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Self motivation part 12

Simple problem solving

When action has been decided there are a few simple steps that can help manage the process.

  • Always make sure that one person only is accountable for the action
  • Who will be the responsible person or persons who will carry out the task?
  • Who do you need to talk to that will help or provide information for the task?
  • Who do you need to keep informed?

This is a simple approach covering the major concerns.
In practice, it may be hard to define those responsible as this can be flexible.
This is on the basis that the person accountable will identify those as and when necessary to deliver the goods.

For any action a simple grid could be prepared that identifies those above under the headings:

  • Accountable
  • Responsible
  • Talk to
  • Inform

Role models

Role models are extremely important and probably the best will be parents.
Clearly, there will be others, sports stars, religious leaders, film stars but parents have a greater opportunity to influence and motivate.

Would you like your child to be like you? Imitation is a common way of learning.
How do you deal with emotional issues? Do you explain issues to your child?

Are you too much of a perfectionist having no room for failure? Everyone fails. We learn a lot from failure and gain experience.
Being too rigid and inflexible may not allow you to achieve your goals.

Do you make time for your family? Do you instigate activities or wait to be asked?
How much interest to do you take in your child’s activities or school work?

If you analyse your current position and find you are lacking in particular skills what do you do?
Well you could ask someone that you admire in that area for their advice and opinions.
If you can’t do this, you could observe another person you admire to see how they may react in a similar situation.

You can of course also develop yourself as a role model. If you try acting in a particular manner it may help to develop that particular characteristic.
Why not have a go at acting lessons? These help a lot of people gain confidence.

If you are serious about using a role model to help with your motivation make sure you make the effort to choose the correct one(s).
The idea is to try to act as you think they would do in a given situation. You are trying to emulate them.

If you just choose ‘famous’ people at random and vaguely label them as your role model you might end up just envying them and not trying to copy them.

Don’t just jot down their names. Make an effort to get to know more about them by reading autobiographies and other literature.
Display their picture prominently as a constant reminder to the standards you wish to achieve. Help your motivation.

No absolutes

The character of individuals is never polarised completely in one direction.
Even an eternal optimist will be pessimistic at some point in time and vice versa.
It can be too simplistic to imagine that people can be like a light switch either in the ‘on’ position or the ‘off’ position as though they were programmable in binary code.

It’s important to bear in mind that we are all, for much of our lives, somewhere in between.
The important point is to recognise when you are being pessimistic and then to actively think of ways to overcome it.

Negative thinking

We know that if you begin to think in a negative way your bearing, manner, motivation and performance will tend to follow.
As a manager and a leader (see The Complete Leadership package) it is important to spot negative thinking and do something about it.

Firstly, as a leader, you should not indulge in negative thinking yourself.

Try some of these methods:

  • This technique is quite powerful whenever you wish to direct people to think about goals not just for negative thinking. Point out to the person that success doesn’t always arrive first time, it can take a while once suitable practice has built up experiences. In addition, if something just simply appears to go wrong they should not dwell on it. They should look for reasons for failure and try again.

To help with this get people to draw up a contract with themselves. They should think about their medium term goals, write them down together with the actions needed to achieve them. Then get them to seal it in an envelope and you can give it back to them in 2 or 3 months time (depending on the time span) to see how they got on.

When looking at goals you may wish to use S.M.A.R.T. targets.

  • If they can focus on what they want to achieve it is then a simple step to ask them to consider all of the obstacles that may prevent them from getting there. Some of these obstacles may reside in their own make up in terms of fears (see Self Motivation – part 2) and stresses. If you can try to get people to talk about these problem areas. It’s up to you to try to remove or alleviate problems to help them achieve.
  • Get people to create something that, for them, represents their goals and a dream of where they wish to be in 2 to 3 months time. This can be a drawing, a mind map, a model or a poem for example. If they wish they can put it on display, if not they can keep it private.