Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Natural Born Motivator


I extol quite a bit on what makes people tick. In conversations with friends and colleagues, my speech is peppered heavily with motivational phrases, e.g. "It'll come to you. You can make it happen," so on and so forth. All that, in an effort to create some meaningful momentum in those around me.
Are there natural born motivators? I'd like to think so.
I love to say this. It feels good to help. The philanthropic pleasure principle might apply but I've never seen myself as just a charitable sort. It might just be harking back to the deep-seated ideas of good karma from my Asian upbringing. And the particular brand of aid I dispense, is motivation.
Driving a person to achieve their goals is a natural high, both for the motivator and the motivated. It's the same reason why athletic coaches stay in their jobs year in, year out. The satisfaction of coaching a fellow human to success far outweighs any vicarious contentment you derive from doing the same for yourself. Being able to internalize the mental dedication, commitment and drive; in order to externalize and manifest this in another, that's rare.
Recently, I've successfully applied and was hired for a very attractive position in a global tech company. During the process, I came across several other travelers in life who were doing the same. At first it felt strange to give advice, words of encouragement to another person who was riding the same emotional rollercoaster as myself. Gradually, the act of lending the sympathetic ear, pointing out someone's strengths began to flow more naturally. At the end of a month, motivating half a dozen different people was second nature. The moment I spotted a person whose confidence was flagging or was beginning to self-doubt, I'd step in quickly. I'm glad to say my success rate is about 50%  of all those I have tried to help. In this world, I like those odds. Even.
This is how I go about doing this.
  • Eliminate self-doubt. --- This is by far the worst mental toxin anyone can encounter. Doubt removes perspective. Doubt creates paralysis. My personal favorite is to run through a list of the individual's achievements, big or small, to help them remember they are not without merit.
  • Don't flatter. --- We react instinctively to inane flattery. We come built in with bullshit detectors. Laying platitudes or false compliments do not work. Tell the truth till it hurts. This seems to the only way humans learn.
  • Act wisely. --- Some people do not want to feel 'helped'. Motivation works only when the means are almost sub-dermal. Choice words or phrases uttered at the right moments go much further than repeated hammering of 'you can do it' in someone's ear.
  • Stay motivated. --- In trying to motivate others, it is important to have goals of your own. It builds empathy for what the next person is going through. It is cliched, you need to be motivated to motivate others. I did my best 'work' when I was pushing myself to achieve my goals. Before I tried to help others, I'd remind myself about what I wanted. Nothing else gave a greater boost than a inwardly-directed kick to myself to strive for what I want. That kind of energy is infectious. People react to it. Call it a vibe, aura, whatever - your desires are palpable to those around you.
Try helping someone else, motivate them. Push them, shove them, encourage them towards achieving their goals and dreams.
Go on. This is your time. I know you can do it.