Tag Archives: motivation

The Fred Factor: 4 Ways to Be the Best At What You Do!

Make the Difference Word Collage
Make- the- Difference- Word -Collage

At some point or another, we’ve all met a ‘Fred’, needed a ‘Fred’, been helped by a ‘Fred’ or better yet have been a ‘Fred’ to someone else. So, what is a ‘Fred’? A ‘Fred’ is someone who goes above and beyond to deliver excellent service or stands out in his or her work regardless the role or circumstances. Reflect on your most memorable customer service experience or a time when met someone who provided the high-quality service that blew you away or left a lasting and positive impression on you- that was a Fred. Or think about that co-worker that always takes full accountability for getting his /her job and can still be counted on to help pick up the slack when necessary- he /she is also a “Fred”. Freds exist in every profession and provide great examples of engaged employees who consistently outstanding performance and attitude serve as inspiration and motivation for us all.

However, in today’s environment where employee engagement is at an all-time low and many employees are struggling to stay motivated, it can be hard to be a ‘Fred’ or find a ‘Fred’.  According to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide and 35% in the U.S.  fall into the engaged category. Gallup identifies three types of employees in the workplace: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. Employees who are engaged (Freds) show up as highly enthusiastic and involved about their work and workplace. Whereas employees’ people who are not engaged put in their time but are psychologically unattached to their work and company. Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work — they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met and are acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.

Colored Pencils With Different Emotions
Colored- Pencils -Expressing -Different- Emotions -Image

Are You A Fred?

In his book The Fred Factor, “Mark Sanborn tells the true story of Fred, the mail carrier who passionately loves his job and genuinely cares about the people he serves. Because of that, he is constantly going the extra mile handling the mail and sometimes watching over the houses of the people on his route, treating everyone he meets as a friend. Where other might see delivering mail as monotonous drudgery, Fred sees an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those he serves.

When I think of Fred, I think of those awesome frontline workers especially in health care workers who bore the brunt of the pandemic and still showed up to work every day at great risk to their own lives and that of their families showing compassion and empathy to those they cared for. I also think of those garbage collectors, teachers, public safety officers who go the extra mile despite trying circumstances and all the other everyday people who we rely on for the provision of goods and services. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always show up as a Fred. There have been times in my work life where the toxic working environments and difficult relationships with coworkers have left me feeling disengaged and resigned to doing enough to get by.  But because I pride myself on doing my best, when and where I find myself struggling, I have found other ways to engage myself and relied on the support and encouragement of my inner circle to help me remember my why and get back on track.

Different Elements of Excellence-Infographic
Different- Elements- of -Excellence-Infographic

Four Principles of the Fred Factor

So, if you are feeling disengaged, actively disengaged or discouraged by your current work/life situation, consider using the following four principles of the “Fred Factor’ to refresh your energy and find your mojo to unleash creativity and enthusiasm in your personal and professional lives.

1.Everyone Makes a Difference: It doesn’t matter how large or even how screwed up an organization is. An individual can still make a difference within that organization. An employer can hinder exceptional performance, choose to ignore it, and not adequately recognize or encourage it. Or an employer can train employees to achieve exceptional performance and then reward it. But ultimately, only the employee can choose to do his or her job in an extraordinary way, either because of, or despite, circumstances.

 2. Everything Is Built on Relationships:  Here Sanborn explained that the service performed by the U.S. Postal Service of delivering his mail gave him what he paid for-nothing more, nothing less. However, the service he received from Fred was amazing because of the relationship he had with Fred. It differed from the relationships he had with any other postal carrier, before or since. Indifferent people deliver impersonal service. Service becomes personalized when a relationship exists between the provider and the customer. Fred took time to get to know and understand his customers’ needs and preferences. And then he used that information to provide better service and excellence.

3. You Must Continually Create Value for Others, and It Doesn’t Have to Cost a Penny: Don’t have enough money? The necessary training? The right opportunities? In other words, do you ever complain that you lack resources? Have you started believing that “more with less” is an impossibility? Then consider Fred. What resources did he have at his disposal? All Fred had was a drab blue uniform and a bag. But, he walked up and down streets with that bag full of mail, and his heart and head full of imagination. That imagination enabled him to create value for his customers, and he didn’t spend an extra dollar to do it. He just thought a little bit harder and more creatively than most other postal carriers.

