Who Motivates The Motivator?
Staying Positive in a Negative World

By Bob Goshen

Challenge is constant for the leader of a major corporation, a pastor, or any manager over people. It is often said that it is “lonely at the top,” and for those who have been placed into leadership positions, it can be lonely. The leader’s primary purpose is to keep the energy flowing and the dreams growing while at the same time showing up every day complete with a smiling face and an endless supply of new ideas and solutions for the day-to-day challenges. On many days the leader may feel as if a giant syringe has been injected into his or her brain and all the energy extracted. This is reality in the world of leadership. Those who have been given the opportunity to lead must restore their minds and physical health often, for just like a car battery, one can only go so far on limited cells.

So how does the leader stay motivated and on top of his or her game? The following suggestions have helped many in leadership stay focused and on fire as they move their organizations forward:

Find a Mentor. The only way to stay focused and keep energy flowing is to find a “creative mentor” who has the ability to keep the “apprentice’s” feet grounded in leadership principles. The mentor is that person who deserves respect, who will listen to challenges, fears, hopes, and dreams and be trusted to keep confidences, someone who is totally honest in supporting not only the student’s business or organization but also that person’s total well-being, and someone who can “rationally” not “emotionally” respond to another’s busy world. A qualified mentor should fit the following parameters:  he or she needs nothing from the learner, is not looking for financial benefits or special favors, must be a person of integrity and character, and, most importantly, must be a proven leader who has been where the follower is going. In Vietnam the statement was often used, “If you are going through a mine field, follow someone.”

Feed the mind. A leader is always feeding the mind. Good teachers can be found in every field of endeavor, and many of the best have produced CDs or books in their areas of expertise. They often have websites that detail or reveal their thinking processes. It isn’t necessary to “reinvent the wheel” and waste months and years on subjects that have already been explored and developed. Material from the experience of the experts can be absorbed and wrapped in the thoughts and personality of the diligent student and made to work. A wise pupil will develop unique and personal ways to incorporate the materials developed by those who have a proven track record. It is often better to be an imitator rather than an originator, especially until one gains the personal experience required in a given field of expertise. An aspiring leader must remain progressive and proactive, always maintaining a “creative state of mind.”

Dreams or Drama. Most of the conversation in the working world is focused around the world of “drama.” People talk about other people; people put people down while lifting themselves up. People continually look for and often hope for another person’s failure. To stay motivated, one must become very sensitive to the conversation in the boardroom, at lunch with others, and even in one’s own family. The leader cannot allow his or her mind to drift into the world of drama, choosing rather to remain in the arena of dreams, looking for solutions, and becoming a doctor of solutions. Those who stay personally motivated “run” from the world of conversation that moves toward destructive thoughts. They choose words that are edifying, building up those around them each day, looking at “challenges” rather than “problems.”  It is difficult to stay motivated and on top of one’s game if hours are wasted in the world of drama, especially since most of the leader’s time is spent in the area of counseling and helping others to become better. Like a good bomb technician, the leader learns how to quickly disengage from conversation that is drama.

Enjoy.  Motivated people take time to enjoy the world around them. They spend time with people who do not wish to talk about their profession or business; they look for times of fun and fellowship that make them laugh. They talk about the things in their lives that are humorous; they listen to those outside of their field of endeavor who are willing to share what they have learned of life skills. A truly successful leader knows that time spent with family and loved ones is as essential as time spent with those who add value to their profession. Those closest to the leader will not be impressed with his or her balance sheet. They will not care if the leader has added value to the business or organization if it is accomplished at the expense of their needs and desires. They will be impressed if the leader expends as much energy entering their personal world as he or she does digging into a marketing plan or business plan or next week's message. A leader who desires to stay motivated will learn to be spontaneous in family affairs, entering the world of their children’s dreams if they are parents, planning memorable outings with their spouse if they are married, being active listeners with their friends and companions.    

The life of a leader can be very hectic and demanding. By virtue of their professions, leaders live in the crosshairs of human needs. But if they fail to take care of their personal well-being and the well-being of those close to them, they will have failed at their most important leadership position, that of being a husband, father, wife, mother, friend, or role model.

Read other articles and learn more about Bob Goshen.

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