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The Stage - Personal impact part 3


Don’t be a victim

It’s better for your own motivation if you can develop a proactive nature and not rely on being reactive.
In the latter case you will fall victim to other people’s choices.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every time there is a choice you childishly want your own way all of the time.
It’s about actively considering the opportunities before you choose to take them or not.

No matter how many rules, regulations and systems are in place any project relies on people and their choices in carrying it out.

If you are happy to take on responsibility you will be in a position to make more decisions based on choice.
Your own circumstances may be beyond your control but you will be able to decide on your behaviours to fit the direction in which you want to go.

When victims are faced with a similar choice they tend to shun the responsibility and avoid decision making and go into reactive mode.
They tend to blame others for their situation and try to elicit sympathy for their position. They can have the affect of de-motivating others.
They convince themselves easily that there is little point in an action and resign themselves to do nothing.

This does not mean to say that victims in the workplace are like this at home, motivation may be different.

It’s fairly easy to consider a train of events and then consider how it would be viewed by the victim (reactive) and the chooser (proactive).
In the former case many of the incidents will be viewed negatively.
The chooser will be thankful for the positive aspects and feel the negative aspects can either be ignored or managed in some way.

How do you see opportunities?

Opportunities really come in three forms:

  • Those that you trip over and are usually unexpected
  • Those that already exist but you need to actively find
  • Those that don’t exist and need to be created

The ‘chooser’ explores the three levels of opportunities and usually begins with the first type and can develop through the second to the third. People that enthusiastically take up opportunities when they arise are often known as ‘players’.

If the person is a little more proactive they may seek out existing opportunities and try them.
These individuals are termed ‘pioneers’. For those at the top of their performance abilities the other two are not enough.
These people will actively create their own opportunities and can be termed ‘creators’.

In the second case of seeking opportunities there is an analogy to the S.W.O.T technique where you are actively searching for opportunities for an intended strategy. The ‘chooser’ seeking opportunities will do this whether he or she is currently successful or not. Any negative issues are turned around to see if there can be any chance of an opportunity from of it.

The creative chooser tends to approach the current circumstance with a “what if?” mentality.
He or she is often not satisfied with ‘good’ or ‘very good’ but is searching for ways to reach ‘superb’ or ‘excellent’.

Converting the victim

There are a few areas to focus on to try to change behaviour from victim to chooser.

  • Explain the benefits of taking responsibility and making choices
  • Assess how they see themselves in terms of being a victim or being a player, pioneer or creator
  • Encourage and help them to make choices leading to becoming a chooser
  • Listen to the person and make sure they understand exactly what’s expected from them
  • Don’t accept the victim behaviour try to convince them that making a choice is best
  • Make them realise their impact on others
  • Let them see that it’s the behaviour and not the person that is at fault

In order to encourage ‘chooser’ behaviour it’s a good idea to generate the opportunities yourself as a training exercise.
It’s easy enough to prepare a list of tasks for people to do that stretch their ability to take responsibility and make a contribution.
Such activities don’t have to be confined to the work place but should not be dangerous, illegal or have potential to cause embarrassment.
The tasks can range from minor to major depending on the depth of training and encouragement you wish to give.

Encourage victims to consider their position. If they feel they have little power why not let them try to negotiate for extra control.
Naturally, this won’t always work but at least they will be more proactive.

Curtain up

The phrase ‘curtain up’ in the theatre reflects all that’s important in motivation.
When the curtain is raised the show goes on, come what may.

As far as the actors are concerned this may be the first, tenth or one hundredth performance but for the audience it is always the first.
From the actors’ perspective it can become repetitive and the need to refresh their performances is something that it is continually considered.
This is a way of life for an actor trying to rekindle the spark of the first night.


This is a much bigger problem in industry where thinking about rekindling initial enthusiasm often gets lost amongst supposed other priorities.

After a while many workers will go into automatic pilot with initial enthusiasm waning.
In some cases, the work has been routine and the individual needs a boost to find that original energy.
Drama based training is often very good in these cases for bringing out feelings that have remained buried for some time.

In a way, everyone experiences the performers’ curtain up. We all get up, work and exist for a day, sleep and then do it all over again. It’s rather like building a sand castle that is washed away by the tide every evening and the process begins again the next day.

If you wait for everyone else to generate the spark it might be a long wait.
Each day look for the excitement, interest and challenge in every task.
This may not be easy but won’t happen if you don’t try.
Be proactive.

Any action in this area requires a degree of focus and concentration to make it happen.
The more involved the individual in the creative side of their task the easier it is for them to keep up motivation.
The theatre has an audience whilst a business has customers.

The checklist

In terms of motivation are checklists useful?
Well there is no doubt that checklists are very useful in all sorts of ways.

  • They are very useful memory aids
  • They can indicate the order of doing things
  • They can simplify training processes

However, if your job role is based upon a checklist approach, for example, telephone sales or telephone car insurance then they can appear to be grey and faceless. In a lot of cases the checklist is disguised as a computer data base that has to be filled in.

In these cases the individual loses contact with the purpose of the checklist, for example making a sale or interaction with a customer, and it starts to sound very jaded. It’s important to focus on the purpose and give it a fresh approach so that The ‘customer’ remains interested. Basically, you will need to consider how you can add additional value to a job you have been doing for a while. This becomes the challenge and the motivation.


When you have choice you have independence and control over your future.

You suddenly realise that you have the power to make a difference, your contribution does matter.
Your efforts and actions will influence colleagues around you and your customers.