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!
Robert, already in my interactions with you, I can tell how important relationships are to you. Why are relationships so important to success? How are you able to build relationships with so many people so quickly and easily?
First of all, Skip, I’m not sure the words “so quickly and easily” are applicable. One of my favorite expressions is, “The Tortoise won the race.” It is true that I’ve literally established a few hundred strong relationships over the past 19 months of networking, but it’s been done in a “slowly but surely” methodology. I’ve been going about networking the same way I’ve interacted with people all my life: caring about them, showing an genuine interest in them, trying to help them all I possibly can, creating friendships wherever I go—the bank, cleaners, post office, you name it. I take the time to get to know people well. Then, when I go out to do my errands, I’m not just doing mindless tasks; I’m going out to see my friends. It makes life so much more pleasant and meaningful. It’s smelling the roses and enjoying the journey as you live your daily life. It’s living in the moment.
It’s the same way with networking. When people of interest follow me, I send out personal direct messages inviting them to talk, interact on a high plain. I offer to help them; and it’s not just empty rhetoric, it’s for real. It’s putting into practice what the late Zig Ziglar meant when he said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s giving of yourself, paying it forward, so to speak; and people respond positively to this approach. Who doesn’t want to be around people who genuinely care about them? We all want that! What’s so wonderful about it is how it comes back to you in so many positive ways. Not always directly, but it does come back to you. Those who approach networking with the “it’s all about me” mindset, who are in a hurry to sell something without bothering to establish a solid relationship first, are foolishly self-sabotaging themselves, to say nothing about missing out on a lot of fun.
Let’s talk about fear. It stops so many of us at various times. Whether in sales or in life, how do you help people overcome it?
Many say that the first step to leadership is self-leadership. The ability to discipline yourself is important in achieving any goal. Whether a New Year’s resolution or a business goal, I am inspired by these quotes on the subject. Mastering yourself is one of the hardest things to do. I also believe that it’s impossible to achieve perfect victory over yourself, but these quotes will inspire and encourage you on your self-mastery journey.
What’s your favorite?
The first and best victory is to conquer self. –Plato
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, 723 grueling miles, is one of the most demanding sailing events anywhere. In 1998, an unexpected massive storm hit at the wrong time. Waves reaching eighty feet and winds hitting 105 mph pummeled the vessels. Australia launched the largest search and rescue operation in history. In the end, six sailors lost their lives. One hundred fifteen boats started the race, but only forty-four finished.
Leadership expert Dennis Perkins and co-author Jillian Murphy decided to write the untold story of the AFR Midnight Rambler, the 1998 Hobart race winner.
Lessons in teamwork: “Make the team the rock star.” -Dennis Perkins
Writing about The Ramblers was part of my own journey to find ways of helping leaders and teams deal with daunting challenges. I use stories of adventure and survival to communicate critical strategies that can be used by people in any challenging situation.
The approach began when I was teaching at Yale University, and I began thinking about my voice in the world of leadership and teamwork. I had my own experience with survival in the U.S. Marine Corps, but I believe that success with any significant team challenge has the same underlying ingredients. So I began researching stories of groups that had faced the limits of human endurance, a place I call The Edge.
The alarm goes off, and I reverse my pattern. I get up fifteen minutes early, and go outside first. My thoughts are not about the daily “to do” list but instead focused on the nearby tree or the birds.