Community, Living Free, Marriage & Family, Relationships

What’s Their Motivational Gift? {Quiz}

Last month, we explored finding our unique gift. Today we’re visiting an equally important question, one I ask myself often, even weekly. It’s one of the best questions we can ask about those around us:

What motivates this person? What makes them tick & causes them to spring into action?

When we stop & really listen to the people in our lives, our eyes are opened to who they really are — what fuels them. Everyone has a passion or motivation for what they do. Our goal is to discover their “why”. Scripture calls these “motivational gifts”, and they are the #1 thing I look for in people. 

Maybe your friend is relatively quiet & unengaged until a certain subject pops up. Suddenly, you can’t get them to stop talking!! This happens with so many people I know when the conversation circles around to what they’re passionate about 🙂 It’s hilarious & happens like clockwork! Luke 6 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” So when this happens, you know you’re getting closer to home with them.

I notice this same tendency with myself. Why? Because something popped up that motivated me to act or speak up, that touched on a passion of mine — one of my motivational gifts!

The 7 Motivational Gifts

The Apostle Paul outlines seven major motivational gifts God’s given believers. These gifts reveal what purpose each person is designed to fulfill in the Body (& in their life)! Read the scripture here [I added the bolding]:

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 

In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

Romans 12

I LOVED this Charisma Magazine article that articulated more about each gift. Where do your loved ones fit? Where do you?
  1. Perceiver, one who clearly perceives the will of God. We have purposely chosen this word rather than the word “prophet” to avoid confusion, since the same root word is also used in the two other categories of gifts. Also, in today’s culture the word “prophet” has rather ominous connotations.
  2. Server, one who loves to serve others. Another appropriate word is “doer.”
  3. Teacher, one who loves to research and communicate truth. We almost selected the word “researcher,” since that motivation is so strong.
  4. Exhorter, one who loves to encourage others to live a victorious life. These are extremely positive people who can equally well be called “encouragers.”
  5. Giver, one who loves to give time, talent, energy and means to benefit others and advance the Gospel. Another word could be “contributor.”
  6. Administrator, one who loves to organize, lead or direct. Other words could be “facilitator” and “leader.”
  7. Compassion person, one who shows compassion, love and care to those in need. We say “compassion” instead of “mercy” since this word is more comprehensive in today’s usage.

Putting People in the “Right Seat on the Bus”

Here’s the thing: People may do the same activity but for very different reasons. My husband & I have seen this with church volunteers. Some people volunteer because they simply enjoy being of service. They have the gift of service, so you’ll often find them doing tasks no one else wants to do, where they’re hardly ever thanked or noticed. Others serve because they love people & want to encourage (& be encouraged) by them, and they prefer people-oriented tasks that provide opportunities to socialize & connect. Still others serve to exercise their leadership skills & gain the respect & honor of fellow church members. These people are often those who, in my observation, tend to push the hardest upfront & burn out the fastest when they no longer feel vital & honored in the church. They’re motivated by authority.

These are 3 different motivations that — long-term — yield 3 different results. Understanding all three & trying to identify who has which gift can help churches, businesses, families, teachers, & every one of us better relate to others & understand why people get burned out or hurt. We can also help them find roles where they will thrive and help them avoid disenfranchisement.

A person who likes to “shine” in front of others wouldn’t enjoy being behind-the-scenes. These people would thrive as pastors, worship leaders, public relations experts, broadcasters, and entertainers (to name a few).

A person who thrives in challenging environments is best in leadership roles, competition, business, and other intense scenarios. You wouldn’t give your high-performers status-quo assignments. They seek out opportunities to “prove themselves” in tasks that are more demanding and allow them to be in charge, so you may find them in roles of authority such as managers, executive pastors/administrators, doctors, and sales personnel.

A person who is motivated to help others would do best in roles where they have opportunities to listen to people, meet their needs, and be thoughtful. Such people may struggle in tasks that push them to overlook people and “be tough” on them. They have a need to express their nurturing side and help others in unique ways. These are often your medical professionals, nursery workers, public servants, and counselors.

Why Should You Care About People’s Gifts?

So why are motivational gifts so important? Because once we understand what motivates people to speak up, get involved, work hard, volunteer, or connect with others, we can better understand them, predict their behavior, AND inspire them towards future action!

When you know what someone’s passions & motivational gifts are, you can both impact them & connect with them in more meaningful ways. This is why I’m always listening for deeper meaning behind people’s actions & words & the common thread in their lives… because this points me to their gifts!

The reality is that if you put people in a different setting, they may have completely different responses! When variables change, you begin to see what truly motivates these people. As a leader in any capacity — work, home, church, family — this understanding of people helps you increase their engagement & know when to move them to “another seat on the bus” that better utilizes their unique gifts!

It is so important to understand what drives the people around you — your coworkers, family members, spouse & children — because this can give you insight into the type of situations they’ll most enjoy & be engaged in. What an invaluable skill to have in your personal life, career, management, church service, community, parenting, and marriage! Without it, you may have a lot of untapped potential around you and a lot of frustrated & unhappy people.

The more I’ve understood others’ motivational styles, the better equipped I am to encourage people towards where they’ll thrive — places where they’ll be the most encouraged & their gifts can really shine 🙂

A Mini Motivational Gifts Test

So how can you determine someone’s motivational gift(s)? You may not be able to right away, but give it some time & get to know them better. Maybe you can even help them discover theirs! Ask yourself (and/or them) these questions:

  1. What does this person talk about frequently?
  2. What do they read about & really enjoy?
  3. Where do they come “alive” & seem most engaged?
  4. What career are they in, and do they seem satisfied with their line of work?
  5. If not, what aspects of their current (or past) jobs do they enjoy, if any?
  6. What do they dream about doing one day? What is their daydream?
  7. Who are their role models & why? Who do they admire or want to emulate?
  8. How does this person spend their free time? If given the opportunity, what do they spend their days (or nights) doing?
  9. What would they be willing to lose sleep over — & why?
  10. What would they be willing to do for free?
  11. What comes easily to them, what they seem naturally gifted at?
  12. What do you & others come to them for? What are they sought after for?
  13. What hobbies do they have & what’s the common thread among them?
  14. What re-energizes this person?
  15. What bores this person? What types of activities seem to alienate or deplete them?

One of our goals as believers is to encourage others to step into the roles God’s designed them to fill (& be fulfilled) in, and that starts with understanding the 7 motivational gifts of the Spirit. I hope this assessment has given you insight into the people in your life!

So… can you guess what my motivational gift is after reading this? Have you gained any insight into yours or a loved one’s? I’d love to hear your comments below!