Q: What will 2013 hold for you?
A: It depends on you: what you expect, what you desire and what you do.
What are your expectations, as an individual or business, for 2013? Great expectations fuel desire which then becomes the leverage to act.
This is the time of year for good intentions, or what we call “resolutions”. The word resolution implies more than “hope for the best”. As kiwi musician Adam McGrath explained, hope without wire remains just that – hope. (See album Hope and Wire by Eastern.)
Yet, how often in business do we bank on promises……..declarations of intent; simply put: great expectations? The assumption is that good intentions line the road to success.
Managers and employees (and suppliers for that matter) make great statements of intent, but these may be little more than hopes and dreams, and may even represent the expectations of others. In which case, by Easter, you may well be wondering what’s gone wrong.
Unless people are resolute – driven by strong desire – reality will not match expectations, intentions or declarations. Unless they have a strong reason to succeed, obstacles along the way will cause them to stumble.
Without a high enough level of desire, people give up at the first hurdle. In business as in life, great achievements require a certain level of motivation – simply put: desire (from the Latin desiderare: “long for, wish for; demand, expect.”)
Without enough desire, actions will not consistently match what’s required to achieve success. No amount of self-discipline (or threats of punishment for that matter) can initiate AND sustain the necessary action for achievement given the inevitable twists and turns in the road to success.
Sometimes people believe that success will occur if circumstances permit. They look at those who have succeeded and assume it was largely circumstantial. But life is an obstacle course – obstacles are there for insights and growth; not to deter us from great achievements. Once something is really important, people do what it takes, no matter what. That is commitment that flows from sufficient desire.
I feel encouraged when young people – in their early twenties – ask me: “How can I increase my motivation?” That is the key. We discuss the source of desire in the mid brain, and how to harness and cultivate that internal drive. From there, you can achieve anything.
Aptly, 2013 is the Chinese year of the Snake, which apparently does not tolerate mediocrity. “Snake is a great sign, a positive one, with energy that can help us face all of the challenges ahead of us.”
Actions to achieve something extraordinary this year:
- Create compelling reasons to achieve what you’re aiming at
- Stoke the desire – the commitment – to achieve the outcome, no matter what
- If you can’t do 2, go back to item 1 and repeat until you can
- Decide on one thing you can do straight away to get started
- Keep moving in the right direction through consistent, progressive steps, monitoring and marking your progress
- Keep mindful of item 1: the “why”. If the reasons keep growing, so will your desire, commitment, leverage and opportunity to act.
A final word:
Parents sometimes ask me how to motivate their children. This is less straight forward as desire has to come from within them and not for them. But here’s what helps: When they tell you what they want to do, encourage them instead to tell you only two things:
- What they HAVE done towards their goals. What they have consistently done reveals what they are really committed to, and therefore where they will end up.
- How they have overcome challenges along the way. How they act when the going gets tough reveals to you who they are right now. Explaining this to you reveals to them who they are right now and who they are becoming.
Those are two things you can bank on.