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What Really Motivates Me

I asked Instagram what they want to read about, and a good chunk of the responses asked about my motivation. I get this question a lot and have made a blog post about how I believe motivation is a lie and how you just have to do it; but that was a young and naïve Joy.

So, what motivates me, really? I will attempt to answer…

Answering this question is hard for me because the answer isn’t a person, place or thing. Having all the money in the world doesn’t move me, I don’t aspire to be like one person, nor do I wish to attain a level of power. I do know that I want to be a somebody not just some, body. I want my name to be brought up in important circles and I want my words to actually mean something to someone. I want everything I do to be worth it and, most importantly, I want what I do to truly matter. I mean… don’t we all?

I wanted to say that my primary driver changes each day. That some days I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and want to quit. But when those days arise (they often do) I keep doing the work needed to be great. Therefore, there has to be something that motivates me, that really drives me.

Since the spotlight has been shined on systemic racism, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I have read books, listened to many podcasts, watched interviews and even absorbed song lyrics. I realized that the literature that has stuck with me the most has been from Black females; a group of people who have been mistreated for centuries.

It became clear. I am motivated by the pure fact that there is no option for me, a Black woman, to fail.

If I’m not great, society tells me I don’t matter. It’s sad to say, but it’s the truth. If I don’t use this small amount of privilege I have to do something great, then I leave a wider gap. Whether it’s in academics, in the clinical setting or in fitness, I cannot fail. I have come to realize that I am in a position that others who look like me have never been in, and may never be in. Before you get all sappy and send me a cute message keep reading…

Although that’s my true motivator it doesn’t add pressure to the things I do, it doesn’t keep me up at night and it doesn’t fill me with rage. If anything, it fills me with hope. I have gotten to where I am through my pure love of fitness and an inquisitive mind to make life easier for those around me. I use fitness has a theoretical lens to create change and that’s pretty cool.

Although being a Black female is my underlying motivator, I am also motivated by my social groups and the people I have in my small circle. Each person I keep close is a literal #BOSS and honestly, I don’t want to be the scrub in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car thinking I’m fly.

What motivates you… really?


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