Motivate by Doing

People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those people who sit still and inquire, why wasn't it done the other way?
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most managers don't do things in the order of priority that they've rationally selected. They do things according to feelings. That's how their day is run. (This, by the way, is exactly how infants live. They live from feeling to feeling. Do they feel like crying? Do they feel like laughing? Do they feel like drooling? That's and infant's life.)

Professional managers fall into two categories. There are doers and there are feelers.

Doers do what needs to be done to reach a goal that they themselves have set. They come to work having planned out what needs to be done.

Feelers, on the other hand, do what they feel like doing. Feelers take their emotional temperature throughout the day, checking in on themselves, figuring out what they feel like doing right now. Their lives, their outcomes, their financial security are all dictated by the fluctuation of their feelings. Their feelings will change constantly, of course, so it's hard for a feeler to follow anything through to a successful conclusion. Their feelings are changed by many things: biorhythms, gastric upset, a strong cup of coffee, an annoying call from home, a rude waitress at lunch, a cold, a bit of a headache. Those are the dictating forces, the commanders, of a feeler's life.

A doer already knows in advance how much time will be spent on the phone, how much in the field, what employees will be cultivated that day, what relationships will be strengthened, what communications need to be made. Doers use a three-step system to guarantee success:

  1. They figure out what they want to achieve.
  2. They figure out what need to be done to achieve it.
  3. They just do it.

This is not a theory, this is the actual observed system used by all super achievers without fail.

A feeler is adrift in a mysterious life of unexpected consequences and depressing problems. A feeler asks, "Do I feel like making my phone calls now?" "Do I feel like writing that thank you note?" "Do I feel like dropping in on that person right now?" If the answer is no, then the feeler keeps going down the list, asking, "Do I feel like doing something else?"

A feeler lives inside that line of inquiry all day long.

By contrast, a doer has high self-esteem. A doer enjoys many satisfactions throughout the day, even though some of them were preceded by discomfort. A feeler is almost always comfortable, but never really satisfied. A doer knows the true, deep joy that only life's super achievers know. A feeler believes that joy is for children, and that life for an adult is an ongoing hassle. A doer experiences more and more power every year of life. A feeler feels less and less powerful as the years go on.

Your ability to motivate others increases exponentially as your reputation as a doer increases. You also get more and more clarity about who the doers and feelers are on your own team. Then, as you model and reward the doing, you also begin to inspire the feeler on your team to be a doer.

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