What Motivates You?

Posted By Lindsay Martinez on April 29, 2015

Day 1 (3/10) – Sitting around the oversized table, I notice my palms begin to sweat. “Ew,” is my first thought; “Why am I so overly nervous?” is my second. Nearly three months ago, I decided to volunteer as a Sponsor-A-Scholar Mentor at Philadelphia Futures. Having already completed the “new member process,” (including but not limited to screening interviews and orientation) today was the first day I’d meet my 15-year-old mentee, along with her family, who I’d continue to mentor throughout the next four years of high school. Not only would this be the day I form a long-lasting, influential relationship, but also, it would mark the first time I ever committed to something of this magnitude. No pressure.

After she walked in, boldly leading her family to their seats, she glanced over and smiled. A wave of relief washed over me. You see, I expected the first meeting to be a number of things: fairly formal, somewhat anxiety-ridden and at times, a bit awkward. There were background introductions, responsibility discussions, and (paperwork) inductions, but most importantly, there was a sense of hope. Hope to establish an indelible bond; hope to achieve success as a first-generation, college-bound student. I walked out of the conference room feeling revived, ready to embark on a journey that would surely influence my life as much as it would hers.

Day 21 (3/31) – Exactly three weeks have passed and while math hasn’t always been my strong suit, I can easily count the three weekly phone calls, one monthly outing and occasional texts my mentee and I have enjoyed. Building and sustaining a relationship is no easy feat, and though we’re in the (extremely) early stages of getting to know one another to develop a foundation, I feel confident that slow and steady wins the race. Whether we’re discussing ways to improve that not-so-stellar grade in her history class, bonding over the latest Philly-based hip-hop track or indulging in a manicure appointment (her first, might I add!), we’re beginning to create lasting memories that will at one point or another serve as opportunities to guide, support and inspire one another.

As a growing PR professional, I understand the importance of honing these interpersonal skills, which are crucial to success. Simply put, the industry is predicated on identifying the needs of varying stakeholders, fostering relationships and working together toward a common goal. 

While I find it incredibly rewarding to succeed in these areas, I’m learning that it’s equally important to take a step back and consider what else I can bring to not only the office, but also to those around me, some of whom I’ve never met before, to become a better person. Growth is never independent of itself, so identify an interest, pursue a passion and enjoy the ride. Chances are your experiences will only help you along the way, whether in your career or personal life, so long as you learn from them. When faced with an opportunity for growth, I find it revealing, yet enlightening, to ask one simple question: What motivates you?

Lindsay Martinez is an Account Executive with the Karma Agency.