Desperately Seeking Motivation

Kevin King —  July 26, 2016 — 2 Comments

It’s 8:55 and I fall into my desk chair. Then in an almost zombie-like state, I turn on my computer, take a swig of coffee, and let out a huge “sigh.” The clock has not yet indicated that it is officially time to start the work day, so I try and use the remaining minutes to work up some motivation. Unfortunately my efforts are futile and my day begins being frustrated that my energy reserve is already depleted.

How many of you feel that way? Many people consider me super high-energy, but even I struggle from a lack of motivation every so often. This is not a bad thing, it happens to the best of us. The trick is to make sure you identify and attend to it before it spirals out of control.

Sally Blount, the dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management writes in in Fortune that, “The research, both academic and applied, is consistent and can be summed up imply; Staying motivated at work is about five things.” Blount goes on to write that the first four things are all about the job and the last is about you.

  1. Right mission – If you are not fully behind your library’s mission, then finding motivation to move that mission forward is going to me really difficult.
  2. Right job – Finding motivation is super easy when you are using your talents to move the library mission forward. Seek out the jobs and task that best utilize your skills.
  3. Right boss – Maybe the most difficult. If you do not trust your supervisor and believe that they also want to move the library mission forward, motivation is super difficult to find. I find that working hard at being a great leader myself will often inspire your boss to work towards moving the library forward.
  4. Right team – Surround yourself with co-workers who have a work ethic that most resembles your own. Teammates that will challenge you to work at a top level will keep you motivated.
  5. Right attitude – Great leaders need to know when to step back and assess their attitude. Talk to your most trusted colleagues about your own performance and really listen. Challenge yourself to investigate your own actions towards moving the library mission forward. Have you been a roadblock? Blount writes, “I’ve observed that the best CEOs are really disciplined about self-assessment and renewal.”

The wise philosophers the Beastie Boys once stated “It takes a second to wreck it, it takes time to build” (A song that was really an anti-George W. Bush song). A constant lack of motivation will lead to actions as a leader that can destroy bonds of trust and halt a library’s progress. You must know when your motivation is beginning to wane and take the time to build it back up.

Kevin King


Kevin King is the Head of Branch and Circulation Services at the Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library. Previously Kevin led Teen Services at KPL, where he helped build a nationally recognized program. Kevin has presented all over the country on many topics including teen services, innovation, graphic novels, and programming. As a member of ALA, YALSA, PLA and the Michigan Library Association, Kevin has served on various committees and has luckily won a couple of awards. In his spare time Kevin obsesses over the Detroit Tigers, listens to music and does his best to be a kick ass dad to Abigail and Rachael.

2 responses to Desperately Seeking Motivation


    This really resonated with me! I am now in the right job, and I am much happier and energized.

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