Many people look down on motivational speakers, books and other media because they feel it’s “snake oil” or “all fluff”.
These critics want “meat on the bone”, practical “nuts and bolts” to put in play and make an impact.
One who hears the critique of these folks will think that motivational speaking has no place in someone’s professional or personal life.
Honestly, there are generally two camps of people who attend, read and/or listen to what other people have to say. Those who are looking for the actionable steps, and others who are looking for a mindset change.
Motivational speaking primarily is helping others get people to think and believe in themselves. In this age where the loneliness epidemic is being identified, and the news and politicians spreading negativity, and the reality of bad breaks in life, people need hope. And great leaders instill hope.
One of the ironies in today’s speaking is the impact of storytelling. We have come to realize the framing of a message with a parallel story to underline it is a proven method for people to have takeaway actions. Yet isn’t that what motivational speakers do?
Some people are moving forward, motivated and have the right mindset to succeed. They want the “meat on the bone”. Others need that first rung of the ladder, that lift up out of their current failing mindset and believing in themselves to make those first steps towards lasting change.
There is a place for both motivation and strategic advice. It all depends on what that individual needs at that time.
Yes, some motivational speakers are snake oil salespeople. But so are some so-called experts who provide impractical business advice for being an entrepreneur, creating a real estate business or how to make a fortune on SnapChat.
As with anything, we should judge anything based on the merits of the overall good someone creates for others and not the fringe people that dilute the call, or the recipient’s inability to heed that advice.
And especially not our bias because we don’t think it will work for us.
People have an intrinsic value that the best leaders know how to ascribe or give notice to.
In some instances a leader can devalue a skilled employee yet that same employee with the right boss can be edified where their talents and contributions and intangibles are noted.
A mined gem can look rough and the layperson can say that it may have some value, but it takes a skilled gemologist to see the gem for what it really is. Once its true inherent value is attached that gem is now known for what it has always possessed.
Think of the basketball player who doesn’t put a very good stat line but the intangibles they bring are highly coveted by the coach. They may be a fantastic team player, committed to their craft and helping their teammates get better without regard to their own numbers. Their presence on the team and value given by their coach will pay more dividends than someone who is deemed below average by the coaching staff.
I personally know of three executives who each were brought aboard their respective companies poised for growth. In each instance, they dismissed the majority of their entire staff’s input because they felt that hardly anyone had the experience or intellect that they did. And in each situation that led to a mass exodus of talent. One company never recovered and sold to a competitor. One downsized and is still struggling to be relevant today. And another is stagnant and slowly loosing footing in the marketplace.
All because those leaders did not find a way to value their people and the talent that was laden within them,
It’s what leaders see, and how they bring that out in their people, that can make or break an employee. And many leaders unfortunately devalue their people. Some even devalue everyone who doesn’t fit a certain profile, or make the boss feel good, or have certain background.
And many of those “outlier” employees seek elsewhere for those leaders who know how to truly value their gifts and talents.
How leaders can give or import value onto others can make a tremendous impact on your organization. Everyone you’ve hired has a value, and a good leader will find it and bring it out in their people.
Any meaningful change in our personal or professional lives dictates a change in mindset.
In other words, if we want lasting change, we need to think differently than we did before.
To draw from Apple’s late 1990’s campaign of “Think Different” we should always challenge ourselves to not just think of other ways to do things, but to think in other ways.
Our thought processes can be like wallpaper – barely noticing it’s there as we pass by. We need to be willing to be self-aware enough to look at our thoughts and how they impact our behaviors and see how we can transform our thinking to produce a better self.
It’s not about producing better results, but about producing a better self. When we make the necessary changes to improve ourselves, the result will speak for themselves. Sometimes they are not better finances, sales, fame or followers. Sometimes it’s being more respected, relatable, and credible.
Change your thoughts and think different. You are the product of your thinking and sometimes we need to approach our thinking in new and impactful ways.