"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary" - Steve Jobs
What we seemed to have overlooked in the study of motivation is that which guides us is far more controlled by the heart than the mind. We can rationalize all day with statistics but numbers never tell the whole story. We live in a Big Data age that presents us all the validation we need to make logical choices with systematic application. That's the safe way to do it and the quickest way to be like everyone else.
There are two people in this world:
1. Those who follow process to the letter of the law.
2. Those who oppose authority with vitriol.
The answer to our motivation conundrum lies in-between.
Safety Motivated by Fear
Middle management remains the greatest stop gap to progress in most organizations. Managers are taught to "manage the process" instead of "encourage the heart". Managers are trained to ask open ended questions to their non-suspecting audience. When the answer to said question is not readily available, the manager pseudo-validates his/her position. The system is in place, the results are proven and the methods are not the be questioned.
So is laid a dependable road to mediocrity. Safe and unchanged.
The great Brian Wilson is one of music's great misunderstandings. His brilliance was progressive to the point of being dismissed as weird. Where most would fear the failure of losing public admiration, Brian Wilson risked everything he had worked for to recreate the way music is made. It nearly cost him his sanity.
Would your employees to risk everything to keep your company evolving? Would you be willing to be perceived as weird, unpopular or insane to provoke the emotion of your workforce?
No one ever gained the admiration of their public by doing the safe thing. There are those who have lost their career in presenting a dream without focus.
Again, the answer to our motivation conundrum lies in-between.
Never has the work world seen so much opportunity to evolve nor has there been so many facades.
So, how do you prove you mean it?
I've always found it easy to discover a fraud.
Here are a few pointers:
- People who present perfect ideas but cannot expound upon them.
- People who do not follow up.
- People who present courage behind the curtain but switch their story on stage.
Pulling the Heart Strings
Think of the people who have genuinely inspired you. Coaches, Teachers, Bosses... what common characteristics do they share? Maybe none. But I bet each has an ability to remind you of your greatness. They can provoke your emotion by denouncing your doubt. It is certain that uncertainty creates stress. We worry about that which is undetermined. In these times, we don't need to hear about a 5 point plan or to review our pipeline, we need a hand on our shoulder.
Managers fail to become leaders because they fail to encourage the heart. The inability to be human enough to put formality aside is what prohibits trust. Leaders will admit they are fallible, they will listen more than they talk, they will close the lap top and give you a hug.
We all have the ability to believe. We just need someone to tell us it's OK to believe.
Numbers lie and certainty never created anything inspiring. The seeds in your pocket can be the bean stock that catapults us into the future.
You are only afraid because you've been discouraged. Be encouraged and seek those who fuel your less-than-predictable individuality. It is the only way to achieve the impossible.
Don't Forget to Remember!