I saw her across a crowed room. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked at me with her dark almond shaped eyes, smiled shyly, glanced down, then, looked back up at me without lifting her head. By that time I was already half way across the room.
Get the picture?
Her glance moved me into action, filled with excited anticipation mixed with a twinge of nervousness.
The anticipation and expectation of a positive experience or a reward will cause us to respond toward the object of our attraction.
The energy of motivation works like a magnet to pull us toward enjoying the pleasure of the anticipated, awaiting reward–whatever it might be. As we are pulled in a direction, we add the kinetic energy of our own movement to create momentum.
The force of motivation is undeniable, and predictable.
Think of when you have been compelled to act toward a desired end. You find yourself moving with direction and purpose. Plus, you feel good and whole in the doing of it.
Here’s something to think about. Just relax and reflect on all those times you felt that way–when you were excited anticipating getting to do something you really enjoyed. Reflect on the anticipation and all you did to prepare yourself to go do that whatever.
Motivation is the force that leads up to the actual doing. It is found in anticipation. When you give others something to look forward to, you can move them toward that event.
Your opportunity as a leader is to show them an outcome where they will want to go, or that they will want to create.
You can use the natural energy of motivation to
Listen to a previous Spirit of Leading podcast about motivation
I explain in more depth why this energy works as it does. It’s the opposite of the wind beneath your wings. Click here to find out what I mean by that.
At one point in my career I had a lot of influence over the direction of my organizations. I got to help build two organizations almost from the ground up. I loved it. And I absolutely loved what I had a part in creating. I talked possessively about both the organization and my role in it.
Love is a formidable power.
Love is more than a warm feeling; it’s a motivating force driving us to act on behalf of our object of love: love your family, love humanity, love your country, love God–even love your job.
I’ve learned to trust the force of love.
A force can be physical or emotional
There are physical forces we cannot deny. Gravity works consistently and universally, holding our universe together. The physical laws of the universe explain how it works, and we trust our lives to them.
There are emotional forces at work that are just as powerful and reliable. Love is one of those forces.
Think of all the love songs and love stories describing the actions people take driven by love. Conversely, think of all the stories about how people act destructively when they are either deprived of love, their acts of love are disparaged, their love is rebuffed by a loved one, or they avenge actions against a loved one.
Simply put, loves moves us.
Love emanates from our creative effort. That’s why we love our children over other children. We created them. It’s why we love our ideas over other’s ideas, why we love the product of our work over that of others–we created them.
People will support whatever they help to create.
Going back to the organizations I helped create. I could not understand why employees who came on board later did not have the same visceral attachment to the organization that I had. Then it dawned on me. They did not have a hand in creating it. They would never love it with the same intensity that I did.
Unless . . .
I made it possible for them to create what that organization would evolve into during their time there. When their ideas came to fruition in our projects and programs, they started loving it more. Funny how that works.
Love moves us.
Learn how to help others contribute to your dreams.
They will love it, and everyone will
Accountability is a 100-percent situation: either I did, or I did not. As the Star Wars character Yoda, said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Willingness is at the core of accountability.
I must be willing to do what it takes to get what I want. Otherwise I cannot hope to succeed. If I have all the resources and support I need, but lack the desire, I will come up short.
I will settle for something less than intended. The danger with that is that I will convince myself that close enough is the same as fully successful. Little by little, I delude myself into believing that I am doing my best when I am far from it.
How bad do you want it?
There is no aspect of my life that is not affected by this: work, finances, health, relationships, you name it.
Accountability is keeping the promises made to yourself.
Any promise I have made to someone else I also made to myself. I am committed to stepping up no matter what. When I don’t, I take the hit.
So I have to ask myself, “How badly to I want to be healthy? How badly do I want to grow my business? How badly do I want my marriage to be amazing? How badly do I want the respect of my friends and peers? How badly am I willing to do what it takes to make all that happen?”
There is no one else to do my part of the heavy lifting. Others might help out at times, but there is no walking away from the task until it is accomplished.
Be excellent to yourself
I deserve excellence. Don’t you? One of my tenets for living the INPowered life is to be excellent to myself. I am accountable for doing just that.
