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Your Biggest Do it Yourself Project
When I meet people and tell them what I do, I often hear, "Oh, you are a motivational speaker," with some amount of assuredness in their voice. While I realize there are many speakers that people lump into this category (some who are my friends and mentors), I strongly disagree with that label.
Do I speak? Yes.
Can I inspire, challenge thinking, provide ideas, input, and encouragement (and in smaller settings), provide feedback? Yes I can.
Can I motivate? No I can't.
There is a channel on my television called DIY - The Do It Yourself Network. On this channel you can learn how to make drapes, redo your landscape, take care of your yard, build a deck, make unique crafts, and much more. Many people must watch it, because it has been on my television for several years. Actually this doesn't surprise me. People want to learn how to do new things. They want to avoid the cost of the expensive plumber, carpenter or painter, and they like the pride that comes with seeing the results of their efforts.
If people do the things they learn about (rather than just watching) they are doing it because they are self motivated. No crafty, clever, or comical TV host has motivated them - they have motivated themselves.
It is the same with our personal, professional and business projects - we may work with others and need expert coaching, advise, counsel and encouragement, but in the end these are "Do it yourself" projects too.
Here are five things you can do to make your own improvement and growth and "do it to yourself" project.
1. Have a reason for doing. If your windows are bare, you know you need drapes. If your grill sits in the grass, you know you want a deck in your backyard. What is the reason you want to improve your skills or habits or achieve new results? Having a clear goal is the first step towards self motivation. If you watch the TV show because you are interested, but don't need that skill, you will just watch. If you listen to a great speaker or read their book and don't have a clear goal, you'll get no more than an enjoyable experience.
2. Take action every day. You have your goal, your reason, so now take action. I can't take that action for you any more than Bob Villa, your boss or a family member can. Make a plan and get started. You don't have to carve out two hours in your already over crowded day, but do something. Take a step towards your self-improvement project every day. At least one thing, every day.
3. Put in the positive stuff. Many people who are learning to build that deck buy books, magazines, and software; go to the local hardware super center for classes and ask for advice, and much more. Are you putting anywhere near this amount of time, effort, and money into reaching your personal or professional improvement goals? Read or listen to the positive, uplifting material each day. Consider it inspirational fuel for your own motivation.
4. Lose the Losers. Do you have people around you who aren't willing to invest in themselves? How much time are you spending with those who ridicule or put down your efforts? While you may not be able to remove these people from your life, you can reduce the impact their attitude has on you. Recognize how they negatively impact you and move on.
5. Turn off the TV. Yes, even football, I remind myself. Am I saying you should not watch any television? No, but TV is the major time stealer in our society and is a self reinforcing habit. Every show has commercials for other shows. So not only are watching others achieve their goals while we aren't achieving ours, but we are being bombarded with messages about products we don't need and being convinced to watch even more. You will find as you watch less TV it gets easier to watch less. Why? In part because you won't know what is on!
The person who learned how to dry wall his own basement when asked why they chose to do it says something like, "I figured no one would care as much about the quality of the job as I would, so I decided to learn myself. Besides, I have so much more pride in the results."
These are great reasons to "do it yourself." Apply that same logic and reasoning to yourself. Don't ask me to motivate you. That is your job. Just like the expert on TV, I can help show the way and help you see that it is possible. But in the end, it is your life, your results, your project. Go out and Do it yourself.
Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/current.asp to read the current issue and subscribe.
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