“Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ―Thomas Jefferson

For decades, motivation has been a major management and leadership issue. It has been the subject of many research studies by figures such as Fredrick Herzberg, Abraham Maslow, John Hunt and Clayton Alderfer. Many of their findings still resonate today but working practices have changed, and now there is a focus on variables such as work-life balance, flexible working hours, working virtually (from home) and a shifting focus on performance objectives.

We now need to consider motivation from an organisational and individual perspective with a focus, in this chapter, around you, the individual. If you can identify and focus on what motivates and engages you, you can contribute to the motivation and engagement of others at work. Like a lighthouse, to project the blinding light that is emitted out to sea, everything needs to be in order within the lighthouse—a bit like motivation.

During my time as a hands-on leader and working with leaders, I developed the belief that motivation trumps skill. Skill alone is not enough to get us to the top of the mountain. Motivation, either intrinsic or extrinsic, overlays an energy to any skill we master; it's the fuel to succeed and exceed. It's the force behind driving what we know and learn (our skills).

Years ago, when recruiting for a large corporate, I interviewed a double degree candidate who ticked all the boxes: IQ, great references and ability to think on his feet. What he didn't emit was the attitude, motivation and energy that all the one-dimensional paperwork had sold him on. He had the knowledge and the skill, but he was missing the will. This was important in such a fast-paced corporate environment, and without any evidence of this, the candidate didn't progress to the next level. If you claim to be energetic and driven, at least act it for the interview.

Being deeply self-aware of what motivates you, and those around you will take your conversations, rapport and sphere of influence to the next level.

To be self-aware, you need to be open and committed and take the time to understand what really motivates and energises you at a deeper level.

To do this, you need emotional control and intelligence so you can identify your triggers; leading to building a heightened radar into the triggers of others.

Being self-aware also requires you to get out of what you know—your comfort zone—so you can be open to self-growth and change. This is important as this sets the base to be open, ready and aware. Don't just know and grow your skills. The real gold is tapping into and understanding the depths of what motivates you.

One of the many studies that support my theory was conducted by researchers at the Universities of Munich and Bielefeld and was published in the Child Development journal. It suggested motivation and study habits—not intelligence—are the key factors in maths achievement (Paul, 2013).

What are you going to do to tap into what fuels you?



Renée has published her first book “Limitless Leadership” – A guide to leading from the inside out.

Order your copy today! or go to www.amazon.com


Renée Giarrusso is an accomplished author, facilitator, speaker, trainer and coach who works with high performing leaders and their teams across a myriad of industries and organisations.

She passionately helps leaders fulfil their full potential resulting in increased motivation, communication and connection. Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioural change around leadership, communication, transition, presenting and sales effectiveness leave her clients inspired, re-energised and with improved results.


Work with me!

Contact us today at admin@reneegiarrusso.com to discuss how we can collaborate on your business success. Learn more about our in-house Limitless Leadership, Mapping Motivation for Performance and Presenting to Lead and Communication workshops and mentoring programs.

“The Top Fifteen Percent Leader” A dynamic interactive leadership program, run as an openly facilitated in-house program 3 hours a month over the year!

Contact us for our FREE whitepaper and program details


Lunch and Lead-April 7 South Melbourne

Join 15 like-minded women from a diverse array of industries over lunch. Take the time to reflect and enjoy an open and casual conversation on what challenges you and motivates you from a leadership perspective. Celebrate the year that has been! FULLY BOOKED OUT

Mastering your Mojo-June 15th Melbourne

Go from drowning in the overwhelm that sometimes a career and life can create to taking the time to reflect, recharge and reconnect with your purpose and mission to move forward.

Join me for our “Mastering your Leadership Mojo” practicum

Time: 9am-4pm

Venue: Golden Gate Hotel, South Melbourne

Investment: $595 +GST pp

Book before May 5th at our Early bird rate of $495 + GST

Limited to 25 places

What you will get:

  • 1 full-day workshop facilitated by Renée Giarrusso
  • The day is based around key themes: Reflect-Recharge- Refocus
  • Recharge to reconnect ~ Learning to manage your energy for optimal results in your daily life – Guest speaker Amanda Adey Auricfields Kinesiology
  • Access to sharing and learning with like-minded people
  • A scrumptious sit-down Al a carte lunch
  • Barista coffee all day (it’s the little things J )
  • All workshop materials

 Contact admin@reneegiarrusso.com for further details

*Limited to 25 attendees