Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motivation Quotes


To wrap up the whole motivational theme here are a few quotes from some successful people.
Also there's a poll up about what you guys would like next as a topic...enjoy

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.
Michael Jackson

I'm different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying's for fools, dying's for amateurs.
Charlie Sheen

I won't be a rock star. I'll be a legend.
Freddie Mercury

I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.
John Lennon

A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”
Jennifer Aniston

My parent's divorce and hard times at school, all those things combined to mold me, to make me grow up quicker. And it gave me the drive to pursue my dreams that I wouldn't necessarily have had otherwise.
Christina Aguilera

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson

Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take every opportunity.
Cameron Diaz

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

I used to go around looking as frumpy as possible because it was inconceivable you could be attractive as well as be smart. It wasn't until I started being myself, the way I like to turn out to meet people, that I started to get any work.
Catherine Zeta Jones

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.
W.C. Fields

The best revenge is massive success.
Frank Sinatra

Life is full of risks anyway, why not take them?
Lindsay Lohan

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?
Katherine Hepburn

With every project you do, you bring out a part of yourself, and it seems to be quite a good way of expanding a person.
Kate Beckinsal

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
Oprah Winfrey

When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.
Elvis Presley

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Motivation - Towards and Away From

Previously we've talked about motivation being driven by our internal preferences or external force. Another way to look at motivation is the old analogy of the carrot and the stick.

Things we want and desire that we work towards; or those things we find on some level painful we want to move away from.
These are often classified as 'towards' motivation and 'away from' motivation, or pleasure and pain.

It seems logical and simple doesn't it?

However people are complex things and often motivation towards a positive result is simply masking movement away from a deeper rooted pain.

Towards Motivation
As it's name suggests, towards motivation is all about moving toward a goal. 
If you are predominantly a towards motivated person you will do things for the reward at the end of the task.
Towards motivated people tend to strive to be the best and crave recognition. They are motivated by competition and love targets and league tables.

Away Motivation
Away motivation is linked to pain, which is one of the greatest motivators.
Now we're not talking necessarily about physical pain, it can be physical or have elements of physical discomfort but it might also be emotional or physiological discomfort.
Generally away motivated individuals do things out of fear of what might happen. It often takes an extreme measure to prompt an an away motivated individual into action. Also, once a little action is taken and the situation instantly becomes less threatening that motivation quickly evaporates.
This is characterised by just doing enough to get by.

The classic example used to illustrate towards and away from motivation is smoking.

For the towards motivated person they quit because they want the health benefits and lifestyle of a non-smoker.
For the away from motivated person they are worried about the health consequences of smoking and so stop out of fear.

Many people tend to use one system more frequently than the other, but this does not mean that you should discard your less dominant motivational system. You should make effective use of both systems to ensure that you are harnessing your full motivational potential.

Another example (courtesy of

Away from motivation

The first man had grown up in poverty, never knew what Christmas presents were, never guaranteed that there was food on the table, constantly hearing his parents argue about money. This man had it set in his mind that once he grew up he would not be poor, he would not have his children live in the environment he did when growing up. To him he linked extreme pain to being poor and did everything he could to move away from it. He was a classic case of away from motivation, yet he had great success at what he did. He has successfully implemented this strategy in other aspects of his life as well. During hard times he would catch changes that were happening because for him it was an anticipation of pain. So he took action before it got to that point.
Towards motivation
The other man had a very different mindset. He grew up in a middle class family, had plenty to eat, got nice presents at Christmas and lived what a lot of us would call a good life. He was very much into sports and loved going to school. When he was about 16 years old he made up his mind that he wanted to make his first million by the age of 30, he had a very clear picture in his head of what it would look like, feel like, what it would sound like. The only thing he wasn´t sure about at that point was how he was going to do it. He applied the same technique to this as when he played sports, when he was on the field he knew exactly what it would feel like to score, what it sounded like with the crowd cheering and had a clear image as his fellow team mates gathered around him. He knew the technique behind towards motivation and used it in other aspects of his life as well. He was always looking for now opportunities and did his best at utilizing every chance he got.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

External (extrinsic) motivation

So last time we talked about intrinsic motivation - the things that, as individuals, we just love doing and never put off.

If only life was made up of just doing the things you loved.

But this is reality and so we've all got chores that we need to do to achieve our goals.
...and to spur us on we have external (or extrinsic) motivation.

From the inside out, and the outside in...

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside and gets us to plough on and get stuff done that we don't particularly like. It can take the form of either the carrot or the stick, a reward for getting something done or a punishment for not getting it done.

Now people are different, some happily work for bribes and rewards while others need the threat of something happening to get them going. This often depends on the situation and context. It's acceptable for a drill sergeant to use the threat of humiliation with new recruits and develop a fear of consequence to not doing what they're told; it wouldn't be acceptable if those same techniques to be used in the class room to get students to study. Although I'm sure a few of my teachers certainly tried.