4. You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly:  According to Sandborn, if Fred could bring such originality to putting mail in a box, how much more could you and I reinvent our work? He recommended that on the days when you wake up tired, and your professional commitment is wavering and just getting the job done and going home at the end of the day becomes your primary objective- think about Fred. Because if Fred the Postman could bring that kind of creativity and commitment to putting mail in a box, you and I can do as much or more to reinvent our work and rejuvenate my efforts.

At the end of the day, while we cannot control the things that happen to us, the circumstances we face, we can choose how we respond, to have a positive ‘can do” attitude and to stay engaged.

Until next time, Remember, ItsALearningLife!

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The Law of Attraction: 11 Steps to Attract the Life You Want!

The Law of Attraction-Image
The- Law- of- Attraction-Image

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to curl up in a comfy space and read a good book. The kind of book that keeps you flipping the pages, forget that you were hungry and or fail to notice time passing by. And though I read all throughout the year, there is something about summertime that makes me want to read more and spend time reflecting on the gems and insights I gain from all the books I find while combing through the library shelves. So, when I came across The Law of Attraction Plain and Simple by Sonica Ricotti, I became curious about what the law of attraction is, how it works and/or even if it does work. So, I read it and thought I would share some of the main ideas and takeaways from what I learned about the law of attraction.

The Law of Attraction

The law of attraction states that you attract into your life what you project into the universe. This simply means that the people and events you attract into your life are based on what you focus on and direct your attention to. The law of attraction is based on the view that what we focus on expands. So, if you and I have negative thoughts, we will send out negative energy which will attract negative people and things into our lives. But if we think positive thoughts and feelings, we will generate positive energy which will attract positive events, people, and things to our lives. So, if you are feeling negative or positive in this moment- that is the energy you are sending out to your environment and the people around you.

As a person of faith, let me start by saying that I do not necessarily believe that all our life experiences (good or bad) are a result of the energy we put out in the universe. Like me, you might have had good and bad life experiences that you did nothing to deserve or could not control. However, what I liked about the concept of the law of attraction is the perspective that we can shift our thoughts, language, and emotions to stop negative energy flow and learn to project positive energy and attitudes. And when we intentionally project positive energy and attitudes, we will experience greater levels of contentment, inner peace, happiness, and success.

11 Steps to Attract the Life You Want!

While the book is not prescriptive, it outlines 11 valuable steps or suggestions for you to consider as you seek to attract and manifest the life you truly want to live and follow your dreams:

