Re-Defining Motivation™

Last night preseason football kicked off with the Hall Of Fame™ induction followed by the game itself.

In an interview after receiving his gold jacket the legendary coach Bill Parcells made a statement that caught my ears. He was asked about motivation while referring to how he is considered one of the better motivators. His reply was quite informative as well as constructive if one reads into the underlying message. (I’m paraphrasing for I don’t have the transcript)

“First off, I think the motivation thing is very much over rated. If a player isn’t a self-starter in some respects, I don’t think you can motivate him. But you hope you have players on the squad that will respond to visible competition. And If you have the right kind of players, then all you have to do is show them where that competition is, and you usually get the right response.”

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you Mr. Parcells meant exactly this or that with the above statement. (Although most motivational speakers today would do just that which is the reason why they’re usually wrong) However, what I will say is I believe the take away theme of that statement gets lost on far too many while it simultaneously causes consternation in a great many more.

Let me express it using the following hypothetical examples:

If you don’t want to be a fire fighter but would rather be a police officer. I (nor do I believe anyone) can successfully “motivate” you to continue as the prior while promising you less stress or more happiness. Regardless the reasons. (Nor will the books and tapes that one is told “needs” to purchase as to stay “motivated.”)

Where you can be “motivated” is realizing you truly would rather switch careers or professions and get behind the motivating factors as to pursue and make the change. That is where my focus is. Not the “don’t worry be happy” drivel where 99.9% of people in my field focus.

Overcoming procrastination and other self-induced habits can be easily (yes I said easily) overcome or, over-ridden through new or re-emphasized techniques as to help move one towards their goals. However, no one is going to be able to push you in the direction you don’t want to go without an agonizingly mental bombardment of idiotic “happy talk” as to try to keep one on a path which they don’t (possibly unwittingly) want to pursue.

Motivation is far too often lumped into this “fix all” type of snake oil that some how “cures all.” Just like medicine; prescribe the wrong dosage or drug for the wrong ailment, and what you wont get is a pleasant outcome.

The goal of true motivation should be similar to medicine: To find the cause of the ailment. Then to move that person in the proper direction so they can adopt techniques and habits where they no longer need medication or, as many visits to the doctor in the first place.

Once you find or truly understand exactly where or with whom you actually want to compete. Motivation begins to be self-generative.

Or as Mr. Parcells said: “[s]how them where that competition is, and you usually get the right response.”

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr

Re-Invention Re-Definition: A Follow Up

I was asked jokingly after my previous post to give a quick real life example that fits the bill to further demonstrate what I meant about Re-Invention or Re-Defining one’s life or goals. Someone that really defined what I was trying to express. Not some obscure person in days gone by or that lived 1000 years ago. Rather, someone relevant today that I could point to.

Well, I had someone, and when I immediately blurted out their name the person who was having fun ribbing me (it was playful banter nothing more) seemingly was stunned as in – stopped in their tracks.

It seemed I hit the perfect person because they knew the name instantaneously when I said it. And, immediately grasped what I was trying to relate. The name? William Shatner aka Capt. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

I believe he is one of the best contemporary public figures to demonstrate re-invention or re-definition of a career. (He also has a place in Lexington, KY)

Mr. Shatner has played in roles so far back they’re only available in black and white format. (The Twilight Zone® Series for one example.) Then of course in his unforgettable portrayal as Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek® fame. However, his career didn’t stop there. Where many careers that become type cast are basically finished. He has not only continued to work in sitcoms, dramas, and movies since. He basically has re-invented himself where you no longer think of him as Capt. Kirk – first.

His television shows or series in just recent years such as: Shatner’s Raw Nerve – (The Biography Channel) and others are a complete re-invention and departure of anything he has done in the past. There are quite a few other roles he has played whether it be voice overs, and much, much, more. Acting and playing different roles is a sub set of what the man William Shatner has come to represent in the public eye.

He has changed so many times that I would dare to guess agents, friends, family, and anyone else within ear shot has probably told him: “Hey, you’re too famous as Kirk. That’s probably the best and last you’ll ever get.” Yet, look at Mr. Shatner’s career and accomplishments. Look how many times he must have said to himself, “Why not!” Then went ahead and did it. Knowing full well it could backfire.

Just what do you think everyone around him said when Priceline® came calling looking for him to play some form of cheesy all-knowing caricature of a spokesperson in television commercials? A spirit for re-invention and re-definition is what makes one say: “Sure why not!” And, it’s that spirit that moves one forward keeping life fresh and beating off the staleness that can creep in if not actively aware of ones goals, or allowing one’s pursuits to be abandoned because of neglect.

To top all this off. What’s also a driving factor of why I use Mr. Shatner is he is still as relevant. Still as commanding a presence in his field. And still willing to take on new roles all at the tender age of 82. Yes, 82!

So tell me again why you’re too old to change or think new things?

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr