In Business and in Life
It’s been said that only two things motivate us — fear and love.
Every cause, every effect, every random act of kindness, every apparent generosity can be traced back to a fear that something will be lost or love that wants to be shared. It seems reasonable and in keeping with humans as I know us.
Through my life, I’ve found other pairs of words to describe this same concept.
In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talked about deprivation and abundance. Allan Cox, in his new book, Your Inner CEO, describes the looming threat and the guardian presence. I’ve often spoken of dealing from a point of weakness or a point of strength.
Each pair of words really points to the same thing. We can be motivated by a need to protect ourselves or by a feeling of open participation.
We Get to Pick
Even with our best effort and imaginings, we have no control over many things that happen around us. (Maybe we could, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s quite that evolved.) We have total control over how we respond to all of that input. It’s in that response that our motivation most counts. Here’s what I mean.
Living in Fear, Deprivation, and Weakness
- When I respond with fear, people sense that I’m holding back. I know it too. I can’t bring all of my potential to a situation. Part of my brain is taken up with strategizing how I’ll respond when something goes wrong. If a friend has offered help, fear makes it easy to believe that friend thinks of me as someone in need. Life is about self-preservation.
- When I respond from deprivation, I can’t enjoy a success of my own or of that of someone I admire. I’m always looking for what I’m lacking. If a friend gets a promotion, I think that could have been, should have been, never will be me. Life is about whether I get my piece.
- When I respond from a place of weakness, I look for the slight in the words or the actions of the people around me. I’m protective and defensive, and I often find what I seek. Life is about whether people care about me.
Living in Love, Abundance, and Strength
- When I respond with love, people sense I’m fully present. By definition, all of my potential is focused on the moment and the people I see. If a friend has offered help, I can answer with gratitude and partnership, believing in the good intentions that fuel the gift. Life is about enjoying the people I’m with and what we’re doing.
- When I respond from abundance, I can enjoy every success I see, because I know that the universe has plenty for everyone. I can give what I know, because I know more will come back to me. If a friend gets a windfall, I can celebrate, knowing that my turn is still available, and my time will come. Life is about sharing good things with everyone.
- When I respond from a place of strength, I overlook a slight misstep, and I forgive the signs that we’re all human. I know that most unkind events are merely how I interpret them and not really about me. Life is about understanding people, not them understanding me.
That last sentence of that last point is the key.
When we live in a world of fear, deprivation, and weakness, our world shrinks. We become the center. When we live in a world of love, abundance, and strength, the world expands and our lives revolve around other people.
It’s such a lonely existence to be the center of the universe. It’s an unhappy state to always be protecting things from what we imagine could be. Holding tight to one place means we never move forward.
Peak performance in business and life requires from love, abundance, and strength.
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer . . . — Emmett Fox
Love is the most powerful force in the universe.
How will you use it to change your business and your life?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz to reach your potential.