Thought for the Week: Motivation is best with a plan

"Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm and enthusiasm can only be aroused in two ways: First, an ideal which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice." Arnold Toynbee

Enthusiasm is a great thing. We are drawn to leaders who create enthusiasm within us for a vision, or goal or achievement. Unfortunately, enthusiasm and excitement alone are of no real value when they exist in a vacuum. Authentic enthusiasm exists when we see the future we want and we believe there is a viable plan, or at least a concrete way, to get there.

Leaders who create enthusiastic employees will need to provide some direction as well. This is why I struggle with "motivational speaking" as a product in and of itself. I know a lot of people (a LOT) who are wonderful and well intentioned, but the content of their message is either "You can do it," or "I did it, now you can do it." What's missing is the acknowledgment that to "do it" takes effort and commitment and a plan. A plan is not motivational without an ideal behind it and a belief that actions can be taken to get it done. Without the commitment to action, having an unpersued plan can create a negative response worse than having no plan at all.


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