Fear as Motivation

Fear should be leveraged as a tool for motivation. 

For example, I have an irrational fear that when I decide to stop working (retire, medical event, whatever), I will need to alter my lifestyle.  I have witnessed this in rural South Carolina many times.  People outlive their retirement funds and are required to downgrade their lives to a point they end up unable to pay for upkeep of their homes, unable to afford dependable transportation or unable to travel for vacations, like they did in the past.  This is why I use that fear as motivation to workout hard so I can produce longer, reduce debt so I can save more, and invest in things that make sense.

Of course, fear can also control us and cause us to not move forward at all.  That is the opposite of using fear for motivation.  For example, fear of failure prevents us from taking the leap in the new job.  Fear of public opinion prevents us from starting the niche business we love.  Fear of what Mom and Dad will say prevents us from creating an opportunity for ourselves.  This is using fear as a obstruction instead of as a tool.

Let’s break that and let fear motivate us.  If it scares us, most of the time that means it is something worth digging into.

By the way, we did a great podcast on getting out of debt that we recommend checking out.  The link will be below or in our bio.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

A Formula to get that Promotion

I have witnessed this work in the real world many times, just know it is not easy.  The path to a promotion starts with 4 words.  “How can I help.”

When you are hired into an entry level position or any new position, it should be clear what you need to do to help.  You learn that new role and provide as much value as possible.  When you feel good about your contribution and have built trust, ask “how can I help?”

By asking how you can help, you will get assigned a challenge the business or your direct leader needs resolving.  This is where the magic happens.  Keep asking “How can I help” and keep getting assigned the hardest problems. 

The point is, the best formula to get promoted is to be willing to jump on the hardest problems facing the business.  When you see a process not working well.  Ask how you can help.  See a department struggling, ask to lead it. 

Eventually, when you get good enough at solving the largest problems, the 4-word question of “How can I help” will change to someone else saying “We need your help”.

The formula is simple, and the work is hard but know it is rewarding.  Give it a try.  It works.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

Our Beliefs

Decisions, protests and social circles are based on a set of beliefs, most of which were developed by some authority with an agenda, telling us what they believe our entire lives.

As children, adults tell us what they believe, and that is all that we know.

As a teenager, adults continue to tell us what they believe in order to get us to fit in their box.  YouTube and pop culture do the same thing.

(Anyone remember MTV?  Is it still a thing?  MTV is the “social influencer” of my generation.)

As a young adult, we have authorities like professors and bosses, who continue to drill us with what they believe in order to get us to comply.

Somewhere between 22-25 our beliefs become our own but, in most cases, they are not ours at all.  We just adopt them. 

That is the dangerous part.  We stop right at the point where we should start.

If we have a belief that makes us uncomfortable, we should question that belief. We should question its source and how it was cultivated.  That way we are confident we got it right.

Our beliefs do not have to delight everyone, but we sure need to make certain they make us proud.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

Motivation is fleeting

Everyone needs motivation and everyone finds it in various ways. 

A few examples.  A good song comes on and I suddenly want to go workout.  A good movie reminds me to send a friend, that I have not spoke to in a while, a text telling her I am thinking about her.  A good book triggers my desire to practice a new skill and a new project gets me to jump out of bed on Monday mornings, ready to go to work.  All these feelings will pass because that song will end, I will get too busy to send the text, some books are boring and the project at work will get hard.  That is why ‘motivation is fleeting’ and does not last.

However, what does last is Purpose, Passion and Progress.  Workout 5-6 times a week because it is how we build a body that can take the stress of life and allow us to care for our loved ones.  Make sure to stay in contact with our most important people regularly because we want them to know we care.  Read and learn every singe day because growth is how we move forward in all aspects of life.  Take daily measured steps at the office so we set ourselves up for that next promotion or big opportunity at another company.  All of these are anchored to Purpose and Passion and measured through Progress.  Motivation alone simply will not sustain us.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

Spend Time Thinking

Every day I recommend you spend time thinking.  Schedule it if you need to. There has never been a problem that I have not been able to figure out through scheduled and strategic thinking time.