There is leverage and freedom in being accountable. Click here to see what I mean.
I am still learning how to use accountability to make my life better–to be more INPowered. I have renewed my promise to eat excellent food, and by that I mean more healthful food. No more junk food or comfort food as my main course. I also have renewed my promise to walk at least 12 miles a week. I deserve good health, and I alone am accountable for my wellness.
I urge you to accept my accountability challenge and live the excellent life you deserve.
I know that when I am more accountable, I am more
Leaders are clear minded about their mission and purpose, which allows them to act decisively in the pursuit of it. This decisive clarity attracts like-minded followers eager to engage in support of that mission. They see a place for themselves in that vision.
Leaders take the first step so we all can move together.
Clarity is powerful. It focuses creative energy on a single outcome. Clarity attracts people who have a sense, a longing, that circumstances could be better. They just don’t know how to get to that place by themselves.
This is where my definition of leadership applies: leaders help us get places we cannot or will not go by ourselves.
This clarity prevents confusion, false starts, and wasted energy. On the other hand, those who lack clarity wander indecisively and often settle for tepid results coming from blurred vision.
Leaders answer these four questions to attract followers.
1. Where are we going and why?
Growing up, I often heard that it’s better to be a meaningful specific than a wandering generality. Have a goal–a purpose–and go for it.
We like to be around people who are going places. Moreover, we admire that they have a vision of where it is they are going, and they can describe it.
In a previous post I listed six steps in the formation and perpetuation of a movement. Expressing the vision comes on the heels of the inception of the idea. Leaders describe the future they envision. Others become inspired to follow.
Embedded in the story is the why. “We are going there so that . . . ” The where and the why are captivating, but they beg the next question.
2. How are we going to get there?
Most of us need a plan of action. How many times have we bought into a grand idea, only to be disappointed in the follow through?
Politicians razzle-dazzle us with their big ideas. They repeat their ideas loud and long with much fanfare, bluster, and arm waiving, let me tell ya. Listen for the plan. Otherwise, it’s an empty promise that isn’t really going anywhere.
Plans have action steps. Plans describe mileposts that measure progress. Plans anticipate obstacles and offer work arounds.
Lack of an action plan results in many false starts and stops that waste creative energy and frustrate everyone. Before you know it, followers have lost confidence and drifted away.
Even with a plan, followers turn to their vested interest revealed in the next question.
3. Will I be OK?
Is the plan doable, and can I do it? Will I make it to the destination? If not, if it’s too risky, why would I even consider going?
Surviving isn’t enough. We need to believe that the future state is better than the current state. The greater the perceived reward, the more eager we are to follow. The reward must be worth the cost of the trip.
4. How will you help me along the way?
Leaders are teachers and providers. In the planning they account for the needs of the followers to make the journey.
There is a difference between a trail blazer and a leader. The trail blazer is on his own quest. Others can tag along, but they are on their own. Keep up or fall by the wayside.
The leader moves systematically ever closer to the destination and helps everyone keep up. Sometime progress is slower. The leader encourages collaboration and teamwork. Everyone grows as everyone goes together.
Clearly answer these four basic questions
so you can be
You can count on me. That’s a powerful affirmation. It’s promising that you are accountable for getting the job done, for being a go-to person. Then, you deliver on your promise, or you don’t. Whatever the outcome, you own it, and you own up to it.
Sometimes it’s just about you.
Ultimate accountability is holding yourself accountable to accomplish personal results that others don’t care about.
What you eat and drink is up to you.
Whether you exercise is up to you.
What you choose for entertainment or leisure activity is up to you.
The promises you make to yourself and the personal goals you set are up to you.
Sometimes it’s about others, too.
The attention you pay to your job is up to you.
The commitment you make to your relationships is up to you.
The compassion and respect you show others is up to you.
Your choice of words is up to you.
Your attitude is up to you.
Being honest and ethical are up to you.
Offering a helping hand is up to you.
Forgiving is up to you.
No finger pointing, no excuses, no exceptions
When they fall short of their expectations, or make a mistake, the accountable don’t play the blame game. They learn from the experience.
