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5 Questions to Change Your World

by Katherine Hunter on Monday, September 02, 2013 4:57 AM
At my daughter’s cross-country meet this past week, I saw someone with the best t-shirt I’ve seen in a long time. Ok, I didn’t see the front, but on the back was the saying, “Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion, you have to light yourself on fire. – Fred Shero.” Dang, I wish I wrote that! It sums up exactly what I have been working on this week.

Lighting yourself on fire is a pretty scary thing to do but, the Truth is, if you want to make a difference then that is exactly what needs to happen. It is easy to come away from a motivational speech feeling ready to take on the world, but too often the enthusiasm bubble bursts just as soon as the phone rings. The reason this bubble bursts is because the bubble belongs to someone else. In order to make a difference over the long haul, enthusiasm and motivation needs to come from the inside. Yep, sustainable change is an inside job.

In no way should this be taken as distain for motivational speaking – I love motivational speakers and some days I really need a dose of go-juice to get me started in the morning. However, the only way go-juice works is if it awakens what is already inside.

The biggest thing our clients struggle with is tapping into the power of their employee’s internal motivation. Are you connected with yours? Do you have to go to work? Or do you get to go to work?

If you are struggling to light your internal flame, find your purpose by asking yourself the following questions:

1) Who am I?

2) What do I do?

3) Who do I do it for?

4) What do these people want and need?

5) How do they change or transform as a result of what I give them?*

When someone asks you what you do, just give the answer to #5. Your purpose may be “I reduce stress on the factory floor” if what you do is manage material flow by effective production planning. Another purpose could be “I ensure the safety of our troops in combat” if what you do is engineer flight navigation systems. See the difference?

What is interesting about the list above is the 3 of the 5 are outward facing. Understanding how our actions change and transform the world makes a difference. Regardless of our place within the organization, when we can see the larger picture and the unique contribution we make to the group’s success, then we actually have something to feel good about at the end of the day. What really matters isn’t so much the activities we do as what impact those activities have on others.

Go ahead, set yourself on fire.

* Questions adapted from a TEDx speech by Adam Leipzig.

Copyright ©2014 Katherine Hunter

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Katherine Hunter

Katherine has completed three advanced degrees in human behavior including a doctorate in Transformational Psychology. She is passionate about transformation: transformation of business, company culture and individuals. Katherine believes that the success of an organization is directly proportional to the passion of the individuals to make a difference and works with clients to leverage teamwork and collaboration as key components of sustainable performance.

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