Dan Thurmon is on stage, and I’m already wondering how I will describe this scene. He’s completely different from other speakers, but I’m not even sure I would characterize this as speaking. He moves effortlessly from motivational speaker to performer. One minute I am furiously writing down nuggets of wisdom to review for later. The next, I am gripping my hands together as I watch him balancing on a unicycle as knives are thrown his way. After he leaves the stage, I intentionally eavesdrop on the others around me. They, too, are trying to put it into words.
Dan Thurmon’s performance may be difficult to describe because he has blended his many interests and talents into a role that suits him uniquely and perfectly—roles that include speaker, author, juggler, and acrobatic performer. Dan is a keynote speaker, a member of the prestigious Speaker’s Roundtable, and the president of Motivation Works, Inc.
Dan dispenses advice that seems to contradict common wisdom. He talks about life balance in a way that gets your attention: balancing atop a tall unicycle as he juggles sharp objects.
Here are five things you may not expect to hear from a motivational speaker:
- Forget balance. The goal to have a life in balance in unattainable and also undesirable. Life is off balance and you must be off balance to grow. The key is to be off balance on purpose. Embrace uncertainty to create a life you love.
- Let go to get a grip. You need to let go of the necessity to control everything. Let go of the need to do everything yourself. Let go of negative emotions. Letting go will free you.
- You won’t reach your potential. It may seem strange to hear this from a motivational guru, but you have an infinite capacity to grow, learn and love. Keep reaching higher.
Photo by timsackton on flickr
In today’s hyper-competitive market, creating sticky customer relationships is paramount.
After all, keeping existing customers is five times less expensive than finding new ones. That’s good business in anyone’s book.
Traditional competitive factors like product design, technology and distribution channels are harder to sustain in a super-fast, mega-networked world. In fact, the good old “Four P’s of Marketing” – product, price, promotion and placement – are having much less impact for companies competing in today’s marketplace. A fifth “P” – people – has become an increasingly important competitive factor.
Consider this: About 70% of customers’ buying decisions are based on positive human interactions with sales staff. Add to this the fact that 83% of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from services and information which are created and delivered by people. The bottom line is that people buy from people, not companies. So, your people – and the performance they deliver – are the defining competitive advantage for your organization.
The Anatomy of Passionate Performance
Think of the times you’ve gone shopping or to a restaurant and dealt with service people who were visibly excited to be in their jobs and to be serving you. Their words jumped out of their hearts rather than being regurgitated from a script. They probably surprised you with the extra effort and thoughtfulness they put toward satisfying your particular needs or questions – and they actually seemed happy to do it!
Now, consider how you felt when you left these establishments. Did you buy more than you had planned? Were you likely to return? Did you recommend these businesses to friends? You probably answered “Yes” to at least one of these questions. That’s the beginning of a value chain that starts with engaged employees.
When people are engaged in their work and feel a deep connection to it, they deliver Passionate Performance. Passionate Performance creates satisfied customers, and ultimately, value for the organization.
Procrastination is not inherently evil. There may be benefits to procrastination. Before ending procrastination for good, make sure you understand why you are delaying in the first place.
Why do we procrastinate?
No commitment. You realize after waiting a period of time that you aren’t fully committed to the goal. Better to know before you spend hours and hours on it, then abandon it.
Bad idea. It may be that you realize it’s a bad idea or that there is another way to accomplish something.
Too many goals. Maybe you put it aside in favor of something else or you have competing priorities.
Laziness. You look at your last week and realize that you have no excuse. You are just lazy. A sloth.
Exhaustion. You are physically and mentally spent doing other things, and you don’t start because your tank is running on empty.
Fear of failure. By not starting, you don’t finish and therefore reduce your risk of failure. After all, if you finish, everyone will see the end result and judge it. Rather than risk that, you never begin.
Photo by Fellowship of the Rich on flickr.
People seem to be motivated by one of two forces. Either toward or against.
Both can be equally powerful motivators, but one seems to last.
Why are you in motion?
When I interview people for a job, I often ask questions about how the individual made career decisions. Some job changes were motivated by moving AWAY from something—a bad boss, a negative work environment, low pay. Other people make a change to move TOWARD something—a new opportunity, the ability to make a bigger impact, a better use of talent.
Though it’s not scientific validation, I’ve found that the people moving TOWARD the new opportunity are more successful, happier, and continue on an upward career path. These people are energized by the future, by what’s to come, by what’s possible.
Contrast that with the people moving AWAY from a job. It seems that the very same things that they didn’t like about the one job magically seemed to follow them to the next!
Moving TOWARD is more powerful than moving AWAY.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/azndc.
Hanging in the family room of my childhood home was a needlepoint that my oldest sister carefully crafted. It was a picture of eight owls on a tree limb, and underneath had the words “there’s always room for one more.” That saying was almost a family mission statement. My parents decided to open the family home to anyone who had a need. Some people would live with us for years and became as close as another sibling. Others would stay a night or two, needing help with a problem or a place to sleep. I have many interesting stories and experiences from this unique way to grow up. I learned more about people and perspective than I could have imagined. I learned to respect individuals as they were. The problem that brought someone to our doorstep didn’t define them, and neither did their race or religion.