Are You Motivated to Achieve?

October 26, 2019

© Carole Kanchier, PhD

Do you measure success by internal standards, rather than by status symbols or material wealth? Do you enjoy the process of learning, accomplishing, and mastering?

If so, you may have a high need for achievement. This personality trait is characterized by an enduring and consistent concern with setting and meeting high standards of accomplishment. The need for achievement motivates individuals to excel in activities important to them.

Research demonstrate that accomplished individuals, who regularly win awards, are driven by the effort rather than the result. Knowing you can attain a desired goal, enhances feelings of confidence and pride.

Where does the need to achieve come from? Some psychologists believe you are born with “competence motivation,” or the need for challenge and stimulation. Babies and toddlers have it.

Like toddlers learning to walk, many achievers fail several times. Most manage to extract lessons that subsequently enable them to succeed.

Michael Jordan, proclaimed by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as the “greatest player of all time,” said: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Many Questers, described in “Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life,” share similar stories. Unfortunately, many people are taught it’s unacceptable to fail. They walk away from opportunities without trying. The New Year may be time to enhance motivation to achieve!

Are you motivated to achieve?

  1. I am determined I will succeed in everything I do.
  2. I feel great after completing a difficult task well.
  3. I would rather have a challenging job than a boring job that pays more.
  4. I don’t have much ambition.
  5. My successes are the result of hard work, determination, and some ability.
  6. Being successful in my goals is very important to me.
  7. I want a secure not too difficult job that pays enough to have a nice car and home.
  8. Once I master a task I move on to other new challenges.
  9. I set high standards for myself.
  10. I often do as little work as possible to get by.
  11. I feel secure in my relationships.
  12. I always try to do a little better than what is expected of me.
  13. I measure my success by standards set by my peers.
  14. I enjoy challenging things.

Scoring and Interpretation: One point for each “yes” to statements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 14; and each “no” to statements 4, 7, 10, and 13. Add your points.

11 or higher: You tend to measure success by internal standards, rather than by status symbols or material wealth. You enjoy the process of learning, accomplishing, and mastering. Your work probably provides opportunities to fulfill these needs.

6 – 10: You seem to be a relatively easygoing person who is quite satisfied with your work and lifestyle However, you may tend to avoid difficult tasks for fear of failing. If you want to change, check your low scores for clues, then decide where you can make some modifications.

5 or lower: You may lack ambition or tend to have a rather lackadaisical approach to life. Do you tend to do as little work as possible and give up when the going gets tough? If you are happy with your lifestyle, that’s okay. If you are not, however, try doing something that will make you feel good inside. Volunteer for a cause that is important to you. Consider another job that will give you a better sense of accomplishment.

Tips for Achieving 

 – Set attainable goals. Set each new goal one level beyond your present level of accomplishment. Enjoy the process of achieving your goal.

– Experiment with standards of excellence. Set your own criteria. Instead of aiming for 100 percent, try 80 or 90 percent. Realize perfectionism is an unattainable illusion.

 – Learn from mistakes. Recognize that mistakes are part of the achieving process. Identify factors that may have contributed to a poor outcome, modify features, and move on.

 – Practice mindfulness. Purposely and without judgment, attend to the moment. Concentrate on each task. Attend fully to the report you’re reading. Give phone conversations unwavering attention.

 – Establish appropriate limits. Focus on activities that use your talents. Delegate or exchange tasks you dislike, aren’t good at, or find draining or time-consuming.

 – Enjoy successes. Measure yourself by what you have done, are doing, and can complete. Keep a weekly tally of accomplishments. Post this where you can read it often. Reward yourself for completing a challenging project.

Additional tips are described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life:

Check audible Questers: htps://

 Author: Carole Kanchier, PhD, career and personal growth expert, is author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life: Carole Kanchier inspires people to realize potential and look at career success in new ways. A registered psychologist, Dr. Kanchier pioneered the unique model of lifelong growth and decision making described in Questers Dare to Change.  For additional information, visit: