Motivation – The Fool’s Bet

Zig Ziglar the author and world renowned speaker says motivation is a lot like showering. It’s useful, but it doesn’t last, so you need to repeat it often.

Motivation stems from the Latin root word movere, to make move. It can be frustrating to think that as leaders we need to constantly be motivating a team to give it their all and give their best work. I’m here to say there is another way.

Nothing outside of us will make us move for a sustained period of time. It comes from within. It comes from a choice we make to know our why and then be converted to it. So for any given project, process, or event you’re leading first ask yourself and then your team if you truly understand your why, and if you are committed to it.

Motivation is a fool’s bet because it does not last, is not genuine, and does not move the world. I challenge us to take a step back, ask ourselves and our team if we truly get our why, and ask how converted we are to making a change.

Worried about the how? That is something we each get to figure out on our own. Focus on the why and know the how will come.

The Sacredness of Sacrifice

Sacrifice. Even hearing the word at times can give the chills, and not in a positive way. However, there is beauty in the breakdown, and as we look closer we’ll gain a different perspective on what it means to sacrifice and why it should be something we strive for on a daily basis.

In its Latin roots, Sacra means “sacred rites,” while facere means “to do, perform.” To sacrifice is to perform a sacred act. Looking at the sacrifices we make as a sacred act brings the word into a different light. We all make sacrifices; the point is looking at those sacrifices we make for ourselves, loved ones, and strangers as a unique opportunity to learn and grow.

I know from personal experience that if I take a moment to step back and realize the sacrifices I make are sacred, my grief turns to gratitude and I press on with a grateful heart.

What sacred acts do you get to perform today?

Why So Salty?

Compared to a fresh water lake, the Great Salt Lake is dead.

In its defense, there is countless wildlife that visits the Lake and gathers around Antelope Island, but looking at the life that lives in the lake itself there is a lacking of diversity, growth, and life that a fresh water lake would have. The answer to why the Great Salt Lake is this way is due to its lack of an outlet.

Fresh water lakes have water that flows in and out; there is constant motion. Although there is salt in fresh water lakes it won’t ever get close to reaching the amounts that are in the Great Salt Lake because of the constant outflow.

If we desire a healthier lifestyle whether that be physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. this is an invitation to look at the healthy outlets we currently have set up in our lives. Most of the buildup, tension, weight, can come from a lack up outflow.

When in doubt, let it go.

Speak Your Truth

In the early 1600’s Sweden rose to a world power in part due to their grand navy. At the time, the King was Gustav II Adolf who was known as a charismatic leader and a brilliant tactician.

Gustav decided to create a ship named the Vasa for himself and so he assigned the finest shipwrights around the country to come help build this surely eminent ship fit for the King of Sweden.

One day during the build Gustav passed by the ship when he notice the size. It was so small! At the time the shipwrights had laid down most of the ribs of the ship, and so to make the ship even more grandiose they would need to unfasten the ribs and start over again. Gustav said “No.” He told them that instead of unfastening everything, to just keep adding to the ribs of the ship and make it longer. Upon hearing this, every shipwright knew that was foolish, shortsighted, and would ultimately lead to a skinny long ship. Regardless, they did it because no one would dare speak up to the King.

At this time, it was custom for a ship to have only one row of cannons. Gustav told his shipwrights he wanted three. Not only did the shipwrights go along with that suggestion, but they were told to put the heaviest cannons on top, as Gustav suggested.

On August 10th, 1628 the Vasa set sail as a long, skinny and top heavy ship. People came from all around to watch the event. The shipwrights spared no expense on the finishing touches and the ship had all the finest trimmings. As it made its way through the port all the people cheered. The sailors were beaming, and Gustav could not be more proud. After it left the port, it sailed for a total of 4,200 feet before it tipped over. Water rushed in through the ports, and it sank to the bottom of the sea.

Here Gustav created an environment where those who really knew were too afraid to speak their truth. Wherever we’re at in our lives we will always have people that report to us (coworkers, children, etc.) and people that we report to (a spouse, bosses, etc.)

As we reflect on those we work with and communicate with throughout the day, are we making sure we speak our truth? Is there open communication with a sense of humility (being teachable) so those around us who really know can open up and speak up?

Remember to speak your truth, and let others do the same.

Fetters Forever

Fetters forever. This is a mantra that my family has used since I was a child. It started as a fun game we did after family prayer which we would have most nights as we knelt down and held hands. After the prayer was over we would collectively place our hands in the middle and slowly say, “Fetters…” After wards we shouted, “Forever!” As we lifted our hands from the middle of the circle into the air, still clasping tightly to the other.

The act of sharing that moment with my family we had every night was powerful and created a since of belonging, genuineness, and spontaneity. To now take that to the workplace, with friends, new acquaintances, etc. It may not be appropriate to hold my team member’s hand and shout our names, “Alex and (enter team member’s name here)… Forever!” There are still moments in each day, in any given conversation, where we can be genuine, spontaneous and create a since of belonging with one another. To open up and say, “This is who I am.”

However small that act may be, what are we doing to create those moments? When they come, do we chose in?

Feel the fear and do it anyway.