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February 5th, 2016

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Topics: The Link between Attitude, Motivation and Goal Setting

Recent feedback suggests that people like stimulating situations with practical solutions. First, I’m going to tell you about a friend who built his dream house. This real life story highlights the role of visualization, belief and persistence in goal attainment.

Then we’ll borrow from Peter Drucker’s famous management theory and apply our version, both to losing weight, and then to resolving a business’s cash flow problem. The objective is to apply S.M.A.R.T. goals to personal and professional accomplishment.
Finally, we’ll do a simple exercise that can really open up your own goal-setting process. You may be able to apply the same ideas and techniques to building your own future.

These stories prove that success requires a positive attitude, drive and organization. There are real ‘how to’ steps and skills to help your development. Make sure that you sign up for the blogs so that you get all the content sent directly to your personal email account!

DRIVE by Daniel H Pink

January 2nd, 2012

Dan Pink’s DRIVE jumps on motivation and rides it like a motorcycle on a mountain road. There are twists and turns, but the more you ride, the hotter it gets. You know that feeling of freedom, raw excitement and the sheer rush of being alive. Oh – haven’t felt that way in a while?

It may be that your organization, team or family is using extrinsic motivation (carrot and stick) to motivate team members. You may want to pick up DRIVE and upgrade yourself up to Mr. Pink’s three elements of intrinsic motivation:
• Autonomy
• Mastery
• Purpose

While the book was written for workplace teams, the concepts can be applied to home, physical fitness, charity and any other dimension of your life. First, autonomy means that you have the freedom to make decisions. Mastery means that you are striving to conquer an area of interest, skill or subject. Don’t forget purpose, knowing ‘why’ you get up every day!

Re-wire yourself to ‘Positive’
One of my favorite quotes from the book is that positive psychology has “reoriented the study of psychological science away from the previous focus on malady and dysfunction and toward well-being and effective functioning.”[1] In other words, study the well-adjusted, successful people if you want to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. Look at the habits of high performing people and replicate these behaviors. Trace the behaviors back to values, morals and internal beliefs. Set your compass to a positive outlook based on autonomy, mastery and purpose. If you like these ideas – read Drive by Dan Pink. I’ve barely scratched the surface and every one of my friends and associates that read this book felt like there was renewed energy in their personal and professional lives. 

[1] Drive. Pink. Penguin Books. 2009. P 73

Monday – Aspire to Greatness!

September 12th, 2011

Two leadership attributes are prioritization and organization. Here are some questions that I ask myself at the beginning of every week:

  1. What are my goals this week?
  2. What are the priorities?
  3. What needs to happen and why?

You may be a job seeker or the C.E.O of a major Corporation – but one simple truth still applies. Life without goals is a life without purpose. Purpose fuels motivation – so identify those goals and priorities early in the week. Then, make it happen!

There are action items that usually carry-over from the week before, so it pays to be organized with a task list.

  • This is a coping mechanism for busy people – because items can be put aside and ‘stored for
    later.’ Following up on important tasks means that you get to the finish line.
  • Tackling the most important priorities – or the most time sensitive – gets the week off
    to a smart, focused start.

In addition to professional accomplishment, there are
personal goals to reach as well. Most of us like to be good – or great at our
jobs. Monday is a perfect day to aspire to greatness. It is not enough just to be
motivated – we should reach the heights of our chosen profession.

Greatness at work should not be our only priority. One daily goal you might want to adopt is to
help two people a day.

  • I don’t count opening doors or general politeness – but some form of assistance or positive
  • It may be lifting a suitcase for an elderly person on a plane or
    an anonymous act that no one knows about – those are the best.
  • These positive acts multiply and after a year become exponentially thrilling to the
    soul. It also serves as an example to others who are watching you!

Start out each week aspiring to greatness! Being a leader
means setting your goals and trying your hardest. Set your priorities and use your
time wisely. Along the way – see how many people you can help. Your
contributions matter!

Journal Entry #1: Jail Re-entry Program

June 28th, 2011

The students are inmates and are preparing to come back into society. An innovative program leader has sought facilitators and I volunteered. We have been warned what to do in hostage situations and put through an orientation advising us not to divulge personal information. We have also been told that some inmates will try to get you to smuggle items in and out of the prison.

The program leader asked for a syllabus and my first class for job seekers is about motivating yourself and others.

  1. First, we go through a motivational model with breakouts and interactive exercises. My first objective is to encourage and lift spirits.
  2. My second objective is to get the job seekers thinking about what might be appealing to employers.

When I asked if any of the inmates had a job waiting, I was pleasantly surprised to find that three out of the thirteen had a job already arranged. Each person had career direction – mostly vocational. We have an electrician, a carpenter, a truck driver, a plumber and a heating / air conditioning man. Yes, my class is all male and most of the students range in age from 21-45.

In a discussion of intrinsic motivation, the truck driver spoke up about travel, meeting new people and the beauty of America. Other topics included communication, logic and problem solving. We ended with a Personal Qualities survey designed to help the students pick out positive elements of their personality to emphasize with employers.

At the end of the session, I asked ‘what section did you like most?’ and the electrician said ‘problem solving.’ Several students nodded and agreed. Later I realized that they were asking me to make these topics useful and for me to show them how it will address issues in their world. As the students were leaving, one person lingered. A young African American – the heating and air conditioning guy! He said ‘It’s hard to have a positive attitude.’ A few years ago I would have come back with a cliché or some idea related to attitude. Now, I simply replied ‘I know.’

As the Program Leader and I were leaving the jail, we went through seven sets of locked doors – all watched by video surveillance. I had to take my white board marker because inmates steal them and sell the ink for tattoos. This is going to be different!


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Journal Entries from Pro Bono Sales Coach Charlie Van Hecke.
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