Guest Blogger: Amy Wood, Psy.D.
Because we’re passionate about learning and evolving as people and practitioners, we coaches are simultaneously pumped up and overwhelmed by the steady stream of compelling personal and professional growth suggestions perpetually attracting our attention. One of the biggest sources of stress in our field is getting swept away by generic motivational messages – You can accomplish anything! Nothing can stop you! — with little regard for our own individuality.
Whether you’re listening to a convincing charismatic speaker or reading the words of an inspiring author, it’s important to keep this essential caveat in mind: even if the advice is perfectly sensible and logical – believe in yourself! bust through the fear and you’ll be successful! – it won’t work if the strategy doesn’t align with who you are.
The secret to getting real value from purveyors of encouragement is to consider your own unique circumstances before applying their wisdom.
Here are three steps to taking motivational messages in stride:
1. Consider your personality and temperament. Many motivational speakers and authors suggest that your dreams will come true if you just get out there and conquer your fears and refuse to take no for an answer. But what if you’re not a big risk-taker? What if you’re a serious introvert? What if you struggle with anxiety? Success will happen for you only if it’s on your terms, in a style that suits you.
2. Consider your developmental level and values. Motivational speakers and authors often imply that you can accomplish anything with the right amount of determination and focus. But at what cost? Maybe you’re fine with pulling out all the stops to get rich quick if you’re single and unencumbered, but you may not have that desire if you’re married with kids – or just plain tired of working so hard and ready for a simpler existence.
3. Consider the impact of self-help euphoria. It’s easy to get swept away by a dynamic speaker or thrilling author swearing that you can do, have and be it all – if only you adopt the right mindset. Motivational messages are most effective when you wait until you’re back in the real world with your feet on the ground before deciding whether or not you will take action on what you’ve heard or read. Once you’re clear on the takeaways that most resonate for you, the key (as we tell our clients) is to move forward in small, sensible steps that fit your distinct situation.
Amy Wood, Psy.D. is a psychologist, coach, co-founder of the speakers bureau Speak Performance, and author of the award-winning book Life Your Way: Refresh Your Approach to Success and Breathe Easier in a Fast-paced World . She specializes in helping coaches, therapists and other personal and professional development leaders to more effectively guide others. She is a National Speakers Association member, and is often called on for her expert opinion by media ranging from local newspapers to Parade Magazine. Dr. Wood earned her doctorate from the Adler School of Professional Psychology, is certified by the College of Executive Coaching, and is based in Portland, Maine. To learn more, visit www.amywoodpsyd.com or www.speakperformance.net.