The story of Motivation begins with you. Deep in thought, in the roots of what makes you...you. The driving force from within that gets your feet moving. A great place to start in your path to self-motivation is to believe that before you can motivate other people, you must be able to motivate yourself. It's a feeling within your inner most being that will get you out of bed, go do what ever your going to do and be the best that you can be at it, and do it 365 days a year. At least that’s where it starts for me.
When I was a Sales and Training Manager, I thought about this topic very much. My job was not only to hire and train new associates about our company, how our systems worked, how to interact with team members and customers, and the rest of the million other things, but also to train them on the art of sales.
On a side note, I don't really care for the word training. I would prefer teaching or coaching. Training, no offense to anyone in the military, but it is just that. Militant and one-sided direction. Do this, don’t do that. Coaching or teaching someone on the other hand, allows for the ability for the one being taught to have the freedom to ask questions of why and how things are done, giving freedom to reciprocate ideas of how things may be done differently, ultimately feeding the growth of the teacher and the taught. Coaching is collaboration. Most masters are eventually surpassed by their students, as it should be so.
Since it was a commission-based job for the sales associates, one that I had accelerated through quite rapidly, I had to do some real thinking. How do I help these people make more money? The question soon evolved into "How can I do my job better, to help these people make more money?" So the mission started with me. I had to motivate.
As I spent time actively observing my staff, and their actions I paid close attention to what they would say on the sales floor. Whether it was about the job, products, or personal life, I wanted to find what was reoccurring. What did they like to do outside of work? What were they passionate about? What struggles, and challenges had they faced? Successes? I needed to know what made them tick and who they were as unique individuals. And sure enough after a while I found what I was looking for.
They had no idea what motivated them. This was the key to lock. Simply put, no one had ever asked them the question. "What motivated you?" The reason I say this is due to their expressions when I asked the question when I finally asked them.
Everyone has something different inside that is their driving force and most people do not have a clue what it is. They are so caught up in their routine that they think their routine is their motivation. "It's just what I do, and have always done. I am just happy to have a job." While having a job is nice, its better to have knowledge of what motivates you so you can do that job better, this way you can get out of the grind into something more stable that will benefit you in the long run, or maybe not to just benefit you. Maybe to get you in the right job for you that makes you happy. People that are happy in their jobs and that are passionate about what they do for a living tend to work harder and are more dedicated without adding extra stress. When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.
So one day, I gathered my team in the office and did a huddle. I always did a huddle, as I am sure most sales teams do. And I asked:
"What motivates you? What motivates you every day to get out of your bed and work your hardest?"
The answers I got blew my mind. I could not believe what I heard.
Rent. Bills, Car Payment. Debt....etc, you name it. It was a list of problems or commonality.
Problems are the opposite of motivation. Problems are negative. You cannot motivate yourself with negative because negative attracts negative.
So I cleared the air...
"Ok, I am going to ask you the question again. This time I want you to all understand that people have rent, house payments, car payments, bills, debt. This time you answer, you cannot use those because EVERYONE HAS THOSE! What motivates you?"
I wanted them to think beyond the surface of their lives, and look at what was staring right at them. Themselves.
And this time, I did not get an immediate response. The team stood there in silence and pure thought and once again it t was like they were asked the question for the first time. It is important to know that I don't disregard the first wave of answers, but to me those answers are the shell or wall we have put up over time as we have grown up or become older because it's is what we have accrued in life. No one wants to have bills or payments or debt. But most everyone has them. You have to think back to before you had any of those. What did you dream of doing growing up? What happened along the way? Why do you get up every day? I certainly do not get up everyday just to go to work to just to pay my bills. There is no point. It’s not a happy life.
I started to get responses:
"I want to travel!” “I want a new drum set!” “A better life!” “My kids!” “My Family!”
We started to get somewhere, but had just broken through the surface. Be aware of yourself and note that what motivates you may and probably will change over time but the one thing constant about motivation is that although you will change too, you will always be you.
I would like to mention it’s a curious thing when you have to motivate a team that is of the age of 18-45. Most of the people I managed were and still are 10, 15 sometimes 20 years older than me and although that doesn’t always sit well with some, it’s how you interact with them that gets you the results your searching for. Motivating people that are older that you is a lot harder than it seems; most look up to elder mentors not at younger ones, and can occasionally be described as taking advice from their kids. In order to motivate someone that is older that you, you first need to establish a level of respect before the level of authority you may have. If you do not gain respect first, you will never break through. The best and proven way, trust me I have tested it, is to get to know them as an individual. You must understand that they do have more life experience than you and that not all people are the same walks of life. That’s the beauty in it.
Motivation in its entirety, without getting all scientific, is about you. It’s a selfish choice we make, that above all other circumstances in life you will always be with you. You have to choose what kind of you, you want to live with. Motivation is about believing in yourself, your skills, capabilities and most of all that if all else fails, the one true person in life you can count on is you. When people fall down, they are the ones to pick themselves off the ground. I believe a lot of people miss out on this idea and grasp for others to help them along the way and while having a partner in life, teammates, colleagues and friends is far more beneficial than being alone, you have to be your driving force.
You may search a lifetime for what the right answer is for you. But l must say that it’s right in front of you. Looking right back at you in the mirror. You are the answer to your life, what drives you to be who you are. It’s your life. You get to choose what you do with it.
So... What motivates you?
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Shane Wieters | CEO| Manager Mint, LLC
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