In most contexts positive reward is the best motivator.

Think of your own experiences.
I'm sure there have been times when you've had to work at something you didn't enjoy to reach a goal?
Maybe you hate studying but stuck in there and got the grade you wanted.
Maybe your job bored you but you kept working because you needed the pay.
Maybe you tidied your house, not because you wanted to but, because you had visitors.

What worked best for you?

  • The treat of negative consequences? Failing the exam and having to explain to your parents what went wrong, not being able to pay the rent, people thinking you're a slob
  • Or the rewards that you looked forward to? Being able to go to university or have the career you dreamed of, being able to save up for that new gadget, people loving your home.

Often it's a blend of positive rewards and negative consequences that get us going but you're best placed to know what works for you. Just spend some time in thinking how you've been motivated in the past and apply that experience to motivating you towards your goals.

For me most difficult things that I don't naturally love doing become more bearable when there is something to look forward to. I used to hate running but it was the best way to get into shape so I set some goals for completing 5 miles a week, 10 miles a week, 15 miles a week. Next to each of these milestones was a reward, Oblivion for the xbox, new laptop, weekend break in Munich. I'd carry around a picture of the thing I working towards - then when I just couldn't be bothered I'd look at the pic and it would spur me on.
Having said that I also carried around the worst picture I had of myself in case the positive reward didn't quite work.

With extrinsic motivation, you’ll find that:

  • It might be hard to concentrate – it's easy to put it off and find other things to do.
  • You'll do just enough to achieve the goal and will rarely care about it being perfect.
  • You’d be much more reluctant to do it if there was no reward

Intrinsic motivation is normally either there or it isn't - you either love doing something or you don't.
However external motivation is relatively easy to create around any task or goal.
Here are a few ways of creating that external motivation:-

  • Make a list of rewards
  • Focusing on the goal rather than on the process – the finished result
  • Get some external/public acknowledgement or acclaim 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Intrinsic motivation

Billions of trees have died to produce numerous books on motivation...there are hundreds of them and cover a range of approaches and theories.

The next few posts will be about various theories that might be helpful and of use.
As with anything to do with coaching there isn't a 'one size' fits all approach... pick the parts that work for you.

So where to start?

Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation comes from within.
Have you ever played a game all night long even though you knew you had to be in school/work the next day? Or have you just been itching to get home to see if that must have gadget or game has arrived from amazon?

When we enjoy something the task itself becomes it's own reward.

Think of the things you love – perhaps computer games, playing an instrument, cooking, art…
I bet you never willingly put these things off - in fact I bet you make excuses to do these rather than other less enjoyable things?
You never procrastinate over doing things you enjoy.

So the trick to getting things done can be filling your to-do list with as many tasks on it as possible which are things you love. They might be hard, or you might feel a little resistance to getting started – but once you’re doing them, you find them fun.

When you’re engaged on something which makes you intrinsically motivated, you’ll find that:

  • It’s easy to maintain your focus
  • You give it your best effort
  • You do it for the love of doing it not for any reward or money

There is a note of caution...your intrinsic motivation can be subject to your moods
When you’re feeling happy and and upbeat you enjoy life and enjoy getting stuff done... but when you're down anything can be a struggle.

Then there are the tasks that will never be fun....

...and here we have extrinsic motivation to help.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

wow 200 followers

I never thought I'd get to that many followers on this blog!
Thank you one and all from me and Steph.

Now we've covered Goal Setting in some detail the next series of posts are going to be about motivation. Both in terms of identifying our own motivations in life and then looking at how we all can keep ourselves motivated.

After that it's up to you guys and I'll be putting a poll up later for you to chose the direction of the site next and what subjects you would like coaching on.

Have a fab end to your weekend!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PACER and well formed outcomes

Following on from my last post I was chatting to Steph about objectives and she mentioned a technique she uses in NLP called PACER.

This is a way of producing well formed outcomes that go beyond goal setting

I think that the technique of PACER can be adapted to goal setting and may give you an alternative way of thinking about what you want to achieve.

So here is my quick 5 minute guide to PACER.

P – Positively stated
NLP is very big on positive language with the assertion that the human mind is unable to process the word 'not' at an unconscious level. Ever been told not to do something and then had that compulsion to do it?
So if you're outcome is set in the negative "I am NOT going to eat chocolate", the mind will make the association "I AM going to eat chocolate" and bang goes lent!

When setting a goal or target it should be something that you will work positively toward rather than something you should avoid. "Stop smoking" or "losing weight" set up a negative association wher you may get more success if you focus on the positive benefits you might get out of changing your behaviour...for example "I want to be a non-smoker", "I want to be healthy", "I want to be a size 12", "I want to have more money"

So ask the question of yourself "What do I want instead?" and create a goal or outcome that you can work towards.

