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!
Of all the rooms in our home, the one that accumulates clutter the fastest seems to be the garage. Maybe it’s because we pull the car in quickly. We’re only in the space for a few seconds. Maybe it’s because it’s not air-conditioned or heated, making it a real chore to clean in most months. Or maybe it’s because the items that are placed there are the ones in limbo. You know what I mean. You can’t throw them out easily or you would. That piece of furniture that holds some memories but doesn’t fit the décor of the home. The box of old magazines holding some articles you marked for some reason or another. A nice shelf lined with old shoes that may still fit but have long passed the glory days. Of course, you knew at the time you dropped these items in this state of limbo that they would never return to inside the house.
The clutter built up so slowly that it was unnoticed. We didn’t talk about it like we would if something inside needed to be cleaned up.
I’m guessing that most everyone has a space like this. Last weekend, I spent a marathon cleaning session in the garage. The shoes ended up donated to Soles4Souls. The clothes went to Goodwill. Other items were sent for recycling or to the trash.
I worked non-stop with my characteristic obsession. When I have a goal in mind, I can’t seem to stop. I don’t want to stop. I even worked through most of the night in order to get it all done.
Getting any time by myself seems to be impossible. The pressures are just always there. I never have an empty plate. I never think, “What will I do today?” My to-do lists are never ending.
To get that time, I have finally realized that I need to make an appointment with myself. I have to get away. When I do, I find that my performance everywhere goes up.
Here are 7 Steps for An Effective Appointment with yourself:
1. Make an appointment with yourself. Put it on the calendar and block the time.
2. Have a specific goal in mind. When you review your calendar for the upcoming week, your mind takes note of that upcoming appointment. If you have a goal in mind, your subconscious begins to work on it for you.
Do you remember the Road Runner cartoon? Wile E. Coyote would be chasing Road Runner who would “beep, beep!” and manage to slip away. Always two steps ahead of the coyote, Road Runner just outmaneuvered him in every episode.
I remember when the coyote would run right off a cliff in pursuit. And he would dramatically just keep running on air, not realizing that he wasn’t on solid ground. Though it was predictable, you would see the sudden realization, the pause, the expression and then the inevitable fall.
As a kid, I identified with the road runner. We were outsmarting our opponent. We just laughed at that coyote. How could he be so stupid? Every single week, he repeated the same mistakes. How could you be running so fast that you don’t realize you just ran off a cliff?
I watched one of those old cartoons today, and I looked at it from a completely different perspective. Instead of identifying with the road runner, I saw the coyote with new empathy.
Yesterday’s post was a celebration of the best book covers of the year. The graphic designers who create such works of art deserve recognition for their work.
As the year winds down, I’m struck by these cover images and the metaphor that they offer. With a quick glance at a book cover, we judge the content and the author. What the world sees of us is like that jacket, covering the real person inside. And just like a book cover, we are judged. Many times, it is before anyone ever took time to read our story.
We work hard to improve our external image. Whether through fashion, diet, exercise or even plastic surgery, we spend billions on physical improvements. It’s not just physical appearance either. We want our presence to be positive online. There are now various “reputation defender” services to combat unwanted reviews on the Internet. How we look to the outside world is important to most of us.