3 ways to motivate and serve others

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Living in America today most of us are blessed with both the remarkable ability to meet our many needs and the incredible gift of being able to choose how we do so. Yet with a plethora of sources of information, products, and services to choose from, it’s also never been more confusing.

How do we choose to get our needs met?

I’ve long been inspired by Abraham Maslow and the hierarchy of needs he articulated visually. As you know, I’m also a fan of keeping things simple for the sake of clarity. Study and experience have taught me that there are three basic motivations we have, three reasons we make the choices we do...

1. How it makes us feel about who we are. This motivation has to do with fulfilling our basic security and self-esteem needs. It’s the reason why even though we may be able to get free tap water or free coffee at work we still might buy bottled or visit the coffee shop. We like how it makes us feel and what we think it says about us.

2. How it connects us to others. We also all have a powerful need to belong. It’s why even though we can stream movies, talks, and webinars from home, we still choose to go to the theatre, classroom, conference, or church. We want to be with one another.

3. How it makes us believe. We all need to feel like we have a purpose, like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We decide to do things all the time that don’t directly benefit us but connect us to a greater good, such as recycling, letting another car into our traffic lane, or donating money online to disaster relief.

Why should this matter to you?

I am a firm believer that each of us is in sales, whether we are aware of it or not. Every day, all day long, we are asking others to make one choice instead of another, persuading our families to cooperate, our colleagues to perform, our neighbors to empathize.

The question you can and should ask yourself is how are you motivating others? What choices do you want those around you to make and how are you making the case for them to do so? Why should they make the decision you suggest? How are you helping them get their needs met? Think about everyone too - your boss, spouse, children, parents, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, community partners, funders, etc.

1. Are you offering something that helps them be better, or at least think they are? How is what you are proposing different and higher quality?

2. What relationships are you helping them build? This might include relationships with your organization, with other organizations, or with each other. What are those relationships like and why do they matter to them?

3. What vision are you inspiring them to believe in? How are you giving them opportunities to contribute to bringing this vision to life in ways that they want to?

It’s important to note that we can, and should try to, offer it all. True, often we settle for meeting just one of our needs, perhaps compromising others. We buy high-quality goods from a store we really don’t respect. We find community but wonder if the information being offered there is top notch. My challenge to you, dear reader, is to imagine how we might make better choices ourselves, starting with the choices we offer to others.

Do you need support practicing this?

If you want more than just the theory, I invite you to join me as I model this practice. My Patreon page is a place where I show my beloved patrons how to:

1. Be inspired, be thoughtful, be deliberate. I go beyond mere information dissemination and share my experience as well as insights, drawing from a range of fields such as business, psychology, science, and the arts. I help you not only learn new things but also understand how to apply new ideas.

2. Belong to a group of committed visionaries across disciplines and industries. As our group steadily grows, I help individuals connect by sharing visual profiles that describe patrons’ professional journeys and passions. Thus far our tribe includes artists, researchers, marketers, evaluators, and coaches - an interesting bunch indeed!

3. Believe in transformation, and most importantly in themselves! I believe that each of us has immense potential, and that the tools for awakening this potential in ourselves as well as in others lie in our own minds, hands, and hearts. By sharing clear, thoughtful content of all kinds, I invite fellow visionaries to live as their most awake, wisest selves.

Again, I know we are accustomed to compromise, yet I suggest you ask yourself: is the content (whether auditory, literary, visual, or otherwise) that you’re getting (albeit often for free) helping you meet all these needs? I’m offering it all to anyone for less than a cup of coffee a month. All content carries a cost, and often part of that cost is the influence of advertisers or megalomaniacs. One of the reasons I love Patreon is that the costs aren’t hidden - literally. You and everyone else can see how much financial support my patrons are generously giving me right now on my Patreon page. How about that for wisdom, community, and transformation?

If you don’t want to pay for mine, I’d encourage you to contribute to whatever content you do enjoy, whether it’s your favorite blog, podcast, or public news outlet. If we value real news, reliable information, and life-changing stories (and of course we do), if we acknowledge how it helps us get our needs met all day long every single day, ensuring that it continues to do so is the simplest, most reasonable choice we can make.

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