Motivating Forces in Life & Entrepreneurship

May 2, 2023

I recently had the opportunity to watch two athletic theme movies, Champions ( and Big George Foreman ( in the theater.  Movies at home have their creature comforts, but few activities allow us to escape temporarily into another world like a trip to the cinema.  Movies, books, speeches, songs, and people can provide the motivational spark to achievement, but the fire at the core driving performance is fired by very personal fuel.

A lifelong assessment of people as a coach, mentor, parent, friend, executive, and entrepreneur has led me to identify that people are motivated by a composite hybrid of six forces.

The most straight forward motivating force is the desire for money and things.  This, as was the case for George Foreman early in his life as portrayed in the movie, can be the result of being forced to go without or feeling inadequate among peers.  The desire for money and things can be a very powerful motivating energy and has resulted in numerous incredible achievements in athletics, entertainment, professionally, and in business.  The following article provides short backgrounds on a few publicly recognized people who climbed from poverty to billionaire status ( with this force providing the coal to power their personal engine.

The second motivating force is a desire for recognition. It is this force that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok capitalize on as business models with people seeking likes and followers for items that have a high probability of not being remembered in a few days or weeks.  It is a motivating force that is present in our lives from being named to the Honor Roll or an All Star Little League team as kids to actors seeking Oscars, athletes seeking All Pro status, and business people seeking promotions, awards, and list ranking positions.  Which President or CEO would not like to have their business listed high on a best companies to work for list like this one published by Fortune (

The third motivating force is a desire for social connections.  Social connections are an intangible form of capital.  They can be the difference between being included and excluded.  As the old saying goes, “It is often not what you know, but who you know”.  IBA’s VP of Business Development, Curt Maier, strongly believes in business your network is your net worth (  His content on this subject has been one of the most read articles in the history of the IBA blog.  Sage wisdom.  Solutions to most problems can be found, if you know a person with the needed knowledge, experience, or skill.

The fourth motivating force is a desire to serve.  Ask yourself which are your most beloved people and companies. They are commonly ones that have a service mentality.  It is the mother who was there for you on your worst days growing up.  It is the teacher or coach who helped you achieve a personal goal.  It is the companies that value their customers and seek their satisfaction.  Chick-fil-A provides a very basic product, chicken sandwiches and affiliated products.  However, lines exist at almost every one of their stores throughout the day.  I believe the reason starts with this corporate philosophy, “To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” The following are the best companies in terms of customer service in the United States (  Any on the list you do not wish to do business with as a consumer or company?

The fifth motivating force is a desire for power.  The ability to influence and control others is a powerful drug that can be highly addictive.  Great things have been achieved in history by charismatic individuals able to motivate and control masses of people. Unfortunately, many others have caused great harm to society by inappropriately exercising their power over the population.  Governments frequently recognize that business monopolies with too much power are bad for customer service and product quality.  I am personally always leery of parties motivated by power.  The pursuit of power often does not end well.

The final motivating force is the quest for achievement.  This is the force that took America to the moon.  As President Kennedy famously said in his speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962 (, “we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard”.  I encourage you to listen to the speech in entirety.  It demonstrates the value articulate leadership can provide in unifying a group and creating collective effort toward higher accomplishment.  What many working together can achieve always exceeds what one can do alone.  One doctor can treat a patient. A hospital of doctors & nurses can heal a community.

All six of these motivating forces can result in good and bad outcomes for people and companies if incorporated into their personality.  The starting point on the path to achievement is recognizing what motivates you and using that inspiration to seek and obtain your goals. If you desire to start or take the helm of a company through acquisition, what is stopping you from fulfilling your destiny?   As an entrepreneur when you have achieved your goals, it may be time to sell your company and move onto the next chapter of your life.  IBA is happy to offer a knowledgeable, experienced team of highly skilled professionals employing best practices with a service mentality willing and able to help entrepreneurs start their journey by buying a business or franchise or convert the byproduct of their vision and execution into cash in a company sale.  All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, legal, and accounting communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.