When the people on my team start feeling the benefits of regular exercise and clean eating, a common question I get asked is: “How can I get my spouse/kids/family to join me?”
When I work with managers teaching coaching and leadership skills one of the most common questions I hear is: “How do you motivate that negative person who doesn’t want to meet you half-way?”
I think the answer to both questions is similar even though the circumstances are slightly different.
In both instances we want the people in our lives to understand our perspective, to succeed and to ultimately, be happy.
I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic, but I can share what I’ve learned from my own experience while seeking the advice of many other experts.
- We can’t force our passion on anyone else. When it comes to making changes in behavior whether it’s with health and wellness or achieving career goals, it has to come from within. We can’t push others to take actions we’ve taken no matter how passionate we are about them. All we can do is continue to model desired behaviors, walk the talk and let them know we will be there to provide support and motivation when they’re ready to take the first step.
- Come from a place of sincere compassion and caring. In the workshops I lead we ask participants to think of a person in their life who’s had a positive influence on them. People often think of relatives, current or former bosses or athletic coaches. We give them a minute to brainstorm as many qualities or characteristics that made that person a great coach or mentor for them. The words that rise to the top are: caring, honest, integrity, listener. When you lead with your heart instead of your head you’re on the right path toward building trust.
- Seek to understand first before offering insights. Zig Ziglar once said: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” Trouble is we spend more time trying to get people to see and do things our way, rather than helping them achieve what they want out of life. The next time you’re tempted to get your spouse to join you during your workout or you want to teach a team member to approach a work task in the same way you would, stop and attempt to understand things from their point of view. Simple questions like: How can I help or what do you need or want to achieve? May get some new insight into how you can add value to them.
The bottom line: Be interested in others, tell them why you believe in them and value them for who they are. With time, you might be surprised by the results you’ll get.