Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mission 2013 # 8. Motivating the Unmotivated

 Motivation??? For the Birds?

When we at Sweeten Life do seminars for pastors, managers, or counselors we always get the same question: "How do I motivate the unmotivated?"

That question is usually followed by a series of stories from the students about how difficult it is to motivate people. The group usually ends up complaining that people nowadays are just not motivated as much as people of old.

When I ask what they do to try to motivate people to give more, attend more, volunteer more or help more they usually say they try guilt, manipulation, should, ought, scripture, pointing a finger or pouting or ranting.

I ask: "Does any of that work to motivate the people?"


My stock answer is: "Do not try to motivate the unmotivated or you might motivate them to be less motivated. The students agree. Their attempts to motivate usually backfire.

Then I say, "Pray for the people to complain!"

All at once they yell, "COMPLAIN? Are you nuts? These people complain all the time."

I say, "I thought you said they were unmotivated. Complainers are motivated. They may not be motivated to do what WE want but they are energized, upset, trying to make changes and have ideas about what to change. However, we must take care when they complain or we will make them resist what we want them to do."

There are three stages of motivation.
1. I have no problem
2. I have a problem but not the solution
3. I have a problem and the solution.

At #1. The person is not focused on bringing change.
At #2. The person wants someone else to bring the changes
At #3. The person agrees he must change

Interacting with the skills of listening, clarifying, summarizing and encouraging to get a person from #1 to #3 is a challenge. It takes the Fruit of the Spirit and the skills of listening.

The greatest way to motivate change is to listen and love.

Steve Griebling and I wrote all about this in Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty. It will set you free to love and see people change for the better.

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