Relationship issue that I did not know how to handle?  Taking time to think about it gave me the right answers.

A complex project at work that I did not know the next steps on?  Scheduled thinking gives me my best ideas.

I had a boss once that had the gift of gab.  The dude could schmooze better than anyone.  He and I were re-negotiating my role and compensation plan with-in the organization.  At the end of a very tense conversation, he asked me “how I felt about his plan?”  My response was, “I feel good right now but because I know how you are with words, I need to go think and will tell you my response in the morning”.  I left the company a few months later, in an action that lit a fire under my career.  All because I took time to just think.

Focused thinking is the greatest tool we have in our toolbelt.  I do it while I drive, I do it in the shower, I even schedule time on my calendar for it. 

Sometimes you just need to Spend Time Thinking.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

The Quest for Perfection is Elusive

The quest for perfection is elusive.  We want perfect timing before we make that move, buy that house or start that business.  We want perfect products before we launch. We want perfect service. We want perfect partners and we want perfect lives.  

I think we should look at it this way instead:

  1. Strive for perfection in ourselves.
  2. Expect progress in others (and business).

And do not delay execution ever because progress gets you closer to perfection.

Today is a new day

Today is a new day.  Every day is actually.  Two things are certain about a new day:

  1. Things will happen
  2. We can decide to make things happen

It’s a choice really.  #2 comes from intentionality and creates no anxiety.  #1 comes from lack of planning and creates a mindset that has to deal with the unknown.  When we are intentional with our day, it does not prevent unplanned things from popping up.  The magic is that it is a lot easier to deal with the unexpected, when we have a plan.  Intentionality is like a map; even if we get off track, it is easy to find the path back to where we are going. 

Choose to lead with #2 and find that unexpected things happen less.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

Anchors are Important

In a world where everyone has an opinion and a platform to share that opinion, anchors are important.  If someone tells us (or yells in the comments section on social) that the world is flat, we have enough logic, education and supporting science to not let that bother us.  This is how anchors work.  When an anchor is secure, the ship does not budge.  When the anchor is not secure, every wave, wind gust or current change will move the vessel at its will.  If you are building a brand, leading a change or intend to create something great, you can expect confrontation.  From the cheap seats, a naysayer will say you are wrong or not like what you have to offer. 

Your options are:

Respond to them all, take it personal and act defensively every single time, which is exhausting. 

Or, know your anchors, set them securely and go in the direction you need to.  On your terms

Anchors can come in the form of core values that you have built, mentors that you trust and feedback from your best customers.  They do not come from internet comments sections, cynics or bad bosses.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

Be a Thermostat

As leaders in business, church, family, community or anywhere you need people to follow you, practice being a thermostat, not a thermometer.

A thermometer just repeats the temperature in the room that has already been set.  A thermometer is ineffective as a leadership tool. 

A thermostat sets the temperature of the room.  That is the skill leaders need.  If the team is running hot, you should cool them down by setting your message, attitude and demeanor cooler.  If the team needs to heat up, adjust yourself to that temperature and as a thermostat, the room will follow. 

Recently a leader in a very large organization that we worked with says “when do we panic?”  My response was, “we don’t.  As a leader, your panic becomes the teams’ panic.”

Take the thermostat approach and use that as a tool to put your team, company or followers in the mindset needed for the environment they are in. 

The alternative is being a thermometer and missing an opportunity to lead.

Be Great,

The Uncommon Wisdom Podcast

It’s on them (and you)

On the day after the love holiday, there is something to consider. 

It’s on them (and you). 

When someone in need asks for help, and you give it, it’s on them how they decide to use it. 

I recently had a conversation with a guy that needed help.  He was sad, stricken with anxiety and felt judgement all around him.  He also looked to have some sort of mental illness and probably an addiction.  That is on him.  My ability to help and the decision to do so or not, is on me.  I offered a meal, a few dollars and a word of encouragement.  I do not know what he did with what I offered but that is on him. 

The point is, do not let the opportunity pass to be something to someone in need.  Their acceptance and use of what you give, is on them.  Your decision is on you.