June 15


Negative Motivation

I'm not a fan of negativity. But sometimes negative experiences can be a great source of motivation.

In my previous job, a non-profit, I applied for an administrative position. My hope was that I could, at last, make a real difference in my workplace. For both students and teachers.

I had built programs, my colleagues liked and trusted me (for the most part), and I had numbers to back up my performance. I figured I'd at least get an interview.

Not so much.

Without a flinch, upon turning in my materials, I was told, "You're not ready for this." They never even bothered reading my materials.

The job was given to someone who had never worked in a non-profit before.

That would end up being my last semester before quitting.

In retrospect, it was a good thing it didn't work out. During COVID, the position ended up being eliminated, along with several others.

But the experience, demeaning as it was, serves as a constant source of motivation. Motivation to do more, be more, accomplish more, and impact more lives than my previous workplace ever thought I could.

But let's be clear here. I'm not out to prove anything to anyone.

There's no administration left in my previous job to even prove it too...they've all either been fired or quit.

But the experience serves as rocket fuel. Make sense?

So...when was the last time someone told you that you can't do something? That you can't be more? We've all got at least one story.

Try using it as motivation to prove them wrong. To do something remarkable.

Even if "they" will never take the time to listen, the ends justify the means when it comes to staying on task with the work that's important to you.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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