Success Harmony Newsletter
HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS?
Imagine two small children learning to walk. One child's parent takes the child for a stroll, holds the child's hand, praises each success, and kisses the child's bruises better as some steps happen to be unsuccessful. The child knows that each next step will be celebrated. The second child's parent, stressed out from too much work, is impatient and, each time the child falls, the parent says "if you fall again, I won't pick you up. You can do better than this, you stupid!"
Will both children learn to walk? Yes. They probably will. Will one child love to walk and the other hate it? I think so.
I have worked with animals since I was about 11 years old and I have enjoyed observing people and their motivations since about the same time. One of the earliest "doggie training tricks" that I learned was when I was told that dogs learn by a combination of punishment and reward. However "sophisticated" we may be, we still respond to much of the same. Each of the motivating factors is a useful part of learning but we need to know when to use them.
The "away from" motivation is a very powerful force because it makes us remember pain and how to avoid that pain. This motivation works very quickly and this is why it has been overused so much. Teaching children, wives, or dogs by hitting them is one awful example. The Pattison style of managing salespeople (ie. "Every month, the lowest-producing person is fired") is another. This motivation teaches very quickly but can leave deep, hard-to-repair scars.
The "reward" motivation doesn't tend to be as immediate. In our society of "instant everything", it isn't as favoured because of the need for patience. The reward can be anything positive - praise, acknowledgment, a prize, money, time off, etc. It feels good.
Good motivation is usually some combination of both. For example, it should hurt a little not to meet a deadline (but not have a threat of firing or such) and feel VERY good to meet the deadline. This conditions you to get good results and want more!
Back to Archive Page
WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE WITHOUT A SMILE, GIVE THEM YOURS!
I believe that a sense of humour has been given to us as a natural mood-enhancer. At the same time, I believe that tears and the ability to cry has been given to us as a natural cleansing mechanism - an inner vacuum cleaner, so to speak. I believe that an emotionally healthy human being should be able to feel - to smile at a child running through mud, to cry with joy at their best friend's wedding, to let tears wash away the loss of someone or something held dear, to belly-laugh at a joke even if it happens not to be 100% politically correct, to smile with gratitude at receiving a gift, to experience the joy of connecting with another.
As a society, it seems that we have shut down emotionally. Likely to protect ourselves from the effects of negativity on the news or the threat of yet another change. It is said that as much as 30% of the workforce is on some form of anti-depression therapy. Is that necessary? I don't believe that it is. I have spoken to people from all sorts of walks of life - the rich, the poor, the single, the married. It seems to me that most (if not all) of us are craving the same things - love, compassion, connection, acknowledgment, or another form of human "feeling good". Even a simple smile can activate a lot of those things and connect people on a deep level. Just try it. And notice how YOU feel better, too.
Back to Archive Page
ARE YOU SELLING QUANTITY OR QUALITY?
There are two main ways to sell products and services (this includes applying for a regular "job" as well, by the way). I would call them the "McDonald's style of selling" and the "Armani style of selling". The marketing style of each of these types is different and produces different results.
McDonald's Restaurants and similar businesses owe their success to size, consistency of products and service, and impeccable business systems. Because of those things, they can afford to charge less than other restaurants. They don't advertise "good" food, they advertise that it's "cheap, fast and always the same". You don't walk around with pride that you eat there, in fact you may eat there despite your best judgement. They often mention the newest deal or special. Low price is very important in this style.
Armani, on the other hand, doesn't mass-produce the same way. They don't advertise price, they advertise the "value" of the purchase. People buy Armani suits because of image (ie. "If I have an Armani suit, I look rich and successful") and because of lasting value. A Walmart-bought suit may be much cheaper but it also falls apart after the first wash. An Armani suit may in fact be a better buy in the long term.
When you are marketing your business or yourself in job interviews, know which style you want to use to market. In the "quantity" based selling, you will attract more customers, more easily. The price you pay for selling this way is that the loyalty of your customers goes only as far as your lowest price . As soon as a bigger competitor offers a better deal, your customers are gone. Also, you may work longer hours without the rewards.
In the "quality" based selling, it will likely take more time to find your customers or a job that fits. Also, you will need to spend more time on positioning your services as uniquely valuable. The good thing is that you are seen as a partner to your customers and it is difficult to replace you. You will have a far higher customer loyalty and likely a high satisfaction level, too.
Back to Archive Page
HOW TO TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE
I spoke to someone recently who I have a lot of respect for and, at one point, she mentioned that her business reputation includes being arrogant and not catering to the inexpensive part of the market. Although she said that this was only a tiny part of her reputation, she was unhappy about it and wanted to do something to improve her reputation.
I asked her if there was any truth to her catering to the bigger players in her market. First, she said "no" but then she said that she gives the greatest value to people who think big and want to think bigger. She said that she simply isn't as able to help the people who want to think small. All of a sudden, the criticism of her work led to a benefit she is able to provide to her clientele.
This is so often the case. The class clown hated by conservative teachers becomes someone who makes the entire nation laugh. The person who is "too aggressive" has the strength to make changes that others don't have the stamina for. The person who was "too sensitive and emotional" becomes a superb healer. Have you ever experienced negative labels? Don't just hide that they are not true. Go deeper than that. How can you turn what "they" say is negative into something positive and valuable?
Back to Archive Page
"When a man blames others for his failures, it's a good idea to credit others with his successes."
Howard W. Newton
"Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time."