A few weeks ago I posted The Matt Foley Guide to Motivating the People Who Matter Most.
The thesis was simple: You can’t motivate anybody to do anything – all you can do is inspire them to motivate themselves.
Today we contniue our discussion with four additional strategies:
1. Paint a profitable picture of possibility. I recently launched an email-mentoring program through my one-on-one department, Rent Scott’s Brain. Here’s how it works: Thirty days. Unlimited email conversations. Rapid response time. Detailed, cut-to-the-chase instructions. Anything goes.
One of my first clients, Stephanie, posed the following challenge:
“I can’t decide what job title to write on my business card. I want it to add to my brand, not subtract from it. And traditional marketing would have me believe that I should explain exactly what I do, but I’m not so sure. What should I do?”
And my response was:
Stephanie, it certainly helps to tell people exactly what you do. I also have found the following to be true: No labels, no limits. By being less specific, you invite clients to add new dimensions to what you do that you never could have thought of. They will tell you that you can perform in an area you didn’t think of.
And you’ll think; ‘Cool! Now I have something else to sell.’ Consider being less certain of what your business is. Be more open to the possibility of being a service provider instead of an item provider.”
Two days later, she emailed me with the following:
“You inspired me to write today. That’s a huge breakthrough. And I was so excited that I vowed not to leave the office until I finished a piece. See attached.”
To my delight, Stephanie motivated herself to write an eloquent, educational and entertaining blog post called, “Unlimiting Yourself.” How are you inspiring people to paint a compelling, detailed and profitable picture of their desired future?
2. Highlight individual essentialness. If you want people to like you, focus on making them feel important; but if you want people to take action, focus on making them feel essential.
Here’s the distinction: The word “important” derives from the Latin importare, which means, “significant.” The word “essential,” on the other hand, derives from the Latin essentia, which means, “essence.”
That’s what being an inspiring, approachable leader is all about: Honoring, loving and acknowledging the essence of the people you service. Practicing a little namaste every day.
Personally, I practice this every morning with my blog. After all, my readers are my followers – and I want them to feel essential. Here’s the move: After publishing each post, I ask myself, “Who inspired the ideas in this piece?”
Then, I individually email the two or three people whose names; ideas or stories show up in the text. Usually something simple like:
“Morning Jim! Just wanted to let you know that I blogged about you this morning. Here’s the link. Your story shows up in paragraph six. And thanks for the continued inspiration. I couldn’t have written this piece without you!”
That’s how I make people feel essential: By honoring their words and edifying their lives. It takes five minutes a day. And I suggest you start doing the same. Because the best part is, when you highlight people’s essentialness, they can’t help but like you. It’s an automatic twofer.
Remember: People perk up when they hear the sound of their own name – but they take action when they see the sight of their own name. Whose name could you put up in lights?
3. Find out what fuels people – then fill the tank. Humans are educated by how – but they’re inspired by why. If you want your people to self-motivate, the first step is to generate and articulate your chronicle of why.
My suggestion is to make a list of one hundred reasons why you do what you do. I tried this on a whim a few weeks ago, and it was the single most self-inspiring, self-revelatory and self-motivating exercise I’ve ever done.
In fact, I was so excited when I finished the list that I immediately shared it with my girlfriend. And by the time I was done, she had already pulled out her journal and began making her own list.
The cool part is, now that each of us has shared our mutual chronicle of why, we’re both equipped to inspire each other in the future.
That’s the second step to this strategy: Filling their tank with the right fuel. Because if you want people to motivate themselves, you need to memorize, memorialize and capitalize on their chronicle of why.
It’s not manipulating – it’s harmonizing. It’s hitting them where they live. And it’s reminding people not only of who they are – but why they are. When was the last time you exchanged mutual whys with your people?
4. Values aren’t taught – they’re caught. My mother has been a fitness coach, personal trainer and aerobics instructor for over thirty years. She can bench press more than me – and I’m a pretty big guy.
Naturally, this virtue of discipline is something that was embedded into my life since I was very young. And as a result, any time people compliment me on it, my response is always the same: It’s my mother’s fault.
That’s the thing: She never told us to be disciplined. She never taught us to be disciplined. And she never spanked us when we weren’t disciplined. She just embodied it. She lived it, every day. And as her son, that inspired me to motivate myself to do the same.
Why? Because that’s what kids do. They don’t respond to their parents’ words – they repeat their parents’ actions. And the same principle applies to employees, members, volunteers or whomever else comprises your constituency:
If you’re their leader – and, hopefully, if they trust you – then they will mirror the behavior you’ve shown them to be acceptable.
I picked that up from Larry Winget, whose books are notorious for reminding people that your kids are your fault. If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?
REMEMBER: All motivation is self-motivation.
As a leader, you can’t motive people to do anything – all you can do is inspire them to motivate themselves.
Otherwise you’ll end up living in van down by the river.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you motivating or inspiring?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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