Category Archives: Goals

Can You Motivate Others?

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.

Translating goals into activity

How well will your purpose and goals (short-term or long-term goals) make it onto your to-do list this week?

One great way to measure your passion for your goals is that connection. The “some day I want to” kind of thinking regarding goals simply doesn’t translate well into action. As you’ve heard it said, “a goal without a plan is just a dream.”

One of two things needs to change.

Either you’ve got the wrong long-term goals — or you’ve assumed you can’t do anything much about them, so back into the file drawer they go…. If the latter is the case,

find some connectivity — even if it’s a single baby step that will get you moving in the direction you know you WANT to go!

For instance:

  •  I will begin reading that book I bought….
  •  I will call ____________ and ask for some time to talk about my goals
  •  I will do 30 minutes of research on ____________

Write it; assign a time this week to get it done — gain some accountability — and you will revel in some new connection between what you want to do and what you’re actually doing!

Finishing Well

This one is for anyone who gets started in a project, a relationship or a massive responsiblity and discovers how hard things can get…

It happened in the Olympics in Mexico City back in 1968:

At the Olympic stadium, the sounds of police sirens captured the attention of the few remaining spectators in the Olympic stadium late that particular evening. 

Out of the cold darkness he came. John Stephen Akhwari, the final runner in the 26-mile marathon, a young man from Tanzania, entered at the far end of the stadium.  His country was in the Olympics for the first time, since being established in 1964.  As he came, pain hobbled every step he took; his leg was bloody and bandaged from a bad fall very early in the race — he had run and walked most of the marathon that day in great pain. 

The winner of the Olympic marathon had been declared over an hour earlier.  But still this final runner had pressed on.  When he crossed the finish line, the small crowd roared its appreciation.

Afterward, a sportscaster asked him why he had not simply retired from the race, after being injured and knowing he had no chance of winning.  He seemed confused by the question.  Finally he answered: “My country did not send me to 9,000 miles to start the race, they sent me to finish”.

Finishing — and finishing well. The challenge to you and me very often is precisely the one faced by Akhwari that day. It’s not the challenge to win. His competition, he knew, was not with others when he took the last legs of his race. It was with the dogged temptation to settle, to give in, to declare himself a loser and act like one! Have you made the powerful discovery that your challenges are intended, not to get you out of the race, but to steel your determination to finish your race.

The temptation to quit a job, a marriage, a business might be beyond anything you anticipated when you began. You’ve maybe heard the voices of other early quitters telling you what a waste it is to continue. But something tells you, there’s more to this that a line at the end of the track. You ready to join the company of finishers?

8 Questions That Challenge Me

Some questions that challenge me in the direction of growth…

1. What sources of input (entertainment, books, music, websites) get the bulk of my attention, thereby molding my thinking, attitude and behavior?

2. Who are my closest associates and friends and how does their influence shape me?

3. Who regularly challenges my thinking and assumptions — who asks me the hard questions?

4. Am I lying to myself about the realities of success, significance and integrity?

5. Is there appropriate focus and balance between the dimensions of my life? (work, relational, physical, spiritual, emotional)

6. Am I growing in the real people skills: vulnerability, commitment, loyalty, honesty, truth, authenticity, love?

7. What impact and influence flows from my relationships and involvement with people and organizations?

8. Who and what am I becoming?

Remember What You Want

Discipline, said David Campbell, is remembering what you want.

Most of us don’t relish the necessary actions or new habits that flow out of disciplined and planned new courses of behavior. But, almost everyone values the fruit of that discipline.

The need is to hold up in front of yourself that fruit — and the promise of more!

See, it’s the substance of good vision — a vision which helps you to keep at the acts of discipline when the motivation that started you on the new course is at times absent!

At Catalyst we coach our clients to help them keep doing what they committed to themselves to do, even when the motivation that fueled the commitment is diminished. Another value of having a coach in your corner.

Questions Coaches Ask

Coaches ask questions, the kind of questions that even your best friend might not ask.

Coaching therefore calls for commitment to both honesty and humility. Remember, without the process, you won’t get to the product.

So here are 3 introductory questions you might hear from a Catalyst coach:

  •  What do you really want? (in business, your marriage, spiritual or physical health, etc)
  •  What is it that holds you back? (in other words, what’s keeping you from what you just said you wanted —   here’s where honesty is required!
  •  What is it costing you (and what will it cost you) to continue holding back?

If you tackle the 3, shoot us a private message and let us know how you did with the answers!