Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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6 Ways to Keep the Leadership Momentum Going

So you got motivated recently. Maybe you saw an awesome speaker, or maybe you read a great book, or maybe you were on the receiving end of a dose of honesty from a boss or family member. Maybe you signed up to be a volunteer, and it is turning out to be more work than you thought.  Maybe you are recently promoted and now that the initial excitement has worn off, you are feeling underwhelmed by everything you have to do.  How can we keep the motivation and momentum going?

  1. Remember the pain points. In sales lingo, pain points are problems that come about when the solution being offered is not taken. Try to keep in mind all the things that could or will happen if you don’t stay the course. For example, if you were once motivated to go running three times a week, think about what will happen if you don’t give your heart the exercise it needs.


  1. Don’t be a squirrel. Focus. Focus on what you need to do right now so you can get it done.   This is really hard for me because I love new projects, new ideas, and writing new books.  But I am also sitting on 3 manuscripts that are all about 80% completed, and I have to prioritize them. However, I know it is far more productive to finish what I am working on before jumping into the next project.  For example, if you really like language and made a goal for yourself to learn French, learn it before you switch to learning German, and then Italian, or whatever else.


  1. Know what is most important to you. When you try to accomplish goals that other people set for you, motivation can suffer. Take a look at your goals, and make sure they’re goals you have for yourself, not goals that other people want you to achieve. If they’re not, you may want to reassess and realign your direction.


  1. Visualize the end. Picturing the end result of your goal can go a long way towards continuing your motivation to succeed, and it has some seriously great side effects. The positive energy you build around that imagery affects you at a subconscious level, while the mental affirmation that you can achieve helps increase momentum and self-confidence.


  1. Understand the 2 circles of control. Think about everything going on in the world that needs fixing. It is a lot. Can you fix it?  For most things, the answer is no, you cannot fix it.  And when you watch TV and get frustrated by all that is wrong, it can lead to a sense of hopelessness and even despair.
    There is a descriptive Hawaiian word called kuliana.  It means your span of control.   It is sometimes used to describe what you are responsible for, or your business, as in “tend to your own business”. In Hawaii when someone cannot control what other people do they might say, “not my kuliana”.  It is the Hawaiian equivalent of “not my monkeys, not my circus”.

If it is outside of your span of influence and control, you cannot focus on it.  To help your people focus on what they need to focus on, draw a big circle and write in the big topics that are frustrating.  Then in a smaller circle, write in the areas where you can exert control and what you can solve.  If you cannot control, it, don’t focus on it.  It just wastes your time and energy.

When it comes to motivation, it can be easy to give up because things don’t go according to plan. Learn to let go of things beyond your control, otherwise they’ll reduce your motivation to succeed.

  1. Set up systems to stay accountable. I love paper organizers and systems, like the Day Runners and Day Timers. They are beautifully laid out and structured well. I needed something that I could use every day and have backups.

I use a Productivity Day and a Productivity Week sheet every day and every week.  In the Productivity Day there are 4 main areas – To-Do, what absolutely have to get accomplished today, Calls to make, so I don’t miss a call, Appointments, even though they are on my phone and on my computer, I still like to map out the day, and Follow-up, because hey, let’s face it, we can all probably follow up with other people better.  Then there are my short term-goals, to keep them in front of me, and my daily accomplishments, which I enthusiastically encourage others to fill in, but it is hard for me to do.

The Weekly sheet has my anti-procrastination secret, which is to map out what needs to be done with the time it is going to take in minutes.  So maybe you don’t want to make that call, and then you remember that it will only take 8 minutes, and then it is finished, so you make the call. In order for leaders to hold their people accountable, they have to hold themselves accountable, and that means doing what they need to do every day.

If you want to stay motivated, you need to work a little bit to keep the motivation alive, otherwise it will just slip into the traffic stream of life’s feelings that inevitably comes over everyone—just like happiness, sadness, or anger, motivation will just be another feeling unless you concretize it. Put your goals on the calendar and make an action plan.


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