The Law of Attraction
Positive- Attracts- Positive-Image
  1. Decide What You Want: The first step of the law of attraction requires you to think about what you want- what you really want if you want to attract and manifest it. It also points out that some people struggle to figure out what they do want or are fixated on the things they do not want. And when you fixate on what you do not want, you experience negative thoughts that releases negative energy which then attracts negative people, situations, and experiences into your life. The solution to this is to become clear about what would want for yourself if anything was possible. Once you have decided on what you want- write or type your list and post it somewhere where it will be a constant reminder of what you want to focus on and where you are going.
  1. Choose Your Thoughts and Feelings: The second step in the law of attraction is to become aware of what you are thinking and feeling. So, on a scale of 1-10 (1 is feeling bad; 10 is feeling great) how are you feeling right now? The more positive you feel, the more positive the energy you will send out. Similarly, negative thoughts lead to negative feelings which will cause you to send out negative energy. One way to increase your awareness of how you feel is to draw a big wheel with eight spokes representing the areas of your life: finances, health, family/friends, romance /significant other, career, fun and recreation, personal growth, and service to others. Then give yourself a rating for each area. This awareness will help you to shift your thoughts and energy to help you focus on where you want to be.
  1. Keep in End in Mind: The next step of the law of attraction is to think about what you want to be remembered for. What would you want to be said at your memorial service? This will help you to determine what your most important values (The things that are most important to you) are and help you to make the choices that align with your purpose or the life you want to live. Once you have figured this out, write out a list of your core values and reflect on them to determine if you are living in alignment with your values. This will also help you to generate the positive energy required to attract all that you desire for your life.
  1. Remove meaning: This step is based on the perspective that you create and attach meaning to everything you experience in life. You get to decide whether an experience is positive, negative, or neutral. You have the power to choose what feelings you attach to each situation, event, and experience by how you interpret the things happening to you. The best way to do this is to separate the facts of the situation from your interpretation of the situation. If you can recognize the difference between the facts of what happened and your interpretation of what happened, you are free to choose an interpretation that is more positive in nature.
  1. Let Go: This step of the law of attraction advocates that you let everything that is currently happening in your life be and the accept your life exactly the way it is and exactly the way it is not. Acceptance does not mean you are giving up or resigning yourself to any condition, it simply means that you stop resisting. Resisting does not change the situation and only generates negative energy, which then attracts more of the same negative situations in your life. Additionally, whenever you use the word should to describe how things should be in your life, you are resisting what is. And this generates more negative energy.
Positive Mind-Positive Vibes-Positive Life-Image
Positive- Mind-Positive-Vibes-Positive- Life-Image
  1. Forgive: Forgiveness is one of the ultimate keys to emitting and creating positive energy but is arguably one of the most difficult things to do. However, nothing produces more negative energy than unforgiveness. Holding on to grudges and resentment can feel like an anchor is dragging you down. The key is to free yourself from those negative thoughts and emotions. Because according to Ann Lamott “not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
  1. Unleash the Past: While your past plays a big role in who you are today, holding on to the regrets and mistakes of the past can create negative feelings which some people take into their present and future. This step of the law of attraction recommends that rather than feeling like a victim of your past, you should release past experiences and the negative energy they produce. By freeing yourself from the past, you create a clear space to generate positive energy. And by being aware that you are holding on the past and recognizing that your choices are influenced by that, you develop the consciousness to make other choices.
  1. Be Grateful: The step of the law of attraction recommends being grateful for what you already have in your life by simply taking the time to recognize your many blessings. When you focus on what you already have, you feel good and release positive energy. One way that you can practice being grateful is to start and end your day thinking about 3 things that you are grateful for.
  1. Choose Your Friends Carefully: This step draws on the old adage that says “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Reflect on how you feel after you have spent time connecting with your friends. Do you feel energized, encouraged, and inspired? Or do you find yourself always giving advice or feeling drained after you have been around them. Surround yourself with people who are living the life you want to live or those that will push you towards the direction of your dreams.
  2. Connect Mind, Body and Spirit: This step makes the point that most people make excuses that they are too busy juggling all their responsibilities to take care of themselves. However, self-care is an important part of taking care of your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. So, ask yourself- what are the obstacles in your life that have prevented you from taking time for yourself and recharging your batteries? Then set aside some time to do activities to improve your mind (reading) your body(exercise) and your spirit (meditation).
  1. Allow It: The final step is the law of attraction is to allow that which you desire to manifest in your life. For you to receive it, you must be prepared to receive it and have no doubt. So, dream big and believe anything is possible if you believe.

Until next time, Remember It’sALearningLife!

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Motivation: Why Do You Do It Anyway?

Love or Money-Image
Love or money?

If you have ever listened to a successful person speak about their achievements or journey towards their biggest moment, whether it was an athlete, actor, entrepreneur or professional, the one thing you would probably hear them mention is the importance of being and staying motivated. You probably would also hear their stories of overcoming adversity, setbacks, the pain of failure, mistakes and even their struggles with self-doubt. You would hear them talk about pushing through obstacles to remain committed and focused on the dream or goal they set for themselves.

Now all of us have dreams or goals that we aspire to and hope to achieve someday. Although our motivations might be different, they generally stem from a desire to fulfill potential, acquire wealth, attain new levels of success, fame, status, leave a legacy or simply to take care of our loved ones. Yet, for some reason or another, not all of us are pursuing our goals and dreams or even actively working to achieve them. Why not? The answer to this question could lie in about beliefs about motivation and where our motivation comes from. For the purposes of this article, I wanted to look at what motivates people to be the best versions of ourselves- personally and professionally.

