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We are just finishing up a series of workshops for a large regional bank in the southeast and one of the topics we covered was inward authentic and sustainable motivation. Not the outward “Rah!-Rah!-sounds-great-today-but-we-both-know-I-won’t-take-action-on-it-tomorrow” type of motivation. But rather a way different take on motivation. Since the 600 or so participants found this piece of the workshop most interesting, I'll use this week's Wireboard article to share part of it with you. 

We have found that our most authentically-motivated clients are clear about what their personal story is. In other words, they know what makes them unique in this world and are not afraid to share their compelling story with those around them. This is their purpose in life, or their “why.” So, maybe your family and closest friends know what makes you tick, why you do what you do, and what in your life makes you unique, but do the people in your office know? Do your clients know your story? How about your neighbors?


Now you may be thinking to yourself: "Jason, I'm not really sure what makes me tick and what my compelling story is and I'm pretty sure no one really cares anyway."


Valid questions, so let's address them.


First of all, people DO indeed care. Maybe not everyone and maybe not exactly the way you think they should, but people do care. And if you doubt me, I have a little experiment for you: starting tomorrow morning, make it a point to ask 2 or 3 people per day what their story is. Sure, this may feel somewhat weird at first, but go ahead and ask questions like:

  • Tell me about your family and one tradition you have?
  • What is your favorite board game and why?
  • What roll does health play in your life? Why?
  • Where is your favorite place to vacation?
  • Why is sales important to you?

My experience says that once you start asking these questions, a curious thing will start to happen: people will suddenly be interested in you and your story! And remember, being able to tell your story is vitally connected to authentic motivation.


And if you're not sure what your story is or if it is compelling enough, just take the questions from above that you asked others, and start asking yourself these same questions (about your childhood, what was important to you and what still is, where you work, etc.). After you've answered each question, ask yourself why? Write down these answers and viola! You have the beginnings of your compelling story.


If you are willing to ask these questions of yourself and of those around you, you should start to notice  cool things happening over time such as deeper and more enjoyable relationships, more career opportunities, and increased confidence. If you're in sales, you should start to see your sales grow -- not because you are outwardly motivated by a promotion or by earning more money, but rather because you are inwardly motivated by who you are, where you want to go, and most importantly why you want to go there. Your story.


So I'll end the same way I titled this article: What's your story? We would love to hear about how your story has impacted others and what knowing and telling your story has done for you.