The accountable stretch and grow from misfortune.
The accountable find ways over, under, around, and through obstacles.
The accountable admit their short comings, re-evaluate their approach, and redouble their resolve to follow through on their promise.
The accountable don’t have to say, “You can count on me.” Everyone just knows they will deliver.
The accountable are
According to the saying, our heart and our treasure end up in the same place when we are feeling good about what we are doing. When that’s not happening for us, people might say that our effort is half-hearted, or our heart isn’t in it, or we are not showing any heart.
However they say it, there is a noticeable disconnect. And when we get discouraged, we often say we have lost heart.
The root of the issue is we don’t see any treasure at the end of the journey. So, why go?
What we do instead
That’s when we start looking to what everyone else is doing that seems to turn them on, and we start following along. We reason if everyone else is going, there must be something to it. We join in because we don’t want to miss out on whatever it is.
Along the way we turn to a fellow traveler and ask where everyone is going. They confess they don’t know, but it must be great because everyone is going.
Such is the anatomy of a fad. It’s exciting for a moment, then we wonder what was it all about? In the end, following the crowd got us nowhere.
Unfortunately, many repeat that cycle over and over. They spend all their energy chasing one mob craze after another until many realize they are not doing anything they are personally passionate about. Nothing gobbling up their resources is repaying them with any joy.
We realize we have been suckered. We could get down on ourselves for being so silly, or . . . we could . . .
Stop following the crowd and pursue our passion
Question: in what activity do you find your deepest joy and most sincere satisfaction? What is the essence of YOU?
That is your PASSION. It defines you. It is what you must be about. It is where your heart leads you.
For me it is doing exactly this–INCouraging your spirit and helping INLarge your expectations of living INPowered. The media of my message are blogs, the Spirit of Leading podcast, writing the Marcus Winn leadership novellas, storytelling, and providing in-person INPowerment lab experiences.
I strive for my words to be the expression of me. The words you read and hear reflect the positive intent of my heart and soul. For that reason, I try to be positive in tone. When I find myself wanting to rant about my concerns over the the state of leadership as I see it, I look for the positive way to describe how INPowering leadership acts.
My passion and my heart
My passion is to help a new generation of leaders elevate the quality of leadership from the abysmal depths to which it slipped during my adulthood. (OK, forgive a little rant here.) I know we can do better, and I see it happening among our millennial generation. I want to celebrate and encourage their optimism that they can make the world better than what they got served up through no fault of their own.
To this end I devote my creative energy–every ounce of it.
Because I believe that in every facet of our lives,
at home, at work, and in our communities,
we must be
AND WE CAN
Get people engaged in your cause, and their hearts and minds will follow. Why do you think politicians and churches put new volunteers and members to work as soon as possible?
There is a simple truth in the adage that people will support what they help to create. Why? We become personally vested in the success of the things we build. We identify with the project and the values it represents.
Becoming a true believer
There is nothing abstract about rolling up your sleeves and going to work. And herein is the secret: when you get involved, you get up close and personal with the goals and the values of the project.
You might even have an impact on shaping those goals. When you are meaningfully involved in an important project, you are more likely to become committed to seeing it through to completion.
Giving heart and soul
We are creatures of purpose and passion. We abhor the mindless, the mundane, and the meaningless. When nearly two-thirds of employees say they are not engaged at work, they are saying their work is mindless, mundane, and meaningless.
So, it’s not just that we give people something to do. We must connect their activity with the greater purpose and values of the endeavor.
This is especially true with younger workers. They want to do important work, says Inc. Magazine.
I’ve been astounded over and over when Millennials tell me they enjoy working hard on significant projects, seeing results, and being recognized for their effort. The key is, significant projects. They don’t want to waste their time on busy work.
Learn the power of significant engagement, and you’ll solve most of the problems with motivation.
And you will be more
Related post: How movements take hold and grow
Action creates momentum. The INPowered know there is no time like now! to take action. Why?
Because it takes more energy to get the ball rolling than it does to keep the ball rolling.
Sometimes I procrastinate. I call the condition SIDD–a Self Imposed Delay or Distraction. Here’s how I beat it every time. (more…)