In my last post, I wrote about the challenges and takeaways of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has and continues to impact us. The stress, fatigue, and uncertainty that we are currently facing have undoubtedly impacted how motivated we feel to pursue our personal and professional goals. But even though hard times bring challenges, they also present many opportunities, and the verdict is not all gloom and doom. After all, people are still making career changes, new businesses are still being started and lots of people are busy making things happen to achieve their goals. So how do we cope with everything that is going on around us and still find a way to tackle our goals or make progress?

What's Your Motivation-Image
What’s your motivation?

Sources of Motivation

Motivation is the reason we get up each day, despite the challenges and carry on. Psychology Today, defines motivation as ” one of the driving forces behind human behavior. It fuels competition and sparks social connection. Its absence can lead to mental illnesses such as depression. Motivation encompasses the desire to continue striving toward meaning, purpose, and a life worth living.”

So, where does your motivation come from? According to the literature, there are two main sources of motivation- intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation refers to those sources of motivation that are external to us. They include praise, recognition, money, and other external rewards and incentives. No one can deny the power of bonuses to influence employee performance on the job or how those rewards influence how we use our time and talents. Nor can we ignore how the threat of consequences (carrot vs stick) can dictate behaviors.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is that which comes from inside of us. That is, the motivation one gets from doing something, the learning, the feeling of pride or pleasure, the sense of meaning or fulfillment of purpose that one gets from carrying out an action or the activity itself. One example of intrinsic motivation is volunteering- evidenced by the millions of people across the world who donate their skills and time every year for worthy causes, for the sense or meaning or purpose they get from contributing to the greater good.

Despite the presence of these two sources of motivation, there is a widely held belief that if you want to get the most out of people that you just “show them the money”. This perspective is limited and problematic for many reasons and does not tell the full story. There is no denying the power of money to motivate people to get things done over the short term, but financial incentives and other external rewards do not get people to perform or do what you want over the long term. Fact is, there are a lot of people with money or in jobs that pay them well, who are not motivated or engaged on the job and others who walk away from high paying jobs because it did not meet their needs. Meanwhile, there are other people who do not earn six figures and wake up every day committed to their jobs and excited to do all they can to make a difference. Add to that, the people who walk away from their careers at the height of their success for reasons that some people struggle to understand.

Question About Purpose-Image
Question About Purpose

What Drives Us?

As humans, one of our most fundamental motivation is the desire to have enough to meet our needs and wants and take care of ourselves and families. We all desire to be compensated for the work we do and at a level that will enable us to not just survive but thrive. However, once people are compensated fairly for the work they do, research shows that money cannot be relied on as the main motivator for great performance or results.

So, what truly motivates people to do their best and be their best? Is it internal or external rewards?

In his book Drive – Daniel Pink offers a different perspective of what it takes to truly motivate people to be and do their best over the long term. Pink identifies three main factors which he believes are responsible for getting the best out of people, that is purpose, autonomy, and mastery in their personal and professional lives. Interestingly, these three factors are internal in nature and are described below:

Purpose: This can be described as the desire in each of has to fulfill our “why” or our reason for being. Your purpose or your “why” is usually connected to what you believe that you are very good at and is also driven by our desire to serve something bigger than ourselves. Whether it is your personal or professional lives, knowing and remembering your “why” will motivate you to carry on in your darkest moments and the in days that you are struggling to keep going.

Autonomy: This speaks to our desire to be self-directed or the degree to which we think we can direct your own work and life. People desire to have some say and/or control is what they do, how they do it and when they do it. One of the biggest issues that people complain about at work is micro-management from their boss or supervisor. When and where people feel no sense of autonomy over their lives, motivation decreases, they just go through the motions and disengage. Keep in mind that autonomy does not mean independence and still requires accountability, but it allows people to have some say or choice and they generally perform better when it exists.

