others about… that thing that others may tell you is bad. Maybe it’s greed or recognition, pride or advancement, compassion or fear. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s call that thing that resides inside of you – your “inner demon“.
Be honest with yourself. Take a few minutes and think about what your inner demon is. There are varying types of inner demons, some of which are rather tame and others (like Gordon Gekko’s) that are a bit more devious. Remember that you don’t have to tell anybody… this is your little secret. But in the spirit of fair play, I’m going to introduce you to my inner demon, and I would suggest that when I refer to it, that you take the opportunity to reflect on yours.
As a general rule, I understand and embrace the fact that I walk around each day with a certain amount of rage churning inside of me. When I refer to rage, I’m not talking about anger, but a fire in my belly that pushes me to do what I do every moment of every day. Maybe a more correct description is passion, but in all honesty, that thing inside of me is not always a positive so I call it rage. My rage is there when I wake up, and it’s there when I go to sleep. Admittedly, there are days that it burns white hot, and other days when it is a slow simmer, but it never goes away. Over the years, I have dealt with my inner demon (not always effectively) and I’ve learned how to harness that energy and to use it.
I’ve worked with people that have recognized my inner demon, and have cautioned me that I need to deal with it… Possibly through therapy? I, on the other hand have come to the conclusion that they do not understand that they have their own inner demon or what it means to embrace it. I’ve come to see this as my advantage, and their loss.
My rage, as you can imagine comes in many forms:
- the continued institutional corruption and financial status of the metropolitan area in which I live
- the horrible movie that my wife and I went to see the previous night – two hours of my life that I will never get back
- The fact that the Spartans managed to blow a second half lead
- That point in the season when I realize that the Lions will once again disappoint their fans
- Continued tolerance for a lack of accountability in the workplace
And the result of harnessing that rage results in as many outputs:
- It drives a never-ending need for change – to address what is wrong and make it right… good enough is never good enough
- It motivates me to interact directly with others – to ensure clarity & understanding
- It pushes me to seek out help from my Mentors, and to mentor others
- It feeds my determination to make myself and those around me better at what we do – to not be satisfied with the status quo
- It serves as a reminder that although my rage fuels what I do, it isn’t what drives those around me – it ensures that I provide the appropriate feedback to my team that will motivate them
What I’m suggesting is that you sit down and be painfully honest with yourself in identifying the inner demon that motivates you. And despite all of the politically correct thinking that those around you are spouting, embrace it and use it to fuel your efforts. Easier said than done…. I know. Instead of tucking it away, find a means of using your inner demon to make you and those around you better.
It must be said that this is not something that happens over a weekend. It’s taken me much of my lifetime to get to where I’m at. Admittedly, I’m a slow learner, but the first step is to realize what that driver is and embracing it. At that point, the difficult work begins.