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 by Nico&CO on flickr.
A few years ago, Chris Brogan decided to pick three words to shape his year. He says that the three words “sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year.” In 2006, his words were “Ask. Do. Share.” This year, he chose “Walt. Ender. Monchu.” I know, not exactly intuitive, but the point is that you select what makes sense to you.
Many others jumped on board and picked three words. Recently, I was reading Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and noticed he picked three words (starvation, beyond, student).
MY THREE WORDS
This year, mine are health, love and listen.
True health is not only physical. Health is something that encompasses the full you: physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional. It is something you pursue, a state where you keep negative forces at bay. It’s more than the absence of sickness. It’s also the presence of well-being.
Photo by hectorir on flickr.
When you make a commitment, especially one to yourself, you begin to energize your mind in a way that opens new doors of possibility.
A commitment starts the engine of the subconscious mind. It takes a dream or an idea, and begins the process of turning it into reality. Mixed with discipline, commitment shapes the future.
Steve Jobs is known for a lot of his attributes, but one of them was his commitment. He was committed to excellence. There’s one story about him opening up an Apple computer, looking inside and making the team start over. You can hear the conversation:
Steve: That’s ugly.
Engineer: Who cares what the PC board looks like? The only thing that’s important is how well that it works. Nobody is going to see the PC board.
Steve: I’m gonna see it! I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of the cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it.
Photo by s_falkow on flickr.
You are perched high above a courtroom, wondering how you got into this position. You pinch yourself thinking, “This is a dream!”
You watch as the prosecutor stands up and addresses the court. The evidence is overwhelming. The facts are clear. The accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and should be locked away for years. The attorney begins to outline the evidence, building the case block by block. You watch a videotape of the crime. You hear the witnesses testifying one by one. Finally, the prosecution rests its case.
The defense attorney stands up, adjusts her suit and begins to say, “Good afternoon,” when you hear a voice thunder, “Enough! I’ve heard enough. Let’s not waste any more time. Guilty. Ten years in prison and no parole!”
The courtroom is stunned. After all, what judge would possibly issue a sentence before hearing both sides of the argument.
Who would do that?!
The answer? YOU.
And me. We all do it. We make judgments before hearing both sides. And nowhere is that more obvious than in the middle of election season. Do you:
Photo by dfbphotos on flickr.
We’ve all said it. “Take a deep breath.”
When the kids come running in the door, breathing heavily and launching into a story a mile a minute. “Take a deep breath.”
When someone is panicked and trying to tell you what happened, but she is obviously under duress. “Relax. Take a breath, then tell me.”
When he storms into your office with a voice just beneath a yell, red-faced and angry about something someone did. “Before you tell me another word, take a deep breath.
But the real benefit comes from breathing before a crisis or stressful event. A deep breath almost at any time can change your mood, improve your day and help you achieve more. I don’t always remember to do it, but when I do, my day is more relaxed and I have a better and calmer presence. As a singer, I know that I feel better after singing a difficult song. The reason may very well be the forced deep breathing from the diaphragm.
Some of the benefits of practiced deep breathing: