I had the most incredible experience in Barcelona recently. A few days after being made redundant, I received the most ridiculous message on Instagram. Eli, the presenter of the massive youtube channel Copa90, was inviting me to interview for a part in a video being shot in Barcelona about the Confederations Cup in Russia. They needed a crazy football fan from New Zealand, and he found out about my Flying Kiwis New Zealand Football Supporters crew through a comment online by my good friend Richie Boyd. Thanks mate, what an assist. I’d seen Eli, like millions of other football fans around the world, on videos like Save The Nix and Derby Days. Copa90 produce some of the best digital story telling and movie making in the football industry, with a special focus on the lifeblood of football – the fans.
At a week’s notice I’m being flown to Barcelona all expenses paid, in an amazing hotel room with four beds.
Four. Four beds. There were four beds. Outrageous.
It was to film a commercial for Hyundai, with Copa90 who connect them and push for content with real fans in the football community. If we flash back eight years to when I was dreaming up getting my mates together to watch a game of football and support our country, it would have been crazy to think it would get me flown to Barcelona, treated like a film star and feature in a video with 3.5 million views and counting. That’s nearly the population of New Zealand. It also kick-started some more chance meetings and special experiences in the last few weeks that I will write about shortly, I can’t keep up at the moment.
This unforgettable string of coincidences and experiences for the kiwi kid who loves football, after getting my mates together to watch a game of football eight years ago, is the perfect illustration to explain one of my key life philosophies thanks to my psychology degree. It’s also a common theme throughout this blog.
Intrinsic Motivation is where the magic happens.
Intrinsic motivation is the deep passion for doing what you love. Conversely, extrinsic motivation is when you want to do something not for the activity itself, but some extrinsic reward. For many of us, this is ‘work’. We wouldn’t do it for free, for the intrinsic love of it. But we do it for the extrinsic reward of a paycheck.
I love football, and I love my country, so The Flying Kiwis is my expression of that. I also love futsal coaching and development. In fact, I feel so deeply about growing it as a sport and sharing and growing my passion and knowledge around the world, that I have made some questionable life decisions and I’m willing to make what seems like foolish sacrifices on this mission.
The things I do for football.
In 2009 after just finishing university and in the lead up to a world cup qualification match in my hometown, I maxed out my $1000 credit card to purchase as many tickets as I could to the 2nd leg at home. 32 tickets at $30 each plus fees was as many as I could get, before the first leg when New Zealand could have gone away to Bahrain, lost 4-0 and killed the home match as an event. The tickets and the event would have been worthless, what a stupid risk! Some would argue that should have been the result, we certainly rode out luck.
A year later for a home friendly I would buy $700 worth of banners to loudly proclaim ‘Kiwis Can Fly’ and step up the support for our boys in white even more. Just. Because. I’m. Crazy. Most recently in coordinating The Flying Kiwis to drop into Russia for all corners of the globe, I was stung with hefty customs duties in Liverpool and Budapest as I ordered large quantities of New Zealand Flags and Inflattable Kiwis. I was at Budapest airport for half a day to work it out.
Forget extrinsic rewards. This is extrinsic punishment.
Futsal coaching has cost me alot of time and money. And organising The Flying Kiwis hasn’t been easy either. So if money = motivation (and think about how your workplace tries to use pay rises and bonuses to ‘motivate’), then I would have no drive to do what I do on the futsal court or in the football stands.
But I do.
And it gives me the biggest satisfaction of anything in my life. Futsal and Football offer me pure joy and this is without receiving money for it, but rather giving alot of time and money. Seems like the equation is the wrong way around from traditional thinking of motivation right?
Extrinsic Rewards For Intrinsic Loves
So, because I do it all for the intrinsic motivation of simply loving it for the sake of it, imagine been rewarded with a surprise ending to the video, with a VIP trip to the World Cup next year in Russia 2018. The most fulfilling feeling, it’s hard to describe. This was no random draw or good luck, but a reward for the things I’ve done behind the scenes for eight years now in getting people together to support our national team unconditionally. This blind faith that Kiwis Can Fly.
Imagine my motivation was extrinsic to make money, and I started a business with that objective. But if I didn’t enjoy the process or products I was selling, then to get the financial reward would feel like a relief, or even something I was owed. I had put myself through something I don’t enjoy on the condition of getting paid. So to put as much of myself into what I do, for the love of it and with no expectation or requirement for anything more, no chip on the shoulder, or agenda to get something out of it, is the freest sense of joy and satisfaction.
So now, here is the challenge.
How far do I push it now, and WHY?
Now I’ve had a little extrinsic reward, or ‘payback’ for things I willingly gave and sacrificed, I need to block that out and keep doing it for the love. For the reasons I started.
I must stay true to the first reasons I got involved and keep serving that. As long as I am doing it for the love of football, my country and having a good time with my friends as we serve both. As long as my actions provide support and hopefully inspiration to the team, and in turn use the teams’ achievements to inspire a nation beyond sport, to ignite ambition and passion in all New Zealanders, and represent New Zealand around the world, then I’m happy with nothing in return. Anything else is a bonus but I expect nothing.
So let’s see where The Flying Kiwis takes us.
Because against all odds, Kiwis Can Fly.
To see pure joy in digital format: