Motivated to Career Excellence

I will state the role of motivation in a personal business case for career excellence. In uncertain economic times it is important to gain control over your career.  I will discuss the value of proper thinking to help you take your performance to a higher level and differentiate yourself from others. You will maximize the impact of your leadership by challenging your peers to develop their skills. This will increase productivity in your sphere of influence. 

I have developed a number of sayings during my time in business;

  1.  If your job is not fun, it is not fair. If it is not fair you must be empowered to make a difference.  
  2. Every interaction is an interview. Someone is watching you, evaluating you for a promotion, an assignment, or additional responsibility.
  3. You are an audition in search of the right audience

These comments are designed to get people to think before they act and to become more strategic in their actions, because they may we walking into the perfect storm for career development. 

I have learned that the way we mentally frame the events in our lives will determine our actions, and our success, because we realize that appropriate thinking can lead to appropriate actions.  Additionally, it is important to be optimistic.  Dr. Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimism said, “We have found over the years that positive statements you make to yourself have little if any effect. What is crucial is what you think when you fail, using the power of “non-negative thinking.”  Recent research indicates that optimism also improves your health. Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism.”    

I often listen to a recording by Earl Nightingale called the Strangest Secret and review the book Danger in the Comfort Zone by Judith Bardwick.

In his timeless recording Mr. Nightingale defined “Success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. We can influence our level of success by altering our thinking. Many experts claim that we only use 10% of our mental ability, so therefore there is plenty of room for growth into our virtually untapped reserves.

The Strangest Secret according to Mr. Nightingale’s research is the realization that we become what we think about. William James said that the greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them.” So when someone says something is primarily mental, they are telling the truth. Motivation is mental. The desire to succeed is mental.  We can achieve our goals if we control our thinking.  

The economy is going through turbulent times.  During tough times the weak among us tend to get nervous and freak out. The sky is always falling and they can always find something to complain about. The strong however, will show that in every adversity is the seed of an equivalent benefit. They look for the gifts and opportunities to shine and make a difference and provide greater service to their customers. 

Job Security

Judith Bardwick in her book Danger in the Comfort Zone speaks of three conditions or stages that companies and individuals go through that affect motivation. They are entitlement, fear and earnings. The first phase is entitlement, where people feel that everyone owes them something, a guaranteed job, predictable income, a forecast they can exceed, world-class benefits etc.  “People are complacent, she says; they get raises, bonuses and benefits pretty much as a matter of course, so there is no incentive to work hard.” When you move people beyond entitlement they must go through fear.  

According to Judith, in fear people are concerned about job security, reduced promotional opportunities and the impact on their retirement and health benefits. “People are paralyzed; the threat of layoffs makes them focus on protecting their jobs rather than doing them.”

The goal is to grow to a stage of earning. In the earning state “People are energized by challenge; they know their work will be judged and that rewards will be based on accomplishments.

I attended a conference by the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, a few years ago. He said, There is no such thing as job security any longer, however there is and there always will be employment security, which is based on skills.”  He said the lifetime employment contract was revoked and we can debate over who caused it, but one thing is true, those who have the transferable skills will hold jobs longer and get new ones when they need them. They don’t worry as much and therefore concentrate on doing their current job to the best of their ability, for they know that success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. As long as they provide value and grow their skills, they will reap the benefits and rewards for excellence. Our goal is to elevate our skills through continuous learning and improvement and control the things that we can control.

I don’t have, nor do I know anyone who has the secret of motivation that applies to everyone. Motivation is individualized and should be customized to the person. Years ago we developed a motivational survey and used it to ensure that leadership and those being led were on the same page. The motivational survey asked you to rank 20 items on their importance to you and then it asked you to rank what you were getting from the job and many times there was a disconnect. A survey of this kind is very useful in identifying what drives your behavior. 

Success Attitude

You have heard that attitude is everything and that most of what we do every day is mental. Therefore it is important to frame things in order to put them in the right perspective. How we frame things has a lot to do with performance. The key to proper framing is when faced with a challenging situation adopt a point of view that allows you to play a role in the solution. Don’t say it can’t be done, rather it hasn’t been done and think of ways to make it happen. Instead of saying others don’t get it, say they don’t get it, yet. This allows for hope and trust for change in the future. Then think of a way you can help enlighten those who need to see the light. Just complaining is not productive and is not good for your attitude.

Copyright © 2010 Orlando Ceaser

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