What motivates you to go to work each day?

There’s no handouts in life. If you want or need something, nine times out of ten, you’re going to have to work for it. The exceptions to the rule are what I call pain lucky. For the rest of us, we have to get up off our butts and put in work. And this is a good thing. There’s so much to be done and do little time to do it. We can all do something somewhere somehow because the human experience is a collective one.

But getting up every single day can take a toll on the most diligent of people. We can’t go forever and ever like robots. We’re humans that get tired and burnt out. But somehow the world still turns and we get things done. And that is because of our motivations. We each have things that motivate us to work harder, smarter, and longer. And that’s great. When times get tough you have to keep your motivations top of mind. So what motivates you to go to work everyday?

Here’s what motivates me to go to work everyday and my thoughts on it.

I was nervous as they escorted me into the office. Everything was so official and professional with assistants and security check ins. The first thing I noticed was how colorful the office decor was. I knew he was a creative executive but I didn’t think his everyday workspace would be so expressive. The butterflies in my stomach got stronger as I walked down the room and saw him sitting there working at his desk. It was like something out of a movie.

He looked over smiled and got up to shake my hand. “Hi, I’m Mark Parker. You must be Tim…” he said. I excitedly replied, “Yes, nice to meet you!” We went on to have a great conversation about his personal journey and how he manages running Nike. Pun intended. But I was starstruck the whole day. The actual CEO of a Fortune 500 company is meeting with me for the day. And it was all purely out of the kindness of his heart.

There really is good in the world. I learned so much about business strategy and aspiring for greatness. I was given personal and custom gifts straight from the shoe legends themselves. But at the end Mr. Parker handed me a big custom box with my name engraved on it. And when I opened it I was so shocked by what I saw that I didn’t even notice there was a signed pair of sneakers by Kobe Bryant himself.

Inside the box read a handwritten message from Mr. Parker himself that said, “Tim stay curious and committed to your enormous potential.” And when I read I broke down in tears in his arms. Everything I’ve struggled with in my life up to my point flashed before my eyes… All the weeks stuck in cold dark hospital rooms on Valentine’s Day or Christmas. Every advanced math or science class I fell behind in because I was never healthy. All my passions for robotics or engineering that I could never stay after school to cultivate.

My whole life I felt like there was greatness within me but my quality of life said differently. Now someone truly great was telling me they too see greatness within me. That was a moment I will never forget. I made a commitment that day to be there best version of myself despite my shortcomings. I am not a product of my flaws. I am all that I set out to be. And I work hard everyday to make that true. That is what motivates me to work everyday.

I was a kid who felt he had potential but was never sure I could be great. It was that one moment with Mark Parker telling me that I surely do have enormous potential that had motivated me. And it will motivate me to work hard and be my best everyday until the day I die. Because I do have potential. And I’ll prove it not only to the world but more importantly to myself.

Thank you Mr. Parker.

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