You’ve probably noticed I’m writing a series of posts on the main themes of this blog — the words under my name at the top: leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, and passion.
If you’ve gotten the idea now that I’m relating these concepts back to knowing your emotions and emotional system, I’m glad. I thought I’d take a post to explain why.
The vagueness people throw terms around with makes it hard to work with them. When the terms in question are values, meaning, purpose, importance, leadership, and passion — well, those aren’t things you just vaguely want to hope for in life. If vague is all you can do, vague is all you’ll get. If you understand these things precisely you can act on them precisely. Then you can reliably and predictably create a life full of leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, and passion. When you expect to do something reliably and predictably, as opposed to just hoping, your motivation increases. After all, motivation comes from expectation of success (a belief).
Understanding those concepts helped me and I want people who take the time to read what I write to be able to help themselves at least as much. Hence I’m spending the time to clarify what I mean by concepts that might otherwise sound vague. I’m clarifying the meaning of the concepts in the way that helped me most and has helped clients. That helpfulness roots these concepts in emotions.
I coach a lot of people through a lot of changes and types of changes — getting ahead in their careers, learning to lead in the workplace, improving relationships with their bosses, figuring out their passions, transforming their jobs from crappy to awesome, overcoming irrational fears, dating, and more.
There could be a selection effect that the people who find me are looking for emotional intelligence and self-awareness because I write about them and they are what helped me, but I find everyone’s issues are based largely in motivation and emotions. Their problems are based in not understanding their emotional systems and emotions. Their solutions are based on increasing that understanding and acting on it.
Emotions and sources of problems
If you want to look at people’s problems, I find a major component of if not the entire cause of most people’s living below their potential — poor work performance, poor fitness, poor relationships at home, work, with family, or whatever, etc — come from not acting on what they know they should do. Even if they don’t know everything they should do, they at least know a few early steps and they don’t even do those. Knowing what to do and not doing it is the very definition of poor motivation, which means not knowing how to create the emotions you want.
Emotions and sources of solutions
If you know me you know I prefer finding solutions to dwelling on problems. Look at any success story — business, fitness, personal development, whatever.
The person changed their long-term behavior.
How did they change their long-term behavior?
By changing their emotions and motivations.
How did they change their motivations?
By changing their environments, beliefs, and short-term behavior until the new emotions kicked in, they got emotional reward that kept them going, and they liked staying the new way — as a leader, fit person, more social person, or whatever new type of person — more than falling back.
(By the way, what’s the difference between long- and short-term behavior in this context? How much you can motivate by willpower alone. Willpower can change your behavior in the short-term, but generally won’t endure past when your willpower gives out unless combined with changes in environment and beliefs. My series on willpower and the Model and Method cover that. Well, that’s what this whole web page is about.)
Maybe my beliefs limit me, but I don’t believe you can just decide to have new emotions and new motivations. If you want success like others have had, you need to change your motivations. The way to do it is to work on things you can change — your environments, beliefs, and behaviors.
People think emotions are mysterious, random, and hard to understand. With a good model you can understand them easily. Then you can develop the motivations you want to achieve what you want.
That’s why these concepts keep coming back to emotions. When you master understanding your emotions and can create the ones you want, you can fill your life with as much leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, and passion as you want.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book