In golf I never made it beyond the driving range. I never made it to the courses, the holes, the greens. But I love golf analogies. If your determination as a motivator is the hole, then your incisiveness is the swing. Moving people out of their comfort zone into a new comfort zone is never an easy task. They fight hard against it. They vigorously defend their status quo. They build fences, barricades, walls. If you slacken the reins for a single moment, they slip through your fingers like an eel. You cannot hit the ball with a lame swing; you cannot cut raw meat with a blunted knife. As a motivator you need to be incisive.
I remember one seminar participant who had the horrible pleasure to sing in front of the group – Karaoke-style! Her head went red. Her breathing stumbled. Panic overcame her. Then she barked at me: This is a public speaking course. I’m here to speak, not to sing. I will not sing!
In five seconds the room temperature sank from sunny Caribbean to Siberian winter! But If I’d tolerated her resistance, I would’ve lost all my credibility as a trainer and motivator. The next person would’ve done the same – slipping through my fingers like an eel. I couldn’t take that risk. I had to be incisive.
I said to her, Look, if it wasn’t for my years of experience of seeing how people grow five meters in this very moment, if it wasn’t for the didactical power of this exercise, if it wasn’t for me knowing that it’s the best you can do right now, I’d say: sit down. Sing – NOW!
She sang. A nursery rhyme. Endless applause.
In other trainings I had people who stopped speaking after a short while, insisted that they couldn’t do it and sat down. No way! Stop! I’d never continue with the training until that person gives a short speech. It may take three minutes, five minutes, eight minutes – I’m incisive. Until that person moves, speaks and triumphs.
In those moments some of them hate me. But as a motivator you don’t want to be loved at first sight. You want to move people into new comfort zones. Lame swings or blunted knives won’t make it happen. It’s your incisiveness, which gains their respect and trust in the end.
Be the swing of Tiger Woods, be a Swiss knife, be incisive!