Is motivation enough?

Many self-help gurus preach that simply being motivated is enough to overcome any obstacles in your life.  If you aren’t reaching your goals, they teach, then you simply aren’t motivated enough.  And, by the way, they have a book to sell you or a class to offer to really ramp up your motivation.  Maybe a week in Fiji walking over hot coals is just what you need.  So, no.  Motivation is not enough.

I am a big fan of motivation.  By no account am I saying that motivation is unimportant or ineffective.  I am saying that motivation alone doesn’t move mountains.  Even mountain size motivation won’t do it.  Most goals that are significant in our lives require effort over longer periods of time.  You don’t launch a business, learn a language or drop those pounds with an intense five day seminar. . . . . at least not if you plan on maintaining or growing your success.

So if not motivation, what helps my clients become successful?  Before I get to that, let’s talk a little about psychology.  You can think of your thought process as having three distinct personalities.  There is the Cool Calculator.  The Cool Calculator sits in your frontal lobe and thinks very rationally about what is best for you.  It weighs cost versus benefit and creates action plans.  The Cool Calculator isn’t bothered by weakness or emotion.  The second player is The Toddler.  The Toddler is emotional.  The Toddler is very much in the moment.  Long range plans or balancing cost and benefit are beneath The Toddler.  It simply wants what it wants and it wants it now.  The third player in your own personal psychosis is The Traditionalist.  The Traditionalist has the easiest job of the three.  The Traditionalist simply responds to every situation by saying, well this is what we have done in the past.  This is what we ALWAYS do.  Every thought you have and every decision you make has a little of each of these three players.  Sometimes the Cool Calculator is a little more powerful.  Sometimes it is The Toddler.  Frequently, especially when you aren’t thinking about the situation very much, it is The Traditionalist.

Each of these personalities respond to different tactics.  The Cool Calculator will respond to determination.  The cold weighing of cause and affect works well for the Cool Calculator.  The Toddler is swayed by motivation.  Big grandiose visions on a dream board can sway even the grumpiest of Toddlers.  The Traditionalist responds to positive habit.  The Traditionalist doesn’t worry about the end game or the results.  All The Traditionalist cares about is what we always do.

Knowing this, craft your goals and action plans to utilize motivation, determination and positive habit together.  Each of these will help a different one of your personalities to move toward the final vision.

Rightly timed pause

No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.- Mark Twain’s Speeches (1923 ed.)

While Mark Twain was referring to a pause in a play or story, a rightly timed pause is powerfully effective in many aspects of life.  

In conversation, most of us spend the time the other person is speaking planning what we are going to say next. Instead, listen to what the other is saying, pause and then respond authentically. 

When a boss just drops a bombshell on your desk, don’t go straight fight or flight. Instead pause, think about why this is happening and how this situation might be turned into a positive and then respond. 

Take the time. A deep breath’s worth. Take your rightly timed pause.  Your life will be richer for it. 

7 Billion Prospective Clients. Zero Percent Conversion.

A conversion rate is the percent of targeted people who you turn into actual customers or clients.  When your conversion rate is zero, it doesn’t matter how many prospective clients you have.  You will not get any customers or clients or subscribers.  There are seven billion people on the planet.  Even if every single one of those seven billion are your prospective target, a zero percent conversion means you won’t have a single customer.  You are better off only having one prospective target with a 100 percent conversation rate.

Most financial, career and personal goals require some conversion of other people.  It may be clients, customers or subscribers, but it could also be a boss or co-workers.  It may be a team, an organization or someone at a target company.  Who ever it is and what ever you want from them, you are looking to convert them from what ever position they are holding to the position you need them to hold.

Narrow your target and truly engage fewer targets.


If not you, then who?

Who decides what is important to you?  Who decides by what measurement you value your work, your efforts and your life?  If it isn’t you, than who is making those decisions for you?

What gets measured gets done.  How you measure success determines what actions you take and how you live your life.  U.S.S.R. was a communist country and, therefore, it didn’t have the normal flow of capital to tell its factories what to make.  It had wanted to increase production and put out a message to the factories that they would be measured on total weight produced.  How did the nail factories respond?  They produced more goods as measured in tonnage.  How did they do that?  They made large rough nails that are easy and quick to produce.  Unfortunately, there was no demand for these nails and they stopped producing the regular sized nails that were in demand.  The central agency figured out their mistake and changed the measurement.  From now on, they were going to measure production by the number of units produced.  How did the nail factories respond?  They produced more nails.  How did they do that?  They produced tiny finishing nails that were barely larger than thumb tacks.  It is kind of hard to build a house with finishing nails.

The point is, what you measure matters.  If you are allowing others to decide how your success is going to be measured, you are allowing others to control what you value and what actions you are going to take.

Own your definition of success.  Own how you choose to measure it.