I read recently: “You can’t push another person up a ladder.”
The scenario regarding motivation often goes like this: one person gets charged up about health, spiritual life, physical fitness, a new commitment to career or business venture – and the husband, wife or co-worker just doesn’t share that motivation. Motivation is not easily transferred, even to people close to us.
And, it helps us to remember, that even in us, motivation is a fickle, illusive and temporary companion. So, even for us, we don’t always persevere and stay “at” what we “really wanted” a few days or weeks or months earlier.
So, when it comes to getting others charged about something that we’re charged about, whether a spouse, child, employee or business partner, we’d do well to remember that motivation mostly comes from within (perhaps based on observing something or someone) and then it works itself to the outside.
Anda, a boss, spouse or parent can usually, at best, just motivate on a short-term or a negative basis. (Wife says to husband, “We’ve got to do something about how we’re eating….” – Or boss says, “Your raise is dependent on getting your sales figures up within the next 3 months.”) In short-term cases (and this is the problem with the short-term goal like losing 20# before a wedding) motivation lasts only for the duration of the term, or less! And with negative motivations, when the pressure reduces, the behavior reverts.
So can I help others get or stay motivated? There are some principles we can employ, like:
1. Share testimonials – without implicating the other person. When you’re ready, when the “light bulb” has gone on in your heart and mind – go for it, for your own long-term good, and then share the results. You can say things like, “Man, I feel so much better since….” Or I really enjoyed that last book I read on….” Or “You would not believe how much energy I’ve had lately…”
2. Make certain you persevere in your own motivation, despite the fact that motivation for you might wane at times. Commit and stay committed, get some accountability, assemble some cheerleaders around you who are committed to the same kind of goals. There’s nothing quite so de-motivating to a spouse, friend or child as to see you move quickly from excited, to frenzied activity, to quitting when your motivation fades.
3. Then, when and if the conversation comes (and let it be initiated by the other person) – when the conversation you’ve been wanting to have about their need to do something in the area in which you’re motivated comes: begin by assuring them of how much you love or care about them; and that that is the reason you’d love to see some transformation in them as well. Knowing someone cares deeply is one of the strongest of motivational factors.