Mastery: This one describes our desire as humans to improve, grow, develop or to become better at something that matters to us. Mastery usually takes commitment, dedication, and hard work as the process of attaining excellence requires practice, time, and effort. The desire for mastery becomes a big motivator as we seek to sharpen our skills, distinguish ourselves from others and honor the talents we have been blessed it. After all, did you wake up this morning to be mediocre?

The Verdict

Quote-whether you think you can or can't -you're right
Quote-Whether you think you can or you cant-you’re right

There is no magic bullet for motivation. The degree to which we feel motivated or not can be influenced by what is happening in our lives at the time. Money might be a motivator in one season and become less important after you pass through that stage, giving way to more internal factors like the sense of meaning/fulfillment you get from doing something. Our goals and our best laid plans can also be disrupted by external stressors and unexpected life events. You could be doing your dream job and lose motivation because of challenges that you that you might be experiencing. If you lose your “mojo” in a season (for whatever the reason), resist the urge to give up on that goal or endeavor. Your success will not be dependent on how many times you failed but more so by your ability to get up and begin again.

If you are struggling with motivation in this season, here are few reminders to help you keep going:

  • Just do it: Like the Nike tag says, the simple act of starting is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Whatever that goal is for you, do not get stuck in waiting for all the perfect conditions to be in place or for the right time to arrive. As the saying goes “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”, so take it.
  • Remember your why: On the days when you feel like giving up, think about about why you started or wanted to do that thing in the first place. As you consider your answer, determine if you still believe in what you are doing or still feel it is the best course of action to take. If so – pursue it.
  • Choose hope: When faced with hardships, it is difficult to see the progress that you have made or how close you might be to the finish line. Take a moment to acknowledge how far you have come and remind yourself that you have you have survived 100% of your very bad days. Your best days are ahead of you.
  • Believe in yourself: It is nice to have people around you that believe in you and what you are trying to do, but this not always the case. If you have a vision for yourself or something you truly wish to do, guard it and be wise about who you share it with. Some people will always be nay-sayers. Find yourself some yea-sayers and when all that fails- encourage yourself. It is your dream and your goal. The only limit is you.

So, keep up the good fight and do not lose sight of our goals and dreams. Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

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Just Do It……..Do It Now!

imagesX97HBCNRThe new year is here and January is running fast. You’ve made some New Year resolutions  which are either fading into the deeper recesses of your mind or are in full gear. Whichever the case, I’m with you for I have been there  and done that.

Writing a blog has been on my  ” To  Do List ”  since 2011 when I first came across the concept, along with developing an online portfolio, shedding 10 pounds and the list goes on.But for whatever reason, life happens, I’ve never started and none of my friends have kept me accountable though I’ve said  I would. To be fair though, they have repeatedly told me  that they are patiently waiting for my memoirs/autobiography for believe me , I like you and so many others have  STORIES  to tell.

Anyways, back to the point, I’ve finally published my blog- It’s A Learning Life -Lessons in the Journey Towards Personal & Professional Development http://itsalearninglife.wordpress.com.  And trust me, you’d never believe the amount of time and effort it took  to get started . Hats off to the  established Bloggers out there, I  now have a greater appreciation for what you do and the courage it takes to just put yourself out there.

But I’ve resolved, my blog’s debut isn’t perfect, it doesn’t have to be . In fact, the content, style and format of my blog may change and evolve as I do- and I’m ok with that. It simply reflects my first step, my best effort at this time, and my commitment to meet one of my personal and professional goals for 2014. So  if you like me  have  been putting off a goal or project for some area(s) of your life – personal, career, education, financial, health , spiritual etc., my advice to you  would be to – just  do it. Start, neither  you   nor your efforts  have to be perfect,  your focus may shift a bit, you may slip up but stay the course and do it.

collagenew yer

Wherever you are in your  journey, whatever the situation, the  level you’re at, go ahead  and find your list of “things to do for 2014” and start. If you don’t have one, it’s not too late  to go make one,  you’re even entitled to dream, but right after you read, comment, like and share.

What are your goals for 2014? Please share, I’d like to hear from you.


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