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Saturday, May 26, 2018


                        . . . So What's the Big Deal About Motivation?
By Ruth Douthitt

I have to facilitate a presentation about motivation at work soon, so I have been deep in motivational videos, theories, and podcasts in preparation for it. 

The results? I am super motivated!!

I'm motivated to share motivational tools, and ideas that I have found so helpful for me.


What's the big deal about motivation anyway? Why do managers attend such presentations about motivation?

Well, what are the benefits?

Improved productivity
Strong work culture
Reduced absenteeism
Achievement of Objectives

But why is motivation important for the rest of us?

As I have blogged before, I run and train for races. I am also an author with many projects set for 2018. Motivation is key for me to meet all my goals for the year.

There are so many motivational theories out there. I lean toward Maslow's Motivational Theory because it's simple:

If your very basic needs aren't met, then everything comes crumbling down. In other words, if you have no food in your belly, shelter over your head, and clothes on your back, you won't be motivated to do much of anything let alone achieve your potential!

But once those needs are met, then you move on to the other needs: Socialization, belonging and love, respect and acceptance, validation of ideas, challenging yourself...all of these can help you reach your potential, and then self-actualization.

What does that level look like? Let's use Oprah as an example. She reached stardom through hard work and innovation. She started the "daytime talk show" trend by restructuring it and making it more personal. That achievement led to her challenging herself by trying new concepts: Acting.

After receiving an Academy Award nomination, she had the self esteem to venture out into more challenging roles on TV and in film. She began her own studio and cable network.

But one thing keeps knocking her off the top of Maslow's Pyramid: Her weight.

Oprah's constant battle with her weight has always brought her down a few levels on the pyramid, but she has learned through the years how to get back up to the top.

And that's what self-actualization looks like. When you have reached autonomy (meaning, you no longer rely on others to reach your true potential because you know how to get back on top on your own) you have made it to the top!

No, becoming a billionaire is not the requirement of "self-actualization" or "transcendence." Gandhi reached that level without being a billionaire and you will, too. 
Being able to carry on without relying on others for your happiness is key for success. Your definition of success might differ from mine.

What's your definition of success?

The big deal about motivation is that we all need outside motivation to inspire our inner motivation so we can reach our definition of success. But knowing how to get back up again after falling down is what Self-Actualization is all about.

Motivation is a Big Deal

I strongly feel that our calling is to know how to stay motivated so we can motivate others around us. And by "others" I mean not just employees, but family and friends, too!

As a writer, I feel called to motivate my readers and students of writing. I have learned (and continue to learn...) how to get back up again after rejection and delay. I want to share my knowledge and wisdom. I'm a teacher, that's what I do!

Some motivational theories and tools you can try are:

Four-Drive Theory

Goal Setting Theory

These tools can help you assess your needs and learn how to help motivate others in business or in your personal life. We'd be crazy to think everyone knows how to motivate themselves. It's important for us to share our knowledge with others. That's how things change for the better.

What about you? How do you motivate others? Why is it important for us to do so?

R. A. Douthitt is an award-winning author of books for middle grade readers. She is now working on a contemporary inspirational novel, Leaving Eden for release later this fall. She is also an educator and speaker with a Masters degree in Education.

For information about my books, please visit my website:
For information about my artwork, please visit:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Painting with Words

By Ruth Douthitt

As an artist, I’ve learned how to see things. Painting and drawing are basically “seeing” and then expressing what one sees onto paper or canvas or any other desired medium. 

Is it possible for art and writing to be similar? I’ve blogged before about how running and writing are similar, but what about drawing or painting?

I’ve only been writing since 2004, published since 2008, but I’ve been an artist all my life. I can easily tell you the answer is YES! There are many similarities and that’s what makes me love both art forms. I’ll share what I’ve learned from both mediums of artistic expression with you and let you decide for yourself…

Creating art typically requires a process. This was something my art professors drilled into my brain over and over again. Conceptual development came first. What’s the context? Who is your audience? What is your theme? What are the comparisons? What other artists inspired the work? What is the purpose? How will it be created and why?

All this must be decided first before an artist even attempts to create art for a showing or exhibit. A concept brainstorm can be a long arduous process, but I found it fun. I suppose that’s why brainstorming a writing project is fun for me, too.

In the creation of art, it is always best to know the medium of choice. What are its strengths and weaknesses? For instance, oil painting. What are the strengths of oil as a medium? Gorgeous color and texture. It lasts for a lifetime. Blends easily. Its weaknesses? Odorous, requires proper ventilation. It is very expensive. Requires additional resources for preparation and preservation, which can be costly. It dries slowly, so the process requires patience.

What about with writing? It is always best to know the strengths and weaknesses of the tools you select for writing: MS Word, Scrivener, Open Office, etc. What about where you write? Can you work in uninterrupted bliss?

In art, a rough draft does help. My one art professor required at least 15 (minimum) paintings/sketches that he would approve of before we even attempted to work on a painting for our show. I grumbled about it at first, but after a while, I realized how much this process helped to produce a “rough draft” of a painting or drawing first. Not only did it save me money on canvas or paper (my professor didn’t care about what we used for the 15 paintings or sketches…), but it forced me to slow down and truly settle on an idea that I had worked through. I loved that! I learned how to settle on a composition and explain why I did so.

Doesn’t this remind you of writing? When we sit with our editor to explain our plot premise of the rough draft, if we cannot explain it in an interesting way to him, then how will our readers understand it? A rough draft forces us to slow down and truly work out the plot details.

In art, the focus is intense. I can stare at my work for hours at a time. A wise artist will pause to take a step back in order to inspect his work from a different focal point. In fact, my professor always challenged us to turn the piece upside down! I definitely agree with this approach because the errors in the painting or drawing always pop out when turned upside down. I also look at my work in a mirror to find errors. In writing, taking time to step away from a work-in-progress is most helpful. When you come back to your work, errors glare at you. You are more capable of checking for point-of-view and the voice of the characters.

So, these are just some examples of how visual art and writing reflect one another. One can see why they both are part of the Fine Arts. Structure, planning, plotting, and preparation are necessary for both types of artistic expression.

Because I dabble in both mediums, I find it most fascinating how writing and art align so nicely. I suppose that’s why I love both art forms. Music, theatre, visual art, and writing…the Fine Arts are each unique threads in the tapestry of artistic expression. If you excel in one, you will probably discover that you can excel in the another! I am learning to play piano and violin. I also sing with a praise and worship band. Maybe, someday, I’ll try acting.

What about you? Why not give another form of artistic expression a try? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

For information about my books, please visit my website:
For information about my artwork, please visit: