One of the most asked questions I get is, “How do I get my (employees, kids, spouse, partner etc) to be more motivated, more focused, more driven, more engaged, or more whatever?” While there are hundreds of people who will give you three points and a poem for how to do that, I would encourage you to consider something counter-intuitive. Something so subtle it is often overlooked; yet so powerful it can change the way you lead, parent, love and influence. The subtlety is in the question itself …how do I “GET.” It’s not the getting that releases motivation or focus or any other of the many things we want to “get out of people.” The subtle change is about changing your thinking and verbalization to a “give” mindset. “How do I give such that those I influence are safe and inspired to release energy, motivation etc.” Inspiration, energy, etc. comes from the extent to which one comes from a giving space.
Are you sharing purpose, values, things that matter to them? To what extent are you focused on creating personal energy that’s about providing for instead of getting from? The paradox is that as we find ourselves being intent on giving to them what they need most they become more safe and free. I am reminded of the loving, well-intentioned Mom who came to me after a session and asked how she could GET her son (who loved baseball and wanted to play in college) to understand that he wasn’t really talented enough to play at a high level in college. She was more focused on getting her son to do what she wanted him to do instead of giving him the support, encouragement and freedom to pursue his passion. In this case, it turned out that he went to a university where he was very successful in baseball. Not a Division I, high-end school like his parents wanted, but he was happy and fulfilled.
Here are a few steps that will help you get your give straight:
1. Examine your words and your motives! Is your intent truly in helping them achieve and accomplish or is it deep down more about you and what you want from them and for them?
2. Be certain that when you communicate that you ask questions like,” how can I be helpful? What needs to happen for you to feel successful? “
3. Be intentionally encouraging.
4. Make certain your ratio is more encouragement than criticism.
5. Be clear about your vision and your confidence.