A – Achievable
Hey we all want to achieve - right? Why else would be embarking on this crazy journey!
Ask yourself, is your goal achievable?
How will you achieve it?
How will you know when you have succeeded?
How will you measure you progress?

When thinking about achievement focus on the sensory evidence that will tell you that you've succeeded.
What will you see?
What will you hear?
What will you feel?

We are sensory creatures and so success should be sensory!

C – Context
It's all about the context baby!
When defining our outcome we need to base it in our 'own reality' - sounds space aged I know...bear with me.

We want an outcome that is tangible and real, anyone can create a grand goal that is simply not achievable, to stand a chance of success we need to believe success is within our grasp.
Context is about rooting our outcome in the reality of our lives; it is an opportunity to define with whom, where and when you want this outcome and also with whom, where and when you do not want it.

This is also the stage at which to define whether there is a specific length of time that is valid for this outcome.

E – Ecological
Because we all want to be green - right?
Not quite, we're not looking at global ecology here more your personal make up.
It's important to balance what success will mean against how your life currently runs.
If I start training to run a marathon is my partner going to resent me not being in the house as often.
If I lose 3 stone in weight is my significant other going to be threatened by this?
If I smarten up my image and start applying for a new career is my boss going to get suspicious and fire me?

So have a think about who else will be effected and how will they feel?
What might the effect be upon the people around you?

You might find that you may have to give up something in order to achieve what you want.

There may also be underlying unconscious considerations that you may have to consider. Ask yourself these 4 questions when considering your goal/outcome:-

  • If you get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you get this goal, what won’t you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what won’t you have?

R – Resources
"Free your mind and the rest will follow"
This is an opportunity for a good bit of brainstorming around everything that you will need to support you in achieving your desired outcome.
This could be physical things, people, role models etc etc.
You should also ask yourself what you need within yourself including the qualities and skills that you already have or may need in the future.

Whether you are setting goals or outcomes PACER can be a useful tool to make sure you've considered everything in order to make success happen and it's principals can be used in conjunction with SMART.



Friday, March 4, 2011

bigger, better, brighter...smarter?

It's time to get down to business...
It's time to talk battle plans...
It's time to set some objectives to build towards those milestones!

Now objectives are the steps along the road that keep us going in the right direction.
They're the short focussed tasks that build towards our milestones and carry us towards our vision.

But what makes a good objective?

Having spent most of my working life sitting down with people and talking about objectives I'm still a fan of SMART objectives. Now there are an aweful lot of people out there (many of them managers) who have no clue when it comes to setting objectives. Which we can't afford to happen when we're talking about our own personal self development.

So here is my crash guide to setting SMART objectives.

SMART what?
Ok SMART or SMARTER is a mnemonic used in project management that has become transposed over into the performance management and personal coaching spheres.
It's basically a way of making sure that any objective covers the key basic requirements of good objectives.

The first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. (according to Wikipedia)

SMART is a nmenm...what?
SMART stands for:-

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable & Ambitious
R - Relevant Realistic,
T - Timed,
...and all good objectives should be SMART...let me explain

We're at the stage where we want a definable objective to focus on and throw our energy into.
Our objectives need to be specific at this stage, detailed, focussed, well defined and concrete.
They need to be easily understood, promote positive action and have a required outcome.
Objectives need to communicate what you would like to see happen.

To help  you get specific here are a few questions to think about:-

WHAT am I going to do? Use strong, action verbs such as conduct, develop, build, plan, execute, etc. This helps your objective to be action-orientated and focuses on what’s most important.
WHY is this important for me to do? Build this towards your milestones and vission
WHO needs to be involved? Need help to achieve this objective?
WHEN am I going to carry this out?
HOW am I going to do this?

To help keep you motivated you often need to see results. 
The easiest way to see results is to track your progress and that requires a way of measuring what you do.
If we measure what we do then we can compare performance and see what works and what doesn't. As is so often quoted, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Importantly, measurement help us to know when we have achieved our objective.

We're in the daily detail of changing our behaviour. At this level we want to be setting ourselves objectives that we feel are achievable. It needs to be something you can see yourself doing in the short term, building towards milestones in the future, but very much rooted in the present.
Objectives, unlike your visions, need to be achievable to keep you motivated.
However whilst being obtainable, objectives still need to stretch you just not too far :)

Objectives that are achievable, may not be realistic….
Running three miles a day is achievable but I might not always have time - so it isn't realistic.
But - realistic does not mean easy!
Realistic means that you have the resources to get it done be that skills, money, time, equipment etc
Most objectives are achievable but, may require a change in your priorities to make them happen.

We're picking focussed objectives here so they need to be short term.
Setting deadlines for the objective brings that focus and sense of urgency. If you don’t set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation and urgency required to achieve your objective. Deadlines prompts action.


So think about where you want to get to - your BHAG
Think about those milestones along the way...
...then get down and drity with some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed objectives